Shriya Shah-Klorfine dreamed of scaling the world’s tallest peak. On Saturday, she unfurled Canada’s flag at the summit of Mt Everest.
A few hours later she died from exhaustion.
She was remembered by friends for her perseverance and relentless work ethic. Her training regimen included daily 19-kilometre runs carrying a 20- kilogram pack.
“She never let her dream be lost,” said friend Bikram Lamba. “She transferred the dream into reality.”
About 150 climbers attempted to reach the summit over the weekend.
“With the traffic jam, climbers had a longer wait for their chance to go up the trail and spent too much time at a higher altitude. Many of them are believed to be carrying a limited amount of oxygen, not anticipating the extra time spent.”
80% of Everest deaths occur in the final stretch because of its low oxygen level.
Bruce Klorfine said: “My wife was someone who lived life to its fullest, with irrepressible energy and vitality."
In 2011, she participated in a five-day hunger strike to protest skyrocketing auto insurance premiums. She collapsed after four days but returned to the strike after her release from hospital.
For the last two years, she squeezed in seven hours of training each day before running her business in the late evening.
She also mortgaged her home to cover climbing costs.
Priya Ahuja, a close friend, said nothing could hold her back.
“She would say: Life, you’ve just got one, just try to live it. ”
Of course, some might say: Life, you've just got one. Don't throw it away.
The Canadian woman who died over the weekend was urged by her sherpas to turn back because she was tiring, but she was determined to pursue her climb.
The agreement Ms. Shah-Klorfine signed with Utmost Adventure Trekking gave the expedition team the authority to call off the climb if she wasn’t well, Dr. Lamba said.
“If they decided she wasn’t fit to go, why did you permit the sherpas to accompany her?”
Delays in getting to the summit, worsening weather and limited oxygen-tank supplies are all good reasons to turn around but it is not a decision that is easy to make for climbers for whom Everest is “the trip of a lifetime,” said Dr. Semple.
“At that altitude, you can’t pull somebody off. All you can do is recommend to them.”
“There are so many people now on the top of Everest.... So there are huge delays and people stand around … It takes a lot longer, they run out of oxygen on the way down. Once you stop climbing, you get very cold very quickly,” Dr. Semple said in an interview.
The study found that foreign climbers died at more than six times the rate of sherpas during the descent from the summit.
Sherpas are accustomed to the thin air. When they do die on the mountain, it’s usually at lower levels from avalanches or falls, Dr. Semple said.