First woman to scale Mount Everest died at age 77


Junko Tabei – returns from Everest

Junko Tabei, the first woman mountaineer to submit Mount Everest and also the first woman to ascent all seven summits by submitting the highest peaks of every continent died on 20th October 2016 in a hospital in Kawagoe, a near Tokyo at age 77.

She is survived by her husband Masanobu Tabei, a fellow climber whom she had met on Mount Tanigawa in 1965 and two children.

 She learned that she had stomach cancer on 2012 but remained as a fervent mountaineer.

 Tabei (pronounced tah-bay-EE), who stood 5 feet and weighed just 92 pounds, endured rigorous training and conquered treacherous ice and snow in reaching the highest peaks in more than 70 nations.



The feat was hailed not only as a triumph of physical fortitude but also as a milestone for women — both in a field dominated by men and in a society in which, Tabei said, “even women who had jobs, they were asked just to serve tea.”

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.[6]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.[6][7]

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:-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  –obituary/ 

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