Eric Arnold, a Dutch mountain climber, died from altitude sickness Friday night while descending from the Mount Everest. This was Arnold’s fourth attempt to climb the world’s highest mountain, and while some climbers are successful, others realize that Everest is no joke.
Arnold was known for his close calls during his previous Everest attempts. Last year, his expedition team lost 18 members when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal and caused a massive avalanche at the Everest’s base camp. In 2012, Arnold was “just yards from peak” when conditions were too treacherous to continue.
The 40-person expedition lost two members within days of each other. Maria Strydom was an Australian mountain climber and university lecturer. She perished on Saturday from altitude sickness as well. Arnold and Strydom mark the first deaths of the new climbing season which began on May 11. According to PBS, close to 400 brave individuals have already successfully climbed Everest this season.
Everest was Arnold’s life. He told the Dutch television network, RTV Rijnmond in an interview before his last attempt,”I used to have a poster of Mount Everest above my bed.” Arnold was also well aware of the dangers of not just reaching the top, but getting down from the mountain.”Two-thirds of the accidents happen on the way down. If you get euphoric and think ‘I have reached my goal,’ the most dangerous part is still ahead of you.”