Oldest female to scale Mt Qomolangma declared

Updated: 2012-05-27 14:27


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KATHMANDU - With a lot of enthusiasm and zest, 73-year-old Japanese woman Tamae Watanabe has amazed people by summiting Mount Qomolangma (also known as Mount Everest in the West) on May 19.

Watanabe has been declared as the "Oldest Person to Climb Mount Qomolangma (Female)" by the Guinness World Record on Friday in Nepali capital Kathmandu. Asian Trekking, a trekking organization based in Kathmandu on behalf of Craig Glenday, Guinness World Record Editor in Chief, handed over a copy of the award to Watanabe.

The original copy will be handed over in Japan after her return.

Oldest female to scale Mt Qomolangma declared

Tamae Watanabe of Japan poses with a copy of the Guinness World Record certificate during a press conference organised by Asian Trekking to congratulate Watanabe, in Kathmandu, May 25, 2012. For the second time, the 73-year-old woman has become the world's oldest woman to climb Mount Qomolangma, repeating her own record set 10 years ago, the company that organized the climb said on Saturday. [Photo/Agencies]

She had previously climbed Mount Qomolangma in the year 2002 at the age of 63. Talking to media persons on Friday, Watanbe said that she felt old this time while summiting the world's highest peak from the Tibetan side.

"I felt that the climate change has created a bad effect in the Himalayas as the snow was melting, wind blowing heavily and warmer temperature," she said, expressing her worry over the global warming effects in Nepal.

She added that technically the Tibetan side is more difficult. "Maybe the route is difficult, maybe I have become old," she said.

Previously a civil service officer from Yamanashi prefecture, Watanbe said that she always had a kind of love and attraction to the Mountains as she lives near Japan's Mount Fuji.

In the year 2005, Watanbe got a serious back injury which had stopped her for years to scale Mount Qomolangma again. However, after getting good advice from the doctor and becoming physically fit, she decided to summit Mount Qomolangma again.

Sharing her love for climbing, she said that she used to go for hiking around her hometown which finally inspired her to climb mountains.

Unmarried Watanbe who lives her retired life by working in her kitchen garden, said that her family equally supported her and gave her power to reach to the summit.

Talking to Xinhua, Dr Ajaya Rana, sports physician, said that age is not a problem for one to summit mountains. "It depends upon how one's body acclimatizes with the climate, even young if not acclimatized then can suffer severe problem of altitude sickness," Rana added.

As a passionate climber, Watanabe has climbed over a dozen mountains across the world, of which six are above the 8000 meters.

Her climbing journey started in the year 1992 while she first climbed a mountain at the Nepal-China border. The month of May is the best month to climb Mount Qomolangma due to the favorable weather conditions that ultimately helps in summiting the world's highest mountain.

Previously, the oldest person to climb Qomolangma was 76-year-old Nepalese man, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who climbed the peak in 2008. The youngest person is 13-year-old American teenager Jordan Romero from California who reached the summit in 2010.

So far about 4,000 people have climbed Mount Qomolangma.