American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Nepal, Mount Everest, First Ascent by a Woman

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

Mount Everest, First Ascent by a Woman. At 12:30 P.M. on May 16 Junko Tabei, a 35-year-old mother of a three-year-old child, reached the summit of Mount Everest with Sherpa Ang Tsering. The 15-member Japanese Ladies Expedition was led by Mrs. Eiko Hisano. Base Camp was set up on March 16 at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. Although by May 2 reconnaissance had reached close to the South Col, two days later an avalanche at Camp II nearly ended the expedition. Seven of the Japanese, including Mrs. Tabei, and six Sherpas were injured. Plans for getting three or four of the Japanese to the top had to be curtailed. On May 13 Camp V was established on the South Col and Camp VI at 27,900 feet the next day. Bad weather prevented a summit attempt on the 15th, but Junko Tabei and Ang Tsering reached their goal on May 16. We very much regret that the promised article on the expedition has not reached us by press time.

Khumbu Clean-Up by the Evergreen State College. As part of its innovative curriculum, Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, trained 18 students last spring in Nepali language and culture and sent them to Nepal for eleven months of individual study and research. The students were assisted in their studies by faculty member David Peterson, M.D. (Everest ’71 and Dhaulagiri ’73) and his wife Kathy. Individual projects range from comparative linguistics and ethnomusicology to folk tales and ornithology. Steve Valadez, Martha Stoddard, Rick Henderson, Don Weedon and Laurie Woodall joined Nick Langton on the action phase of his Khumbu clean-up project. After trekking in from Dharan, up the Arun and across the ranges of the upper Khumbu in 28 days, they joined their Sherpa team and spent three weeks on garbage patrol at Thyangboche and beyond. Nick Langton writes: “The clean-up was a success. We cleaned and built dump sites (huge holes) at Thyangboche, Pheriche, Lobuje and Gorak Shep. Base Camp was beyond our scope, but we managed to remove 1000 to 1500 pounds of trash, purely token. This Base Camp trash had to be carried down since at Base there was no ground soft enough to dig.” It is hoped that this good work will be carried forward by future Khumbu trekkers.

William F. Unsoeld

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