Celebrate Women's History Month with Junko Tabei

Junko Tabei is a freaking bad ass.  She was the first woman to summit Mt. Everest, and she led other women on climbing excursions 

Junko was born in Fukushima in 1939. She was one of seven children, and considered weak and sickly in her youth. 

However, she didn’t let that stop her from joining her class on a climbing field trip to Mount Nasu when she was 10 years old. That trip started her love affair with climbing. 

 When she was barred from joining the Alpine Climbing Club due to her gender, she started her own women's climbing club. Their slogan was “let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves”

Women's Climbing Club

After a smaller successful expedition to scale Annapurna III, the Ladies Climbing Club decided to climb Mount Everest. They made their own sleeping bags, sewed their own gloves, and even collected jam and provisions from their students.

Preparing for Everest

15 women from the Ladies Climbing Club joined the expedition to Mount Everest. It was known as the Japanese Women’s Everest Expedition (JWEE).

Scaling the Mountain

In early May, an avalanche struck the camp, burying Junko Tabei. Fortunately, a Sherpa was able to dig her out, but she lost consciousness for 6 minutes.

Hardship on the Climb

On May 16, 1975, Junko Tabei reached the summit – the first woman in history to achieve such a feat.

Reaching the Summit