An Australian woman lost her life while descending from Mount Everest on May 20. Her husband, who also became sick during that descent, is determined not to leave Nepal without retrieving the body of his wife.
Robert Gropel and his wife Marisa Strydom, a lecturer in Melbourne University, decided to discard their summit after being suffered by high altitude sickness. Organised by Seven Summit Treks, everyone of that expedition summated except the Australian couple. Expedition leader Arnold Coster said that it was a perfect-looking summit until that day when the couple felt sick just above the South Summit and decided to return to the base.
Dr Strydom, 34, died when she and her personal Sherpa tried to return to safety. Another climber in that group, 35-year-old Dutchman Eric Arnold also died up the mountain after suffering from similar sickness. Mr Gropel was taken to a hospital in the Nepalese capital by helicopter from the mountain.
Dr Gropel (right)
Image Courtesy: Daily Mail
Dr Gropel has already been discharged from the Kathmandu hospital. He is now focused on bringing his wife’s body back to Australia. His parents also flew to Nepal to help him in retrieving his wife’s body.
Mr Coster said that their prayers are with the friends and family of the victims, whose tragic death dampened the spirit of the whole expedition team. In a Facebook post, he posted detailed descriptions of the incidents and confirmed that they were currently assembling a rescue team in an attempt to retrieve the bodies.
On Tuesday, Maritha Strydom, Ms Strydom’s mother, wrote in a Facebook post that they are hopeful about recovering her daughter’s body. She mentioned that Mr Coster offered his help but the company did not contact them even after 48 hours after those tragic incidents.
Image Courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald
The company, on the other hand, said that people started posting news about the deaths before that had had a chance to contact their family.
Dr Strydom previously climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in Argentina, and Denali in Alaska. Both she and her husband were vegans and trying to prove that a vegan lifestyle is not a barrier in climbing Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world.