Ovation: 73-Year-Old Woman Climbs Mount Everest … AGAIN!
I grew up in a house on a hill. It was a somewhat steep street and the local high school was at the bottom of the hill. On the high school grounds, there were two tennis courts. They were reasonably nice asphalt courts with functional nets and tall fences all around. My friends and neighbors and I would spend time there in the evenings, on the weekend and during the summer when the high school kids left the courts vacant. It was an easy trip down the hill to the courts but the climb home after a few sets was exhausting.
We would play tennis for hours and hours, each of us never wanting to be the poor soul who accidentally hit a ball over the tall fence. Because, once a ball was outside the courts, it would roll down the street for several blocks before crossing a busy road. The farther the ball rolled from the courts, the more exhausting the return climb up the hill would be.
I dread the thought of climbing that hill at fifty years old so I’m all the more amazed by Tamae Watanabe, a 73-year-old Japanese woman who climbed to Mount Everest’s peak last Saturday. She climbed to Everest’s 29,035-foot-high summit from the northern side of the mountain in Tibet on Saturday morning with four other climbers.
Amazingly, this was her second trip to the top! In 2002, at the age of sixty-three, Watanabe became the oldest woman to scale the mountain and she retained the titled until topping herself ten years later.
The group left the last high altitude camp (27,225 feet) on Friday night and climbed all night before reaching the summit on Saturday morning.
Weather conditions on the mountain have made climbing a challenge this year and several expeditions were cancelled. May is said to be the best month to climb Everest when climbers usually get two opportunities with good weather.
The oldest person to climb Mount Everest was Min Bahadur Sherchan, a Nepalese man who, at the age of 76, reached the summit in 2008. I bet neither of them would have any problems retrieving a tennis ball that was hit over the fence and rolled down the hill by the old high school.