Climber who sought to prove vegans can do anything dies attempting to summit Mt. Everest

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Australian Climber Among 4 Dead in 4 Days on Mount Everest

Maria Strydom, an Australian lecturer and vegan activist, is among four climbers who have died since Thursday climbing Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain.

Strydom and her husband, Robert Gropel, were on a quest to climb the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents and to prove their vegan diets didn't affect their climbing.

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In an interview posted on the Monash Business School website shortly before the couple left to climb Everest, Strydom said, "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."

More than a month into their climb up Everest, The Sydney Morning Herald reports Strydom died from altitude sickness after reaching the final campsite, which is about 1,300 feet from the mountain's summit.

See photos of Strydom, her husband, and the mountain they tried to summit

Vegan climber Mt Everest
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Climber who sought to prove vegans can do anything dies attempting to summit Mt. Everest
Light illuminates Mount Everest (C) during sunset in Solukhumbu district, also known as the Everest region, in this picture taken November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/File Photo
Maria Strydom with her husband Robert Gropel. (Facebook) 
Maria Strydom with her husband Robert Gropel. (Facebook) 
People trek in the Khumbu Valley in the Everest region of Nepal in this picture taken April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Antoni Slodkowski
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 22, 2016 file photo, international trekkers pass through a glacier at the Mount Everest base camp, Nepal. An Indian climber has died while being helped down Mount Everest, just hours after a Dutch and an Australian climber died near the peak. 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 Monday, May 23. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa, File)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR MAMMUT - In this image released on Sunday, May 22, 2016, Swiss mountain sports specialist Mammut created a new milestone in virtual mountaineering as two Nepalese mountain guides Lakpa Sherpa (left) and Pemba Rinji Sherpa became the first men in the world to document the whole South route to the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal with a 360° camera rig. They are pictured testing the camera equipment after the customary Buddhist Puja ceremony took place, where the Sherpa climbers ask the divine Mount Everest for clear passage. Capturing the breathtaking views from the worldâs highest mountain, Mammutâs #project360 has played a pioneering role in bringing the real life Mount Everest experience into peoplesâ living rooms â without special effects, animations or computer generated images. This spectacular route now can be experienced in breathtaking full 360° panoramas at (Matthias Taugwalder/Mammut/PHOTOPRESS via AP Images)
In this March 28, 2016 photo, a porter walks with a massive load towards Everest Base camp near Lobuche, Nepal. The April 2014 avalanche, which killed 13 Sherpa guides and three other Nepali workers, was an immense blow to the Sherpa community. Nearly all the surviving Sherpas refused to continue working that year, demanding, among other things, better working conditions, more insurance, and free education for the children of those killed. Over the past two years the government has enacted a series of policy changes, from stationing officials at Base Camp to creating a welfare fund for the families of the Sherpa dead, in large part to convince climbers and trekkers to keep coming back to Everest. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa)
In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 photo, the last light of the sun sets on Mount Everest, as seen from Pangboche, Nepal. Since April's earthquake, which killed nearly 9,000 people, Nepal has been desperate to bring back the tens of thousands of tourists who enjoy trekking the country's mountain trails and climbing its Himalayan peaks. (AP Photo/Tashi Sherpa)
FILE - In this May 16, 2013 file photo, Nepalese Sherpas rest as they climb Mount Everest. The abrupt ending of the climbing season on Mount Everestâs north and south sides following a deadly earthquake will be a severe blow to the Sherpas in the region, who will not receive their daily pay or highly-anticipated bonuses for helping people scale the worldâs tallest peak. (AP Photo/ Pasang Geljen Sherpa, File)

Gropel also suffered from altitude sickness but was taken down the mountain by sled to a base camp, where rescue helicopters flew him to a nearby hospital in Nepal. He is expected to recover.

BBC reports almost 400 people have reached Everest's peak so far this year. Climbing routes on the mountain were closed in both 2015 and 2014 after several natural disasters claimed the lives of both climbers and sherpas.

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Strydom and Gropel had already climbed four of the seven continents' highest summits before their Everest climb, including Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro and Denali in Alaska, according to CNN.

The other three people who recently died climbing Mount Everest included a sherpa and two other climbers.

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