SA-born woman dies on Mount Everest

2016-05-22 18:51
Dr Maria Strydom and her husband (Facebook)

Dr Maria Strydom and her husband (Facebook)

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Cape Town – A South African-born woman, who was a lecturer in Australia, has died after summiting Mount Everest.

Dr Maria Strydom, 34, who taught finance at Monash University, lived in Melbourne with her husband Robert Gropel.

Both experienced climbers, and vegans, they jetted off to Nepal last month to conquer the world’s highest mountain.

In an interview with her university in March, she said people had a warped idea that vegans were malnourished and weak.

By climbing the seven summits they want to prove that vegans can do anything and more, she had said at the time.

Strydom was believed to have fallen ill from altitude sickness while descending at the weekend, according to Australian’s ABC website.

It quoted a board director at Seven Summit Treks, who said Strydom had said she was feeling very weak and suffering from a loss of energy.

Gropel’s father, Heinz Gropel, told the News Corp Australia Network, that his son had high altitude pulmonary oedema.

He said his son blamed himself and was devastated.

Dutch national Eric Arnold, who was in the same group, also died on the mountain from high altitude sickness, according to the same report.

There were a number of conflicting reports on the possible cause of death and whether she had indeed reached the top of the mountain before descending.

Strydom graduated with a B Com from the University of Pretoria in 2003. She joined Monash University three years later.

Monash University said on its Facebook page that it was “deeply saddened” by the tragic loss.

“We are liaising with authorities and our heartfelt thoughts and support are extended to Maria’s family, her friends, colleagues and students.”

One of her former students, Apurv Maru, reacted to the post by saying she was “a wonderful human being and highly intelligent”.

In the university interview, Strydom said she had felt well-prepared for the climb despite the risks.

“And then, depending whether we reach the summit [where success rate is only 30%], I am sure my mind will turn to the next adventure, being either a repeat of Everest or a trip to Mount Vinson in Antarctica,” she said at the time.

Read more on:    nepal

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