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By Max Matza

BBC News

Hilaree Nelson wearing equipmentImage source, North Face

Famed US mountaineer Hilaree Nelson is missing on the world’s eighth tallest peak after reportedly falling into a deep crevasse during a ski descent.

The North Face-sponsored athlete and mother of two earlier on Monday reached the summit of Mount Manaslu in Nepal with her partner Jim Morrison.

On the same day one person was killed and more than a dozen injured lower down on the same peak in an avalanche.

Officials have been unable to conduct search operations due to foul weather.

Ms Nelson, 49, slipped and appeared to fall into a 2,000ft (600m) gap in the ice, known as a crevasse, only 15 minutes after reaching the summit of the 26,781ft peak, according to witness accounts.

A local guide that had been working with the couple told Outside magazine that other climbers who were with them reported that “her ski blade skidded off and [she] fell off the other side of the peak”.

According to reports, Mr Morrison was able to safety return to camp after the incident.

Ms Nelson and Mr Morrison are among the most accomplished alpinists and backcountry skiers in the world.

Based out of the US state of Colorado in the Rocky Mountains, they have skied off some of the world’s tallest and most forbidding peaks.

In 2018, they became the first to ever ski down Mount Lhotse in Nepal, the world’s fourth-highest peak.

She is also the first woman to ever climb both Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse in a single 24-hour period.

“With a career spanning two decades that includes dozens of first descents through more than 40 expeditions to 16 different countries, Hilaree Nelson is the most prolific ski mountaineer of her generation,” North Face says about her on their website.

In an email, a spokeswoman for the outdoor apparel company said they were “in touch with Hilaree’s family and are supporting global search and rescue efforts any way we can”.

Separately on Monday, an avalanche on Mount Manaslu swept away climbers, porters and Sherpas, killing one and reportedly injuring 14 others.

Authorities have not yet been able to launch helicopters to reach the stranded group.

“It had snowed unceasingly for 15 days,” Yukta Gurung, who helps maintain the ropes to the summit, told the Kathmandu Post from the mountain’s base camp.

“The area was covered in at least five to six feet of snow – the piled-up snow ultimately gave way triggering the avalanche,” he said.

Avalanches on Manaslu, sometimes fatal, occur frequently.

In 2019, an avalanche on the mountain killed nine climbers. In 1972, 16 climbers were killed there in an avalanche.

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