Junko Tabei (1939-)
Japanese mountain-climber, Tabei began her climbing career at age ten-years-old when she climbed Mt. Nasu with a teacher. In 1975, while traveling with an all women team (15 in all) Tabei went to Katmandu to find guide sherpas and to assist climbing to the top of Mt. Everest. While camping on the mountain, an avalanche struck and buried Tabei underneath the snow. Sherpas eventually dug her out, but she was unconscious for nearly six minutes. However, twelve days later, on May 16, using the same route as Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay (the South-East Ridge Route), Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. In another historic feat, in 1992, Tabei was also the first women to complete the ‘Seven Summits’ (climb the highest mountain peak on each continent).