It is 22nd September- 80th birthday of Junko Tabei the first woman to climb the highest peak in the world- Mount Everest. Not only Mount Everest she was the first woman to climb all the highest peaks in every continent.
She was born in 1939, in the small town of Fukushima in Japan. Her fondness towards climbing was discovered by her at the mere age of 10 at a school trip to Mount Nasu.
She studied English Literature at Showa Women’s University and became a member of University’s mountain climbing club. In 1969, after her graduation, she formed the Ladies Climbing Club with the slogan: Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves.
In 1975, she climbed the Everest and became the first woman to do so. But she wasn’t happy with the achievement as she preferred to be known as the 36th person in the world to climb the Everest.
An old article published by a reputed magazine described her experience of reaching the summit at the age of 35. For starters, she almost died in an avalanche but was pulled out by a group of sherpas.
“Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top- it is the will power that is the most important. This will power cannot be bought with money- it rises from your heart,” said Tabei.
She was honoured by the Japanese Royal family for her extraordinary achievements.
It is not just Mount Everest that she had climbed but also Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Puncak Jaya, Elbrus and Vinson.
She was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer in 2012 and later died in a hospital in Kawagoe, Japan on 20th October 2016.