January 26, 2018 / 8:35 AM / 10 months ago

Everest climb chronicler Elizabeth Hawley dies in Nepal

U.S.-born Elizabeth Hawley, former journalist and chronicler of mountain climbing in the Himalayan nation, speaks during an interview in Kathmandu May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Elizabeth Hawley, a leading chronicler of expeditions on Himalayan peaks in Nepal, died on Friday at a private hospital in Kathmandu, her doctor said. She was 94.

Born in the United States, former journalist Hawley had lived alone in Nepal since 1960 and had become an unofficial arbiter of climbing-related disputes.

Over the years, she became a highly-respected chronicler of mountain climbing in the Himalayan nation, which is home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

Hawley, who was admitted last week to the CIWEC Hospital and Travel Medicine Centre in the Nepali capital, died early on Friday of complications arising from pneumonia, said Prathiva Pandey, a doctor at the hospital.

The global climbing community has lost a "great friend", said Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

"But her memory will live on in the form of her life’s work," Sherpa told Reuters.

Born in Chicago in 1923, Hawley began reporting for Reuters in 1962, nine years after the pioneering climb of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay opened the gates to global tourism in the mountainous nation.

Hawley managed the "Himalayan Database", a record of major climbs of the Nepali mountains, and a necessary endorsement for climbers to gain global fame by validating their achievements. The database is unofficial, but widely respected by climbers.

Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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