Author, Teacher, and the First Woman to Summit Everest

Author, Teacher, and the First Woman to Summit Everest


Imagine being blasted by an avalanche of snow booming onto your camp while you're fast asleep. Well, that's exactly what happened to Junko Tabei and her 14 woman team while they were attempting to become the first all-women group to ever summit the great Mt. Everest. 
Author, teacher, and legendary mountaineer Junko Tabei was on her way to making world history when she was knocked unconscious by a massive avalanche that nearly put their trip to a steeping hault. Having to be uncovered by the group of accompanying Sherpas, they were able to save Junko and dig her out of the snow. Fortunately, the near fatal tragedy left the team with an array of bumps and bruises and no major injuries or fatalities. 
For one to appreciate the determination, dedication, and skillset of the women involved in the Ladies Climbing Club it is necessary to take it a few years back and understand what it was like to be Junko Tabei growing up in Japan and finding her footing in the mountaineering industry.

She was born in the year 1939 as the 5th daughter of 7 total children. She came from no such mountaineering background, and was described as a frail and shy child. Junko began mountain climbing at the age of 10 on a school field trip and well, honestly the rest is history. Despite her dreams of being a teacher or an author, Junko got involved in the mountaineering industry and eventually became the first ever women to summit Mount Everest as well as becoming the first woman to summit  the 7 highest peaks on each continent! 
Frustrated with males in the industry not taking her seriously, refusing to climb with her, or thinking she was only mountaineering to “find a husband” , she started the Ladys Climbing Club in the year 1969. They got their feet wet in the industry with an Annapurna summit in the year 1970, and applied for their Everest expedition that year as well. More than 4 years later, it was time for the Lady's Climbing Club to embark on their ascent up Everest.
At 35 years old, with a two-year old baby being taken care of at home, Tabei became the first woman to ever summit Mt. Everest. After a long, multi-day journey the group of women climbers accompanied by local sherpas were ready to make their push for the summit. Due to extreme conditions and a bout with altitude sickness, the team agreed that they could only send one member to the summit. In total agreement, Tabei was chosen to summit as she was the leader of the expedition. As close as they were to the top, there was still a lot of adventure ahead of them. Tabei was shocked at how dangerous the final push to the summit was on that route, having to pass along on a thin, wobbly piece of ice that had gone completely unmentioned in previous writings of this route. Despite the obstacles in her way, she and the sherpas completed their summit and made world history. 
Tabei was not comfortable with the fame she received in the following years after becoming the first women to summit the worlds tallest peak. She later said she preferred to be remembered as the 36th person to summit Everest and she "Did not intend to be the first women to summit".
Although becoming the first women to summit Everest was not in her intentions, she paved the way for millions of women ahead of her, proving to the world that adventure does not have any gender limitations. What Tabei accomplishes was certainly incredible, and absolutely should be celebrated during Women's History Month.

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