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Avaunt Issue 5


Par Tristan Rutherford - 3 mn

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Junko Tabei

Avaunt remembers Junko Tabei, the pioneering female mountain climber who overcame the limits of a patriarchal society to become the first woman to summit Everest.

The most enduring feat of the late alpinist Junko Tabei – becoming the first woman to climb Mount Everest – almost ended in disaster. On the 4th May 1975, 2,500 metres from the summit, Tabei’s all-female camp was overwhelmed by an avalanche. Pinned underneath her four companions, she just managed to pass a penknife to the expedition leader to cut them free of the collapsed tent’s fabric before she passed out.

It took two days before Tabei was able to walk, let alone climb, but midway between the safety of base camp and the eternal satisfaction of Everest’s summit, she was determined to continue.

Twelve days later Tabei and Ang Tshering, the Sherpa guiding her, rested on Everest’s South Summit. Astonishingly, none of the previous summiteers had warned the duo of the final challenge, one that made her “shu...

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