Courtesy of Outside Magazine

419: Junko Tabei


Born: 22 September 1939, Miharu, Japan

Died: 20 October 2016, Kawagoe, Japan

Junko was the first woman to summit Mount Everest and the first woman to climb the Seven Summits (the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents).

She climbed mountains in over sixty countries overall but largely downplayed her achievement with Everest saying she was the 36th person to complete the climb. When Junko climbed Everest, she survived an avalanche but still eventually made it to the top.

Junko also founded the first climbing club for female mountaineers in Japan. She climbed her first mountain when she was ten years old. Junko was married to a fellow mountaineer and had two children.

In her later years, Junko became an environmental activist, especially concerning Mt. Everest. She passed away from cancer.

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Who Knew Women in History by Sarah Herman