Like many Canadians, I was shocked by the news that a Canadian haddied during an attempt to scale Mount Everest earlier this month. The shock was compounded when I learned that it was 33-year-oldShriya Shah-Klorfine from Mississauga, Ont., who had succumbed onthe mountain. She was someone I’d had the pleasure of meeting on afew occasions. She had actually invited me to one of her fundraisers for theEverest climb and I remember thinking, “Why would anyone want to dothis?” But Shriya’s reasoning to attempt Everest like so many of thethings that appeared to motivate her was a mix of the personaland the public, something that has often been lost in many of thestories I’ve read about her in recent days. In an interview she did with OMNI TV, just a few days before sheleft for her expedition, Shriya set out some of her personal goals,revealing that when she was nine, she saw Everest’s summit during ahelicopter ride with her parents.
She asked her parents then why they weren’t climbing the mountain,and they explained that it was very difficult to do. That was whenthe little girl told her father that she was one day going to climbMount Everest. It was the start of a lifelong dream. But with this dream also came another goal. She had hoped to be thefourth woman, and the first South Asian woman from Canada, to reachthe peak, and not just for her own gratification.
She spoke about visualizing herself at the top of the mountain andthe pride of hoisting the Canadian flag at the mountain top, forher new home that she loved so much. Shriya Shah-Klorfine, shown here a Facebook picture taken atEverest’s base camp on May 12, a week before died while descendingthe mountain. (Canadian Press) Shriya was born in Nepal, in Kathmandu. She grew up in Mumbai,India, and saw the world by working on cruise ships before movingto Canada to be with her husband. Beats By dr Dre Solo HD Headphones
This country gave her tremendous opportunities and that wassomething she never forgot. She started a successful import business. She was active in women’sorganizations, children’s groups and, more recently, became apolitical advocate as a business woman. Last year, she was a candidate in the Ontario election inMississauga East-Cooksville for the Paramount Canadians Party, anew fringe party with a pro-family, pro-immigration bent. Climbed for Canada Very little of this has been reported over the last 10 days in thecoverage of Shriya’s death. Sennheiser CX Earphones Manufacturer
Most reports simply said she was aCanadian woman, and that’s it. In some she wasn’t even that. When NBC’s Today Show covered this story, the hosts referred to her repeatedly as aNepalese woman. A careless omission of the fact that she was aCanadian citizen and was taking on this challenge, as she saw it,for her new country. Shriya had hoped to use her expedition to raise funds for Toronto’sHospital for Sick Children. Branded Headphones Manufacturer
Unfortunately she didn’t raise enough money. In fact she incurred ahuge debt to make the trek and had to mortgage her home to pay forit. “It was her lifelong dream” to reach the summit of the world’stallest peak, says Shelly Siddoo, Shriya’s best friend, and thelast of her friends and family to speak to her. Siddoo says they spoke regularly during Shriya’s 18-day trek.Shriya told her that she was going to take the lessons from Everestand use them to become a motivational speaker at schools. “She had big plans,” Siddoo says.
She wanted to use her experienceto tell children to go after their dreams, to work hard, to bedisciplined, to live life to the fullest. Full of promise In one of their conversations, after a particularly hard day ofclimbing for Shriya, when her knee was hurting her, Siddooexpressed her concerns to her friend. But Shriya told her that “inlife we face many mountains, and just remember that you have totake one step at a time.” In this case, Shriya did make it to the top one step at a time. Shedid fulfil her dream. She died on her descent, because she ran out of oxygen andcollapsed from exhaustion.
Ten people have died on Everest just this season alone, and somemountaineering experts have described Shriya as a victim of”climber congestion” too many climbers on the trek at the sametime. Take a look at the pictures of the climber congestion that havebeen circulating this week the hundreds of climbers all in a row as though waiting in line for a ride at Canada’s Wonderland. Many of these people walked past Shriya’s body, and you have towonder what went through their minds. Shriya lived her life fearlessly and with passion, something I sawat our first meeting.
She contacted me last year when my father was in hospital battlingcancer. She sent me a kind note saying that while we didn’t knoweach other, she wanted to extend a few words of comfort and, if wedidn’t mind, she’d like to come meet my father and me. She came, and we were trying to size her up. What did this womanwant? But she didn’t want anything. She just wanted to reach out topeople, whom she only knew from an online presence, in our momentof weakness and confusion.
She spent a Sunday afternoon in the hospital room talking to usabout Nepal, local and international politics, her passion forCanada and her desire to help make this a better country. This is who she was, a young woman of the world, full of life, fullof promise.