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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > August 2018 > Ask the Experts

Ask the Experts

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DID YOU KNOW ?

RACE TO THE TOP

Unknown to Junko Tabei – whose first thought on summiting Everest was “Oh, I don’t have to climb anymore” – another expedition with female climbers was making an ascent from the other side. They made the top 11 days later.

WHO WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO CLIMB EVEREST?

“I was the 36th person to climb Everest,” was how Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei once understatedly described her 1975 ascent of the world’s highest mountain, when she became the first woman to reach the summit. Throughout her mountaineering career, Tabei scaled new heights (pun intended). In 1969, she formed the first women’s climbing club in Japan – with the slogan “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves” – partly because of the way she had been treated by some male climbers. Some simply didn’t want to climb with her, while others claimed she was only doing so as a means of finding a husband. Ironically enough, she did actually marry a fellow climber, whom she met in 1965.

During her Everest ascent, using the same route as Hillary and Norgay 22 years earlier, an avalanche struck the team’s camp, knocking Tabei unconscious for several minutes. She had to be dug out of the snow by one of the Sherpas. Injured, she persisted with the ascent and, 12 days later, made it to the top of Everest alongside Sherpa Ang Tsering.

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About History Revealed

In this month's issue… Captain Cook's secret mission Retrace James Cook's 1768 first voyage - a scientific expedition that morphed into a globe-spanning quest to find a lost continent thanks to a set of secret instructions. Plus: Louis XIV and the Palace of Versailles; the tragedy of British Tour de France hero Tom Simpson; the fall of the Russian Romanov dynasty; history of chocolate; William Wallace; weird pets; and Palymrene Queen Zenobia takes on Imperial Rome.