US journalist Elizabeth Hawley, chronicler of Himalayan ascents living in Kathmandu since 1960, has passed away at the age of 94 following a short battle with pneumonia.
Chicago-born Elizabeth or 'Liz' made Nepal her second home after giving up a job in New York to work with the Reuters news agency covering mountaineering news, including the 1963 American expedition and later chronicling many more key moments in Himalayan mountaineering history, from the first female Everest summit by Junko Tabei in 1975, to the first solo ascent five years later by Reinhold Messner.
Founder of the Himalayan Database - an unofficial yet highly regarded record of successful ascents in the Himalaya - Hawley meticulously investigated and documented ascents with a trademark no-nonsense approach to sifting out falsities from the facts when interrogating mountaineers.
Her stubborn pursuit of the truth made her an authoritative and respected voice in Nepal and caused Sir Edmund Hillary to name her "the Sherlock Holmes of the mountaineering world". A mountain was named Peak Hawley in her honour in 2008 in north-west Nepal, bordering Tibet. The government has also conferred honorary Nepali citizenship on Hawley.
Despite her profound interest in and influence on the mountaineering world, Hawley never climbed a mountain herself. It is not yet known if or by whom the database will be continued.
Watch the trailer of a film about Elizabeth's work, titled Keeper of the Mountains.