KATHMANDU, May 19: Japanese woman Tamae Watanabe climbed Mt Everest at the age of 73 years Saturday morning to better her own record of being the oldest woman ever to set foot on the highest peak in the world in 2002.
Watanabe reached the 8,858-meter summit at 7:30 in the morning from the northern side of the mountain in Tibet with four other team members, according to Chairman of Asian Trekking Ang Tshering. She had left for the summit from camp 3 (8,300m) at 9pm Friday along with fellow Japanese Noriyuki Muraguchi and high altitude climbing Sherpas -- Mingma Sherpa, Phura Nuru Sherpa and Phurba Sherpa.
Watanabe had climbed Everest in 2002 at the age of 63 to become the oldest woman to scale the mountain breaking the record of Polish mountaineer Anna Czerwiska who had done so at the age of 50 two years earlier. Watanabe had wished to climb the peak from both the sides, according to Tshering whose Asian Trekking had also organized Watanabe´s last ascent in 2002.
Tshering said Watanabe and the other team members are in good condition and are on their way back and will return to Kathmandu in around a week. He said Watanabe had arrived in Kathmandu in March and gone trekking to the Everest Base Camp to acclimatize before leaving for Lhasa, Tibet on April 10. The International Everest Expedition Spring 2012 led by Watanabe had nine other foreigners and 11 high altitude climbing Sherpas.
This is Watanabe´s sixth ascent of a peak higher than 8,000 meters having climbed Cho Oyu (8,201m) of China in 1991, Dhaulagiri (8,167m) of Nepal in 1994, Gasherbrum(8,035m) of Pakistan in 1998 and Lhotse (8,516m) of Nepal in 2004 apart from her 2002 ascent of Everest in 2002.
Nepali ex-soldier Min Bahadur Sherchan is the oldest person to climb Everest. He had reached the summit of Everest in 2008 at the age of 76.