The first lady to climb Mount Everest didn’t stop there. Japanese mountain climber Junko Tabei passed away Thursday at age 77 due to stomach cancer. Four years ago she found out about the cancer, but continued as a passionate mountaineer.
Weighing only 92 pounds, Tabei stood 5 feet tall. She went through rigorous training through snow and ice to reach the highest peaks of over 70 nations.
In 1975 at 35-yeard-old, while being co-leader of a 15 woman expedition, she made the 29,029-foot climb of Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.
She funded her Himalayan expedition by giving piano and English lessons. She had training as a teacher and a science magazine editor. When money fell short, she recieved funds from Nippon Television and the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
During climb training and the actual climb her daughter of 3 years old was staying with her husband, a mountaineer as well.
Along the way, an avalanche covered the team’s camp and knocked her briefly unconscious, about 9,000 feet from the summit.
After Twelve days, she left her team’s camp, and reached the southern summit of Everest right below the peak. She found a ridge of ice there, in between Tibet and Nepal, bordered by drops of 15,000 feet.
Fearlessly, she literally crawled to the top, arriving at a small flat square area. In 1996 she felt relief.
Since then, thousands have reached the same summit as the Nepalese authorities allowed more permits and technology improved.