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First Japanese lady to scale 7 eight-thousanders
By CK Khanal
Kathmandu, Jun 1: A Japanese lady has become the first female from her country to scale seven out of 14 mountains measuring higher than 8,000 metres.
Her successful ascent of two mountains in Nepal this spring enabled her to set the record. If things move ahead as per her plan, she would be climbing seven more peaks measuring above 8000m, she said.
Naoko Watanabe who started climbing Winter Mountain at the age of 10 reached atop Mt Annapurna 1 (8091m) and Kanchenjunga (8586m) this spring to became the first Japanese woman to climb the seven peaks taller than 8,000m of the world.
The 37-year old Japanese reached the summit of Annapurna-1 on April 23 and Kanchenjunga on May 15, said Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks.
Meera Acharya, director at the Department of Tourism (DoT), said that the DoT would require some additional time to verify the ascent of Wantanabe and other climbers climbing different peaks of Nepal this spring.
In an exclusive talk with The Rising Nepal, Wantanabe said that she had been successful to climb both Annapurna-1 and Kanchenjunga in her third attempts. She had made unsuccessful attempt to conquer Mt. Kanchenjunga in 2017 and 2018, and in Annapurna-1 in 2015 and 2016.
Earlier, she had scaled Cho-Oyu (8201m) in 2006, Everest (8,848m) in 2013, Makalu (8,463m) in 2014, Manaslu (8,163m) in 2016 and Mt. K2 (8,611m) in 2018.
She said that she was the first Japanese woman to climb seven mountains measuring more than 8,000 meters.
“I had read news of a woman climber as the first Japanese lady to climb five mountains higher than 8,000 metres a few years back. She has now been old and has not made ascent of other peaks, therefore, I think, I am the first Japanese woman to scale the seven of such mountains,” Wantanabe said.
“I am the first Japanese woman to climb the world’s three highest peaks, Mt. Everest, Mt. K2 and Kanchenjunga,” Wantanabe said. Besides, she was the first lady from Japan to climb Mt. K2 and Annapurna-1.
Wantanabe is a nurse by profession and had rescued two climbers from Kanchenjunga in 2017 and 2018 joining hands with the Sherpa guides and other climbers.
It took her 13 years to climb seven peaks higher than 8,000 metres by managing funds by herself working as nurse. But she is now searching for sponsors to climb remaining seven peaks higher than 8,000m within next two years. See page 6
“I am looking for sponsors to accomplish my future plan. I have a plan to scale Dhaulagiri, Lhotse, Nangaparbat, Broad Peak and Shisha Pangma next year and Mt. G1 and Mt. G2 in 2021 provided that I get sponsor(s),” she said.
“If I do not get sponsor, it will take more years to accomplish my plan as I have to work for managing money. But I will not stop without climbing all 14 peaks higher than 8,000 metres,” Wantabe said.