By Binaj Gurubacharya, The Associated Press
KATHMANDU, Nepal — 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 as Buddhist monks officiated over a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials.
Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell off the 8,163-meter 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 a poster of her and bedecked with garlands of flowers.
Family, friends, mountaineers and government officials gathered at the funeral ground, offering flowers and scarfs that were place 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. Nelson lived in Telluride with her two sons.
She disappeared on Sept. 26 and rescuers searching by helicopter located her body two days later and it was flown to Kathmandu. Bad weather had hampered the initial search.
Climbers on Mount Manaslu have been struggling with bad weather conditions and repeated avalanches.
On the same 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.
Morrison, from Tahoe, California, and Nelson are extreme skiers who 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.