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U.S. extreme skier Hilaree Nelson given traditional Nepalese funeral after falling from one of the world's tallest mountains

Couple skis down world's 4th highest mountain
Adventurers make history by skiing down 4th highest mountain in world 06:54

A famed extreme skier from the United States who was killed after falling from one of the world's tallest mountains was given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa cremation ground on Sunday, as Buddhist monks officiated a ceremony attended by family, friends and government officials.

Hilaree Nelson, 49, fell from the 6,775-foot 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 garlands of flowers.

Family, friends, mountaineers and government officials gathered at the funeral ground, offering flowers and scarves 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.

Nepal US Missing Mountaineer
Buddhist monks perform rituals during the funeral of famed American extreme skier Hilaree Nelson in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. Niranjan Shrestha / AP

The skier disappeared on Sept. 26. Searching by helicopter, rescuers located Nelson's body two days later and it was flown to Kathmandu. Bad weather had hampered the initial search.

A professional athlete with a career spanning two decades, Nelson in 2012 became the first woman to summit Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, and its adjacent Lhotse within 24 hours. Six years later, she completed the first descent down Lhotse on skis, a feat that earned her the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award. Nelson was sponsored by the North Face at the time of her death and was described on the company's website as "the most prolific ski mountaineer of her generation."

In an Instagram post shared about a week before her death, Nelson said that Mount Manaslu had "tested [her] relisience" because an ongoing monsoon with "incessant rain and humidity" created "constant mist" and generally dangerous conditions. 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.

Nelson, from Telluride, Colorado, and Morrison, from Tahoe, California, 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.

In 2019,  CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford met Nelson and Morrison on the peaks of the San Juan Mountains, some of America's highest at 12,000 feet, where Nelson and Morrison showed their training grounds. See that story in the video player above.

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