After climbing the world's highest summit, Australian Dr Maria Strydom tragically died after succumbing to altitude sickness as she made her descent down Mount Everest in Nepal.
The 34-year-old finance lecturer from Monash University in Melbourne, who was climbing with her husband Rob Gropel as part of tour company Seven Summit Treks, died at 7,800 metres after falling ill as the group made their way from Camp 4 to Camp 3.
Dr Strydom wasn't the only victim in her group, with Dutch climber Eric Arnold also falling prey to altitude sickness after finally reaching the summit on his fifth attempt.
Despite the treacherous conditions, Dr Strydom's husband and family are remaining hopeful that they will be able to retrieve her body, and lay her to rest back in Australia.
Extreme weather conditions and lack of oxygen make it near-impossible to reclaim many of the bodies of those who've died on the infamous mountain, some 200 bodies are believed to remain, preserved forever in time by the extreme conditions.
Dr Strydom's mother Maritha Strydom took to Facebook to thank those who were helping with the effort following her daughters death, and expressed her hope that her daughter's body would be returned home soon.
"There's a glimmer of hope that Marisa Elizabeth can be retrieved from Mount Everest," she wrote on Facebook.
Gropel, who was also admitted to hospital and has since been released, is said to be distraught and refusing to leave the country without his wife's body.
"(Her husband Robert) doesn't want to leave without (his wife’s body), " added Aletta Newman, Dr Strydom’s sister.
"Given that she is 8000 metres up a mountain we feel that there is nothing that we can really do. We can't really go and see her and get her down ourselves."
Expedition leader Arnold Coster says the company are "assembling a rescue team" in order to retrieve the bodies and took to Facebook to provide a detailed account of the tragic events as they unfolded.
"These tragic events numbed the whole team and our thoughts are with their family and friends. May they rest in peace," he wrote.
These most recent deaths come after two other climbers died on the summit just last week, and take the total death toll on Everest to over 300 since 1953.