The first woman to ascend Everest, Japanese climber Junko Tabei, has died aged 77, her family says. Tabei reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain in 1975, at the age of 35.
Tabei was just 4’9″, but she was a giant in mountaineering, as the first woman to conquer the “Seven Summits” — the tallest peak on each continent.
She was diagnosed with cancer of the abdomen four years ago, and died in hospital in the city of Saitama. Her last ascent was of Mount Fuji in July, alongside high school students affected by the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Tabei climbed her first mountain in elementary school, when she was led by her teacher to the summit of Mt Nasu, her official website states. She later established the Ladies Climbing Club: Japan, with the slogan “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves”.
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