Elizabeth Hawley dies at 94

A mountaineering legend who never conquered a peak
Publish date:

Elizabeth Hawley may not have been a climber, but there’s no doubt that she is an icon in the mountaineering community.

The Chicago-born journalist chronicled hiking expeditions on the Himalayas for more than 50 years. Since 1963, Hawley has been documenting climbs, creating the Himalayan Database, an extensive archive of more than 9,600 expeditions.

“The climbing world is mourning the loss of a legend,” said Alan Arnette, who conquered Mount Everest in 2011 and now covers climbing news on alanarnette.com.

Arnette recalls his first time meeting Hawley in 1998 and says he was impressed with her unrelenting questions and commitment to accurate reporting.

“The last time I saw her, years later (in 2013), she was just as feisty, engaging, and smart as ever,” Arnette said.

Not only did Hawley meticulously document expeditions, but she rigorously investigated claims to ensure accuracy. Her questioning and persistence reportedly lead her to be referred to as “the Sherlock Homes of the mountaineering world.”

She even has a namesake Nepalese peak, Peak Hawley (6,182 meters), which French ice climber François Damilano named after her following his first solo ascent in 2008.

While originally on duty to report on the area’s political happenings, she quickly developed a passion covering the region’s mountaineering scene and soon after began covering mountaineering news for Reuters.

Hawley reportedly died on Friday from complications from pneumonia. She was admitted last week to a private hospital near her home in Kathmandu.

“As the Himalayan Database continues, it will honor her legacy as the final word on climbing some of the world’s highest peaks," Arnette said.


Happy Birthday Fred

Legendary Climber Fred Beckey Dies

The death of iconic climber Fred Beckey leaves the industry and all who knew him saddened, yet positively reflecting on his full life. Many of Beckey’s 94 years on this planet were spent fearlessly and relentlessly devoted to his beloved sport of climbing. Close, long-time ...read more

Lama Geshe passes away

An Everest icon dies

If you climbed Mt. Everest in the last several decades, you know about this kind, gentle soul who became the famous blesser of climbers in the Sherpa village of Pangboche, a popular stop on the walk to Everest Base Camp. Lama Geshe studied as a young boy in Tibet, eventually ...read more

Inge Perkins

RIP, Inge Perkins

The outdoor industry is devastated after the gut-wrenching news of famous climber Hayden Kennedy’s death. After his father, Michael Kennedy, confirmed his death, we also learned that his partner, Inge Perkins, had died in the avalanche.  The 23-year-old climber and backcountry ...read more

Malik twins Mountain Hardwear

A dynamic duo

“Imagine being inside a freezer at 30 below zero for a whole week," says Tashi Malik. That’s how she and her twin sister, Nungshi, felt while skiing to the North Pole in 2015. The young women pushed through winds that reached 55 miles per hour. They stayed on constant alert, ...read more


RIP, Tom Zajicek

Tom Zajicek, a beloved employee of Durango's Backcountry Experience died on Sunday in a tragic climbing accident on Starlight Peak, in California. Zajicek, an experienced climber, reportedly summited the 14,200-foot peak at 2 p.m. with Laura Scull, an associate professor of ...read more

Prayer flags on Mt. Everest

The highs and lows of Everest 2018

For more than a decade, Alan Arnette and The Himalayan Times have documented the daily comings and goings on Mt. Everest, from Kathmandu to Summit Day and down the mountain. For those of us who aren't stationed there and don't have loved ones attempting ascents, it can seem ...read more