Junko Tabei, the first woman to scale Mount Everest, dies

She conquered the world's highest peak on May 16, 1975 when she was 35.

Tokyo: The first woman to ascend Mount Everest in 1975 has died at the age of 77, a Japanese media reported on Sunday.

Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei died of cancer on Thursday at a hospital in Saitama prefecture. Her family made the news public only over the weekend, Efe news reported.

The climber, born in 1939, conquered the world's highest peak that towers a colossal 8,848 meters on May 16, 1975 when she was 35.

In 1992, she also became the first woman to climb all "Seven Summits," a grouping of the highest peak on each continent.

A graduate in English literature from Showa Women's University, Tabei also founded the "Ladies Climbing Club: Japan" in 1969.

During her lifetime, Tabei scaled summits in over 60 countries and continued to travel abroad five to six times a year, to pursue her passion even after she turned 70.

Author of several books - including an autobiography where she called herself a housewife who climbs mountains - the climber was awarded the "Mountain Hero Award" by the Mountain Institute in Washington in 2008.


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