Today Google Doodle is celebrating the 80th birthday of a trailblazer: Japanese climber Junko Tabei, the first woman to climb Mount Everest.
Tabei has many feats under her belt, not least of which the fact that she survived an avalanche – a sure death sentence for anyone elese – and she made history for being the first woman to scale the tallest mountain in the world.
As a true pioneer, the Japanese mountaineer is being celebrated in a Google Doodle on what would have been her 80th birthday – though she once insisted she’d rather be known as the 36th person to scale the peak.
“I did not intend to be the first woman on Everest,” she explained four decades after the feat.
Born in a small town in Fukushima prefecture, she was instrumental in changing the all-male environment that was mountain climbing until that point.
She founded the Ladies Climbing Club in 1969 with the following slogan
Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves.
In a later interview she said:
Most Japanese men of my generation would expect the woman to stay at home and clean the house.
She reached the summit of Everest on 16 May 1975 as the leader of an all-female Japanese climbing party.
Accompanied by 16 sherpas, the 15-person strong team, their camp was buried by an avalanche.
She continued on by herself – except for her guide – and reached the summit 12 days later, and in 1992 she became the first woman to complete the “seven summits” – the highest peaks of all continents.
Tabei was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 but continued climbing, and she died four years later, aged 77.