Anjali Kulkarni, a 55-year-old Indian mountain climber, trained for six years to make it to the top of Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world.

She finally reached Everest’s summit this week, fulfilling a longtime goal. It was coming back down that killed her.

Her son, Shantanu Kulkarni, told CNN that she died after getting stuck in a “traffic jam” on the mountain.

“She had to wait for a long time to reach the summit and descend,” Thupden Sherpa, who organized tours on the mountain, told Agence France-Presse. “She couldn’t move down on her own and died as Sherpa guides brought her down.”

Two other Indian hikers, Kalpana Das, 52, and Nihal Bagwan, 27, also died on Thursday. Keshav Paudel, who organized tours on the mountain, told AFP that Bagwan was “stuck in the traffic for more than 12 hours and was exhausted.”

She is one of at least seven people believed to died on the mountain this week, as a few days of clear weather attracted hundreds of climbers hoping to scale the 29,029 feet to Everest’s peak. This season, Nepal has issued 381 permits for hikers hoping to climb the mountain, AFP reported. They cost about $11,000 each and hikers are accompanied by local guides.

A chilling photograph from the mountain shows a long line of mountaineers queuing to ascend a steep stretch of the route to the summit. The photo was shot by Nirmal Purja, an avid mountaineer, who wrote in an Instagram caption that he estimated there were around 320 people in line.

Traffic jams create dangerous situations for hikers, who are often already exhausted and carrying heavy loads while battling altitude sickness, which can make people dizzy and nauseated. The waits can be deadly.

Earlier this week, American Donald Lynn Cash, from Utah, died after developing severe respiratory symptoms due to the high altitude. It was unclear what role, if any, the foot traffic jams had in his death.

Séamus Lawless, assistant professor of computer science at Trinity College, went missing on Everest on Thursday when he slipped and fell shortly reaching the summit.

A 65-year-old Austrian man is also among the dead. Last year, 807 people reached the mountain’s summit, more than had ever reached the top in a single year before.


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