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73-Year-Old Japanese Woman Climbs Mount Everest

Mount Everest
Hulton Archive

In 2002, 63-year-old Japanese women Tamae Watanabe scaled Mount Everest. In doing so, the former office worker became the oldest woman to reach the famed mountain’s 29,035-foot-high summit.

That record stood until Saturday. That’s when Watanabe, now 73, set it again.

Watanabe had some extra motivation for climbing Everest this spring. Rival Japanese climber Eiko Funahashi, 72, was aiming to break Watanabe’s record for the oldest woman atop Everest. Funashashi, who was attempting the climb from a different side of the mountain than Watanabe launched from, was still on the ground waiting for the weather to clear when Watanabe reached the summit.

Everest has been hit by difficult conditions in recent weeks, but that didn’t stop Watanabe.

“It has been a very hard climb and it has been made harder by the weather, but she had a good team,” Ang Tshering, a sherpa who coached the climbers, explained.

The oldest person to ever scale Everest is Nepalese climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, who reached the top in 2008 at age 76.

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