Mount Everest victims’ grueling final hours

Updated 12:56 PM EDT, Wed May 25, 2016
mount everest deaths udas pkg _00004822.jpg
CNN
mount everest deaths udas pkg _00004822.jpg
Now playing
02:19
Four climbers die on Mount Everest
This photograph taken on April 20, 2015 shows a view of Mount Everest (C-top) towering over the Nupse, from the village of Tembuche in the Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal.  Sherpas, thought to be of Tibetan origin, have a long and proud history of mountaineering, and the term today is used for all Nepalese high-altitude porters and guides assisting climbing expeditions around Everest. The April 25 quake, which left more than 7,800 people dead across Nepal, was the Himalayan nation's deadliest disaster in over 80 years, and triggered an avalanche which killed 18 people on Everest, leading mountaineering companies to call off their spring expeditions, marking the second year with virtually no summits to the roof of the world.      AFP PHOTO / ROBERTO SCHMIDT        (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
This photograph taken on April 20, 2015 shows a view of Mount Everest (C-top) towering over the Nupse, from the village of Tembuche in the Khumbu region of northeastern Nepal. Sherpas, thought to be of Tibetan origin, have a long and proud history of mountaineering, and the term today is used for all Nepalese high-altitude porters and guides assisting climbing expeditions around Everest. The April 25 quake, which left more than 7,800 people dead across Nepal, was the Himalayan nation's deadliest disaster in over 80 years, and triggered an avalanche which killed 18 people on Everest, leading mountaineering companies to call off their spring expeditions, marking the second year with virtually no summits to the roof of the world. AFP PHOTO / ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:08
How hard is it to climb Mount Everest?
ws2500 Everest INTV _00040622.jpg
Cory Richards & Adrian Ballinger
ws2500 Everest INTV _00040622.jpg
Now playing
04:27
Conquering Everest without supplemental oxygen
Eric Poppleton Everest Base Camp_00001105.jpg
Courtesy Eric Poppleton
Eric Poppleton Everest Base Camp_00001105.jpg
Now playing
00:46
A tour of Everest Base Camp (2015)
Climbing Everest for P.T.S.D. awareness orig_00000000.jpg
Climbing Everest for P.T.S.D. awareness orig_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:08
Climbing Everest for PTSD awareness
Climber Survives Post-Quake Avalanche on Everest_00043927.jpg
Climber Survives Post-Quake Avalanche on Everest_00043927.jpg
Now playing
04:47
Climber survives post-earthquake avalanche on Everest
lklv udas nepal new earthquake strikes_00010216.jpg
lklv udas nepal new earthquake strikes_00010216.jpg
Now playing
03:16
Powerful earthquake strikes Nepal
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:22
Everest earthquake puts Nepal's economy at risk
For use in dotcom story only
Courtesy Eric Poppleton
For use in dotcom story only
Now playing
00:42
Poppleton: 'It was the right thing to do'
amputee climbing mt everest ptsd ts orig_00001426.jpg
USX.vet
amputee climbing mt everest ptsd ts orig_00001426.jpg
Now playing
01:07
Veteran climbs Mount Everest to fight PTSD
lklv damon nepal damage everest rescues_00000902.jpg
lklv damon nepal damage everest rescues_00000902.jpg
Now playing
01:11
Nepal quake survivors try to cope with losses
for use in dotcom video
Courtesy John Woodruff
for use in dotcom video
Now playing
00:26
Tom Taplin on life at Everest Base Camp
nr nepal earthquake everest jon kedrowski_00010412.jpg
6summitschallenge.com/Elia Saikaly
nr nepal earthquake everest jon kedrowski_00010412.jpg
Now playing
02:19
Man describes Everest avalanche experience
Youtube/ Jost Kobusch
Now playing
02:09
Everest avalanche caught on camera hitting climbers
nepal quake shifts mt everest_00021405.jpg
nepal quake shifts mt everest_00021405.jpg
Now playing
02:51
Nepal quake shifted Mount Everest three centimeters
vo nepal earthquake mt everest moment of avalanche_00000728.jpg
Carsten Lillelund Pedersen/Use The World
vo nepal earthquake mt everest moment of avalanche_00000728.jpg
Now playing
01:00
Video shows moment of avalanche on Mount Everest
Nepalese mountaineer Pemba Dorje Sherpa (L) pauses at the Hillary Step while pushing for the summit of Everest on May 19, 2009, after climbing from the south face of Nepal.
STR/AFP/Getty Images
Nepalese mountaineer Pemba Dorje Sherpa (L) pauses at the Hillary Step while pushing for the summit of Everest on May 19, 2009, after climbing from the south face of Nepal.
Now playing
01:50
Time for change at the top of the world?
Nepalese rescue team members rescue a survivor of an avalanche on Mount Everest on Friday, April 18.
Buddhabir RAI/AFP/Getty Images
Nepalese rescue team members rescue a survivor of an avalanche on Mount Everest on Friday, April 18.
Now playing
01:52
Climbing season dicey after avalanche
ac grayson everest_00033524.jpg
AFP/Getty Images
ac grayson everest_00033524.jpg
Now playing
04:16
Veteran climber on Everest avalanche
sesay mount everest climbers_00000001
sesay mount everest climbers_00000001
Now playing
01:55
Conquering the world's highest peak
talk asia tamae watanabe everest_00013111
talk asia tamae watanabe everest_00013111
Now playing
06:42
Scaling Mount Everest at 73
whdh.pkg.mothers.day.climbing.mt.everest_00013329
whdh.pkg.mothers.day.climbing.mt.everest_00013329
Now playing
01:35
82-year-old hiking Everest on Mom's Day

Story highlights

New details emerge about how three tourists and a Sherpa lost their lives on Everest

One victim was climbing Mount Everest to prove that vegans are not weak

(CNN) —  

Three of them died chasing a dream. The fourth fell to his death helping others chase theirs.

Rescue efforts are still ongoing for two missing climbers on Mount Everest after a grim week that saw three tourists and a Sherpa lose their lives in four days.

The death toll is a chilling reminder of the enormous hazards Everest poses, even to some of the world’s most experienced climbers.

Now details are emerging about how the world’s highest mountain took its latest victims. Here’s a closer look at each.

What happens to your body on Mount Everest

Eric Arnold, 36

Eric Arnold was a triathlete based in Rotterdam. He is believed to have died from a heart attack.
from twitter
Eric Arnold was a triathlete based in Rotterdam. He is believed to have died from a heart attack.

Eric Arnold, a Dutch citizen, died Friday during his descent, having reached the summit in what his team leader described as a “childhood dream.”

“Tragedy struck our team,” expedition leader Arnold Coster said in a post on his blog.

“Descending from the summit he became slower and slower and it became clear that something was wrong. His Sherpa who was climbing with him from the beginning requested to send an additional Sherpa up with more supplementary oxygen to help him down,” Coster explained, adding that Arnold was able to make it down to the next camp.

“We brought him to his tent, gave him more oxygen, lots off drinks and food and it looked like he was recovering,” Coster said.

But Arnold took a turn for the worse and died that night in his tent, he said. He is believed to have died from a heart attack.

Arnold was a triathlete based in Rotterdam, according to his Twitter bio. A post on his Twitter account showed a photo of Arnold at the summit, although it was unclear if it was Arnold himself who posted it.

Another post read “Off we go!!” with a picture of the team at camp.

Colorado-based mountaineer Jon Kedrowski, who said he had climbed with Arnold, tweeted that he was “very bummed” to hear the news.

Maria Strydom, 34

Maria Strydom said she was climbing Everest to prove vegans are not weak.
from Monash University
Maria Strydom said she was climbing Everest to prove vegans are not weak.

It was a tough week for Coster’s team. The following day, they lost another member – Australian citizen Maria Strydom, known by her friends and family as Marisa, who died after suffering altitude sickness.

“These tragic events numbed the whole team and our thoughts are with their family and friends. May they rest in peace,” Coster said.

South African-born Strydom worked as a finance professor with the Monash Business School in Melbourne. She had told the school in an interview that she and her husband, Robert Gropel, were climbing Everest to prove that vegans are strong.

“It seems that people have this warped idea of vegans being malnourished and weak,” said Strydom, who added that she and her husband had received countless questions about their iron and protein levels.

“By climbing the seven summits we want to prove that vegans can do anything and more,” she said.

01:08 - Source: CNN
How hard is it to climb Mount Everest?

Strydom reached Everest’s South Summit on Friday but decided to turn around and descend when she wasn’t feeling well, according to Coster’s post. Several Sherpas and her husband struggled to carry her down the mountain, but she collapsed the next morning, Coster said.

Gropel, her husband, was evacuated to Kathmandu the next day by helicopter, said Coster, who was assembling a rescue team to retrieve Arnold’s and Strydom’s bodies.

Strydom’s family was informed that the recovery team had retrieved her body and moved about 300 meters down the mountain but stopped due to bad weather and heavy snow. They hope to get down to Base Camp II tomorrow if weather clears and from there get a helicopter out.

Her mother, Maritha Strydom, told CNN that her daughter first became interested in climbing around 12-years ago. The first mountain she climbed was Mt. Warning near Brisbane.

“I was worried about her back then because I’m the most protective mother. After that, she went on to climb in New Zealand and the Andes in South America,” she said.

“We were a very close-knit family. We took Maria all over the world since she was little. She has the strongest personality since she was born … She was very talented and always wanted to be the best. She had more energy than anyone.”