Junko Tabei was the first women to climb the world’s highest peak and was the thirty-sixth person to ever climb Everest. She recently passed away from cancer at a hospital near Tokyo. Although she was diagnosed four years prior to her death, she kept climbing and went beyond Mt. Everest. She was the first woman to ever conquer the “Seven Summits”, which are the highest mountains on all seven continents. The “Seven Summits” include Kilimanjaro, Denali, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Carstensz Pyramid, Vinson, and Everest. Her famous Mt. Everest climb was in 1975 at a height of 8,848 meters. After this climb, many women, including Malavath Poorna, who climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest at the age of thirteen, and Lakpa Sherpa, who has climbed Mt. Everest six times, have been inspired to follow in Junko Tabei’s footsteps.
Many people assume that Mt. Everest is not very difficult to climb compared to others, but it is in fact very difficult to even survive. At the summit of Everest oxygen decreases about fifty percent, and temperatures drop below negative thirty degrees. Even then, climbing up Everest is not difficult compared to its descent, which is when most climbers catch severe altitude sicknesses and frostbite. The success rate of conquering Everest is only twenty-nine percent. Now that it is known that climbing Everest is possible, more and more people are climbing it, and climbers are getting younger and younger as the years go by. Now there are restrictions for who can mentally and physically endure Everest.
Junko Tabei is not only famous for her mountaineering achievements but also known for her defiance to the Japanese society when she left her child and husband to go achieve her dreams. She also created the first all woman climbing club in Japan. Junko Tabei once said “There was never a question in my mind that I wanted to climb that mountain, no matter what other people said."