• Maria Strydom died from altitude sickness on Mount Everest on Saturday
  • She became fatigued when she was nearing the summit and turned around
  • Her husband continued on and conquered the mountain 
  • Dr Strydom’s condition had rapidly deteriorated and she died shortly after  
  • Her body has been airlifted from the mountain to Kathmandu  
  • Robert Gropel described his wife as an inspiration and ‘the perfect person’
  • He said his focus is ‘trying to get the job done of bringing my wife home’ 

The husband of an Australian woman who died on Mount Everest kept climbing after she decided to turn around due to fatigue – but her condition rapidly deteriorated as she climbed down.

Maria Strydom, 34, and her husband Robert Gropel began their summit bid on Friday night in clear weather, but at the South Summit at nearly 8,000 metres, Dr Strydom slowed and decided not to continue.

Her husband continued the journey and reached the peak of the mountain with the rest of the group.

‘When I made it to the summit of Everest, it wasn’t special because I didn’t have her there,’ Dr Gropel said, Yahoo News reported.

The body of Australian climber Maria Strydom, left, has been recovered from Mount Everest a week after she died on the mountain as her husband, Robert Gropel, right, reveals his heartache

Dr Strydom's husband, Robert Gropel, who was in her team and also suffered altitude sickness, was airlifted to Kathmandu early this week

The next time he saw his wife, her health had deteriorated and she had become severely ill with altitude sickness.

With medication and more oxygen brought up by sherpas, Strydom improved and was making her way down. She then suddenly collapsed and could not be revived.

Arnold Coster, owner of Arnold Coster Expeditions, which was heavily involved in the tragic climb, said the entire team reached the summit except Dr Strydom.

‘On 19 May the whole team left the South Col and everybody summited the next day, except Marisa who decided to turn around just above the the South Summit at 8am in the morning, due to fatigue,’ Mr Coster said.

‘Marisa was doing well until the ‘Balcony’, but became very slow after this and decided to turn around.

‘Normally this would give her enough time to descent safely, but her condition deteriorated rapidly.’

Dr Strydom’s body was recovered from Mount Everest and taken to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu on Friday.

Maria Strydom’s heartbroken husband opens up on Sunday Night

Dr Gropel said he was struggling to come to terms with his wife’s sudden death.

‘I still can’t look at any pictures of her because it just breaks my heart,’ he told Sunday Night in an episode due to be aired on Sunday.

Dr Gropel said he hadn’t thought about anything but retrieving his wife’s body from the mountain.

‘I’m just trying to be strong, I’m learning to cope and block out what causes sort of, breakdowns, and trying to get the job done of bringing my wife home,’ he told the ABC.

‘All I am thinking is I want to get her home.’

Dr Maria Strydom died on Saturday while trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest after succumbing to altitude sickness 

'It was a superhuman effort, she was without oxygen for 20 hours ... because of the length of time it took her, and took us to get her down, and it ran out,' Dr Gropel (pictured) said 

The veterinarian (pictured) is 'very determined' to bring his wife's remains back to her family in Australia

via Daily Mail