Third climber dies of altitude sickness in 4 days on Everest

Mount Everest glows gold in the sun's light as three die on its slopes at the end of the climbing season. Picture: AP
Mount Everest glows gold in the sun's light as three die on its slopes at the end of the climbing season. Picture: AP
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An Indian climber has died while being helped down Mount Everest, just days after two others died near the peak.

Two other Indian climbers are missing, with experts suggesting some of the tragedy could have been avoidable.

And 30 climbers have suffered frostbite or become seriously ill on Everest in recent days, as the spring climbing season comes to a close.

Poor planning and overcrowding on the world’s tallest peak may have led to bottlenecks that kept people delayed at the highest reaches while waiting for the path to clear lower down, Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said.

He said: “This was a man-made disaster that may have been minimised with better management of the teams. The last two disasters on Everest were caused by nature, but not this one.”

Many had hoped this year’s climbing season would bring success and restore confidence in the route, after deadly disasters cancelled climbing the previous two years.

But as hundreds of eager climbers, joined by local Sherpa guides and expedition experts, scrambled to take advantage of good weather to make it to the peak, reports of tragedy began trickling down the mountain. First, Dutchman, Eric Arnold, 35, died in his sleep near the mountain’s summit after telling team-mates “my body has no energy left”.

Hours later Australian Maria Strydom, 34, died near the top, also after apparently suffering from altitude sickness. It emerged last night she had wanted to prove vegans were capable of extreme physical challenges.

With her husband Robert Gropel, also an experienced mountaineer, she was undertaking a bid mount the seven summits – the seven highest mountains in the world’s seven continent. He is currently receiving treatment.

Subhash Paul of India was reported as the third death yesterday after succumbing to altitude sickness overnight as he was being helped down by Sherpa guides, said Wangchu Sherpa of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency in Kathmandu.

An Indian woman from, Sunita Hazra, was resting at a lower-altitude camp after becoming ill higher up.