- Junko Tabei became the first woman to scale Mt Everest in 1975
- She devoted her adult life to climbing peaks all over the world
- She died of cancer at the age of 77
TOKYO: The first woman to climb Mount Everest didn’t stop there.
Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei, who died Thursday at 77, devoted her adult life to scaling peaks, climbing the tallest mountains in more than 70 countries.
Her philosophy was to live life to the fullest. “I want to climb even more mountains,” she said in a 1991 interview with The Associated Press, 16 years after conquering Everest. “To think, ‘It was great,’ and then die.”
To do so required defying stereotypes, and a supportive husband, in a country that thought a woman’s place was in the home. She founded the Ladies Climbing Club in 1969 with the slogan “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves,” and reached the summit of Everest on May 16, 1975, as the leader of the climbing party of an all-female Japanese team.
“Most Japanese men of my generation would expect the woman to stay at home and clean house,” the mother of two said in the 1991 interview.
In 1992, she became the first woman to complete the “Seven Summits,” reaching the highest peaks of the seven continents.
Tabei died of cancer at a hospital outside of Tokyo, Japanese media reported Saturday.