News / Ottawa

Ottawa woman faces perilous choice at the top of the world

An Ottawa woman is facing a difficult choice: try again to summit Mount Everest or turn back because she's no longer in top condition and she saw, first hand, that the mountain claimed the lives of four people who set out before her.

Sandra Leduc has been climbing Mount Everest for two months and chronicling her journey on Twitter and a blog. She's at base camp below the summit, said her brother Kevin Leduc on Monday.

"What she's grappling with is not having reached the summit and it's her goal and she was pushing hard for it," he said.

Her group set out on Sunday and climbed for 10 hours before harsh weather set in, he said.

"She was 200 metres from the summit and her team decided to turn back," he said.

Kevin spent Sunday and part of Monday morning waiting to hear from his sister. While he waited news broke that a Canadian woman, died in a descent along with at least three others over the weekend. He eventually learned the woman was Shriya Shah from Mississauga.

"The worst part is the waiting. I was looking at my clock," he said.

Sandra called Monday morning and said she was safe at a base camp. She also told him she walked past the bodies of the group of people who had died just above base camp four.

"She walked by their bodies—that whole experience is traumatic. She said she walked by someone and their headlamp was still on."

She will be making the decision whether or not to try the summit again on Tuesday. After the extreme exertion of the first attempt, she has lost a lot of weight and is no longer in peak condition, said Kevin.

"I won't make that decision for her," said Kevin. "I'll support her for what she chooses."


On Tuesday Kevin tweeted that his sister had decided to try for the summit again:

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