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Maria Strydom and Robert Gropel. Credit:


Mountain climber dies trying to prove vegans can climb Mount Everest, too

By WITW Staff on May 23, 2016

An Australian mountain climber who wanted to prove that vegans could climb Mount Everest died on Saturday from altitude sickness while climbing the famed peak. Maria Strydom, a 34-year-old lecturer at Monash University in Australia and experienced climber, was scaling Everest with her husband, Robert Gropel.

“It seems that people have this warped idea of vegans being malnourished and weak. By climbing the seven summits we want to prove that vegans can do anything and more,” Strydom had written on her university’s blog before she set out for the trip.

The couple had reached the final camp before the summit when they both began suffering high-altitude pulmonary edema, causing fluid to build up in Strydom’s brain, according to The Washington Post. Propel was taken to a hospital for treatment but Strydom died from the condition.

“Physically he’s OK, we think,” Heinz Gropel, Robert’s father, told the Australian. “Mentally he is a mess. He’s just lost his wife. These guys were not amateurs, they were experienced climbers.”

Strydom is the fourth person to die over the past four days on Everest, and 30 others have become sick or frostbitten near the summit.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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