Friends and family fly in and Buddhist monks light pyre at funeral in Nepal of extreme skier
A famed extreme skier from the United States who was killed after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains was on Sunday given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground.
Buddhist monks officiated at a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials.
Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell from the 8,163-metre (26,775ft) summit of the world’s eighth-highest mountain, Mount Manaslu, last week while skiing down with her partner, Jim Morrison.
Nelson’s body was taken to the Sherpa cremation grounds in Kathmandu from a hospital morgue on the back of an open truck, which was decorated with a poster of her and decked with garlands of flowers.
Family, friends, mountaineers and government officials gathered at the funeral ground, offering flowers and scarves that were placed on her remains, which were then rested on a stack of wood. Buddhists monks lit the pyre as they played musical instruments and chanted prayers while mourners lit incense.
Nelson’s family members had flown to Kathmandu for the funeral.
She disappeared on 26 September and rescuers searching by helicopter located her body two days later, which was flown to Kathmandu. Bad weather had hampered the initial search.
Climbers on Mount Manaslu have been struggling with bad weather and repeated avalanches. On the day Nelson fell, an avalanche at a lower elevation on the same mountain killed a Nepalese man and injured several other climbers.
Hundreds of climbers and their local guides have attempted to reach the mountain’s summit during Nepal’s autumn climbing season.
Nelson was a native of Telluride, Colorado. She and Morrison, from Tahoe, California, reached the summit of Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain, in 2018.
Nepal’s government has issued permits to 504 climbers during this year’s autumn climbing season. Most are climbing Mount Manaslu.