Google Doodle Celebrates First Woman to Reach the Summit of Mount Everest

Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei is 80 today.
Loukia Papadopoulos

Google Doodle is celebrating Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei on her 80th birthday. Tabei is the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first woman to ascend all seven summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent.


Do not give up

When asked for advice on her achievements Tabei famously said “Do not give up. Keep on your quest.”

Tabei was raised in Miharu, a small town in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture. She was the fifth daughter in a family of seven children.

At age 10 during a class trip to Mount Nasu, she first discovered climbing and continued the activity all throughout school. From 1958 to 1962, Tabei attended the Showa Women's University where she studied English literature and education.

During that time she was also a member of the mountain climbing club. In 1965, Tabei got married to Masanobu Tabei, a fellow climber. She had two children with him.

Ladies Climbing Club: Japan

In 1969, she formed the Ladies Climbing Club: Japan. The club's slogan was "Let's go on an overseas expedition by ourselves." 

Tabei later revealed that she founded the club because of how she was treated by male mountaineers. Some refused to climb with her while others assumed she was climbing to find a husband.

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Though she is known for being the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, Tabei once said that that was never her intention. “I did not intend to be the first woman on Everest,” she stated.

The Everest expedition that made her famous started in the spring of 1975. There were 15 climbers and 6 sherpas on the mission.

At an elevation of 2,743.2 meters, their camp was buried by an avalanche but that did not stop Tapei. After taking 3 days to recover, she finished the climb on May 16, 1975, accompanied only by the sherpa Ang Tshering.

After returning from the summit, she was celebrated everywhere and even received congratulations from Japan’s Emperor, Crown Prince, and Princess.

However, that was just the beginning for Tabei. She continued to climb more mountains, including the seven summits and, in the end, reached mountaintops in 76 different countries.

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