I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me – Philippians 4:13
KATHMANDU (Kyodo) — A Japanese woman stunned the mountaineering world Saturday by successfully climbing the world’s tallest mountain at the age of 73, setting a formidable world record.
Tamae Watanabe, who launched her final assault on the treacherous upper slopes of Mt. Everest from an altitude of 8,300 meters Friday night, set foot atop the 8,848-meter peak Saturday morning, Ang Tshering Sherpa, chairman of Kathmandu’s Asian Trekking, the local organizer of her expedition, said.
She made the ascent from the north ridge route that begins in Tibet.
Watanabe, who left Kathmandu for the mountain last month, had to reschedule her summit plans twice due to fickle weather on the upper slopes of the mountain.
Weather has been so erratic around the mountain this season that a summit wave started from the southeast ridge route in Nepal only Friday when 30 climbers reached the top at least a week behind schedule, according to Tilak Pandey, an official at Nepal’s Tourism Ministry.
“Several climbers abandoned summit plans in the past weeks due to bad weather,” he said by telephone from the Base Camp of the southeast ridge route.
Watanabe had initially planned to make a push for the summit Tuesday, but strong winds around the upper slopes of the mountain forced her to postpone her plans, expecting the summit assault to have to wait until after Sunday at the earliest.
When favorable weather appeared earlier than expected, however, she was able to begin her climb to the top of the mountain Friday night.
With Saturday’s feat, Watanabe bettered her own record of being the oldest woman to climb the mountain.
On May 16, 2002, she successfully scaled the mountain from the southeast ridge route in Nepal, a record that stood for a decade until Watanabe herself broke it Saturday.
Watanabe, a retired office worker from Yamanashi Prefecture, is among two Japanese women holding Mt. Everest records.
Junko Tabei, a member of the Japanese Women’s Everest Expedition team, secured her name in mountaineering history in 1975 by becoming the first woman to climb the mountain.
Watanabe was born on Nov 21, 1938, according to her travel documents lodged with her local organizers.
She is among two septuagenarian women from Japan who attempted Everest this climbing season.
Eiko Funahashi, 72, attacked the mountain from the southeast ridge route, but she abandoned summit plans in late April due to health problems.
It was her third unsuccessful attempt since 2006 to try to beat Watanabe’s 2002 record.
The oldest male to successfully climb Mt. Everest is Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan, who achieved the feat in May 2008 when he was 76 years and 340 days old, according to Guinness Records.
The youngest person to climb the mountain is American Jordan Romero who made it to the top in 2010 when he was just 13.
May 19, 2012(Mainichi Japan)