Junko Tabei

“Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top; it is the willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given by others—it rises from your heart.” — Junko Tabei

Junko Tabei (1939-2016) was a Japanese Mountaineer—the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first woman to climb the highest peak on every continent (the Seven Summits.)  Though she was considered a ‘weak child’ when she was young, she later formed her own club, the  Ladies Climbing Club: Japan (LCC) in 1969, who’s slogan was: “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves.” She said she formed the club because of the way she was treated by the male climbers at the time, who accused her of climbing only to find a husband or refused to climb with her at all.  It was with this club that she climbed Everest, managing to survive an avalanche that buried her and left her unconscious for a time. Later on, she focused her career on preserving  mountain environments, disrupted by the waste left by climbing groups. She continued to climb throughout her life, leading ‘clean up’ climbs in Japan and the Himalayas. (Incidentally, she did meet her husband on a mountain climb—what a lovely surprise.)

 

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