Thursday 20 June 2019

Nepal mountaineering record keeper Elizabeth Hawley dies at 94

The American journalist had been living in Nepal since 1960.

Everest Base Camp
Everest Base Camp

By Associated Press Reporters

Elizabeth Hawley, an American journalist who kept records of mountaineers on Nepal’s highest peaks, has died at the age of 94.

She had been living in the country since 1960 and was the unofficial record keeper of mountaineering activities on eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

Prathiva Pandey, a doctor at the CIWEC Hospital and Travel Medicine Centre in Kathmandu, said Ms Hawley had been in hospital for a week and died on Friday because of complications from pneumonia.

Ms Hawley maintained the Himalayan Database, considered the unofficial record book for mountaineering. Nepal and China do not maintain complete records of mountaineering activities.

She was respected in the mountaineering community in Nepal and abroad.

Although she never climbed any mountain, she often had the final say in any disputes or claims by climbers.

It was often said that if her record did not say that a mountaineer climbed a particular peak in Nepal, then it never happened.

Mountaineers would often meet her before and after their climbs, when she would make them answer difficult questions.

“She was a legend in the mountaineering community and it is a big loss to all of us,” said Ang Tshering, former head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

“Now our focus should be to continue her work to honour her.”

Born in Chicago, she travelled to Nepal in 1960 and later became a correspondent for the Reuters news agency.

Nepal honoured her for her contribution by naming a mountain in the north west after her in 2014.

Peak Hawley, which is 20,330ft high, is open for climbers.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Press Association

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