From 1958 to 1962, Tabei studied English literature and education at Showa Women’s University, where she was a member of the mountain climbing club.After graduating, Tabei formed the Ladies Climbing Club: Japan (LCC) in 1969. The club’s slogan was “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves”, and was the first of its kind in Japan. Tabei later stated that she founded the club as a result of how she was treated by male mountaineers of the time; some men, for example, refused to climb with her, while others thought she was only interested in climbing as a way to find a husband.
During this time, she climbed mountains such as Mount Fuji in Japan and the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. By 1972, Tabei was a recognized mountain climber in Japan.
Trained as a teacher and working as an editor at a science magazine, she subsidized her expedition to the Himalayas by giving piano and English lessons. When her finances fell short, she got a late infusion of funds from the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and Nippon Television.
Escaped death on Everest
She made the 29,029-foot ascent of Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, in May 1975 as a 35-year-old co-leader of a group comprising entirely of 15-woman – elite members of Junko Tabei’s Ladies Climbing Club of Japan guided by six Sherpas.
They had set up camp on the mountainside 21,326 ft above sea level when, at 12.30 am on May 5 1975, they were woken by the rumble of an approaching avalanche. Junko Tabei and the four team members who shared her tent were pinned under the snow as it cascaded from the Lhotse face of Mount Everest. Miraculously, nobody was killed. The sherpas dragged them to safety by their ankles and Junko Tabei resumed her place at the head of the team, bruised and shaken but otherwise unharmed.
By the morning of May 16 1975, they were at Everest’s south summit, surveying the narrow ridge – part of the border between China and Nepal – that led to the summit itself. An unstable footing could send a climber plummeting thousands of feet in either direction. To cross, Junko Tabei had to crawl sideways with her upper body on the Chinese side and her lower body on the Nepalese side. When she faltered her sherpa guide, Ang Tshering, helped to keep up the momentum. At 12:30pm she collapsed on hands and knees at the summit. “All I felt was relief,” she recalled.
References:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junko_Tabei http://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/10/28/junko-tabei-first-woman-to-conquer-everest–obituary/