Video: The oldest woman to climb Everest

posted at 5:31 pm on June 30, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

This week, more than many in the past year, we’re all in need of more palate cleansers than usual. With that in mind, the interview with this woman should fill the bill. At the age of 73 she climbed Mt. Everest. For the second time.

Japanese mountaineer Tamae Watanabe, 73, is still climbing; she set a world record last month, becoming the oldest woman to scale Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. She broke her own record, set when she was 63.

Expect more like these, fitness experts say — exceptionally healthy adults who are transforming our image of aging.

“My guess is that as more people ‘age up’ who have been active their whole lives and are really committed, we will see more interesting things from people in the 60-to-80 age range,” says Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and a specialist in exercise science in Rochester, Minn.

What really struck me in the video below was the humility of this woman. She seems genuinely surprised that anyone would want to interview her or that what she had done was in any way remarkable. She just… did it.

I was a big fan of the Discovery series, Everest: Beyond the Limit. I’ve done a few extreme sporting things in my day but nothing like that. I was always fascinated by the people who climbed into “the death zone” and came back to tell the tale. Particularly since they generally had to climb past the bodies of those who failed. (They don’t bring down the dead from Everest in most cases. It’s just not possible.)

Congrats to Ms. Watanabe. That takes a lot of nerve and she should be rightly proud of what she’s done.

UPDATE: (Jazz) Front page image fixed, sorry. Posting from the mountains on a sketchy connection. May have exceeded bandwidth on that one.

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Pelosi?

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

…forgot her botox shots?

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:35 PM

…I thought you said Ms. Wantabe! …never mind!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM

…I’ve been gone all day…anybody around?

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

oh no!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I’m gonna get in trouble again…

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:39 PM

…no one thinks this is ‘cute’ anymore….

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:39 PM

…but I don’t care!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Pelosi?

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

No, not the oldest woman to hold a clown size gavel without wearing the requisite matching clown shoes.

This woman Ms. Watanabe actually spent part of her life accomplishing something real.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

…there’s 57 states…

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

…there’s 57 states…

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

of mind when multi-posting?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Granny? Come on put your teeth in. Time for supper.
Granny?!
Granny!!
Where did that woman–Oh dammit! Bet she’s off climbing Everest again. Son, go fetch me that Sherpa. And a bottle of rum for bait…

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on June 30, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 30, 2012 at 5:40 PM

…I saw the face…and thought botox had a shelf life!…same hairdo and smile!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Maybe she’ll try this route next?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 30, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Congrats to Ms. Watanabe. That takes a lot of nerve and she should be rightly proud of what she’s done.
====================================

MountianeerEtte from the Rising Sun,
she sure is inspirational!!

canopfor on June 30, 2012 at 5:43 PM

I’ve done a few extreme sporting things in my day but nothing like that.

Does eating the worm in a bottle of tequila count as an extreme sport? Then I’ve done a few extreme sporting things too!

Joking aside, good for Mrs. Watanabe. It’s an impressive feat at any age.

beancounter on June 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

of mind when multi-posting?

…it’s the only time I get to feel like Dr Tesla or joana!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

…it’s the only time I get to feel like Dr Tesla or joana!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

LOL! Indeed, the logic seems the same.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM

…it’s the only time I get to feel like Dr Tesla or joana!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Why would you do that to yourself?

Is it like Mitch McConnell described “reaching across the aisle” to join the Dems in spending $120 on the highway funding bill: “an out of body experience”?

de rigueur on June 30, 2012 at 5:52 PM

In the words of the noted California philosophers Jan and Dean, “Go, Granny, Go!”

Del Dolemonte on June 30, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Serious kudos to the lady, though. It’s an impressive achievement at any age.

de rigueur on June 30, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Thanks for posting this, Jazz. It cheered me up for several reasons.

First of all, Mrs. Watanabe is to be congratulated for her achievement(s). Having celebrated another birthday recently I’m finding that it’s a challenge to avoid the invitations of friends to join them on the sidelines of life, watch everyone else, and let the world go by.

What wonderful spirit Mrs. W. possesses.

It’s blistering hot here in the South. I’m inside with Mr. Dog trying to stay cool, spritzing him and myself with water, sitting in front of fans and trying not to over-tax the utility company. One of my first thoughts when I read this story is how blessedly cool it must be on Mt. Everest.

I’m going to think about this marvelous woman and press on despite what anyone says. I need a job, but I’m more interested in starting my own business. And whenever someone tells me that I can’t do it, I will think of Mrs. Watanabe.

(I’m also going to daydream about making snow angels in my skivvies. It makes me feel cooler in the 108 degree temps.)

Cody1991 on June 30, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Now you know why we all stopped referring to them as the “weaker sex” a long, LONG time ago.

Lew on June 30, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I know I risk getting a few speeches along the lines of “let’s see you do it!”… but I couldn’t care less about “old person does something” stories.

mankai on June 30, 2012 at 6:02 PM

One of my first thoughts when I read this story is how blessedly cool it must be on Mt. Everest.

Cody1991 on June 30, 2012 at 5:58 PM

Average temperature at the summit this time of year is -2 F. Due to many weather factors, the mountain can basically only be climbed during two times of the year, namely late April-early May and again in the early fall.

Del Dolemonte on June 30, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Congratulations to her!

Personal humility is one of the best traits of most Japanese people.

acasilaco on June 30, 2012 at 6:06 PM

I firmly believe that any story, even an “old person does something” story, that puts a crack in our stereotypes is an unqualified good thing. Every once in a while it’s good to know that we can’t ever be too comfortable with our visions of other groups of people.
It’s good to be reminded that not all 73-year-old Japanese ladies spend their days at the farmers’ market fluffing up the lettuce and rearranging the mushrooms.
Good for her!

Lew on June 30, 2012 at 6:11 PM

of mind when multi-posting?

…it’s the only time I get to feel like Dr Tesla or joana!

KOOLAID2 on June 30, 2012 at 5:44 PM

KOOLAID2:Haha,ahem:)

canopfor on June 30, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Inspiring :)

Ugly on June 30, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Good for Tamae!

Wonder how hubby is holding up.

petefrt on June 30, 2012 at 6:38 PM

John Roberts says the climb was very taxing.

SparkPlug on June 30, 2012 at 6:44 PM

What a woman!What a feat!
Off course this would be on my bucket list were it not for my deep fear of sherpas.

katy the mean old lady on June 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Off course this would be on my bucket list were it not for my deep fear of sherpas.

katy the mean old lady on June 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

LOL!! Thanks for the laugh. Needed that :)

Ugly on June 30, 2012 at 7:02 PM

BTW if you have not read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air“, I highly recommend it.

Ugly on June 30, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Congrats to Ms. Watanabe. That takes a lot of nerve luck and she should be rightly proud of what she’s done.

FIFY…. all the training in the world can’t help you if you have some bad luck on the mountain.

Caper29 on June 30, 2012 at 7:12 PM

BTW if you have not read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air“, I highly recommend it.

Ugly on June 30, 2012 at 7:05 PM

I second that, it’s one of my favorite books.

mbs on June 30, 2012 at 8:30 PM

That dead zone must be scary stuff. Having to trek right past the corpses of those that failed before you and fell… heebiejeebies.

mythicknight on June 30, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Video: The oldest woman to climb Everest

Does this mean she’s over the hill?

itsnotaboutme on June 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

You go, girl!

J.E. Dyer on June 30, 2012 at 9:38 PM

I think it’s amazing and says a lot about the human spirit. Congratulations Tamae!!! Heck, there are days I don’t want to walk up my 100 yard driveway….lol

dddave on June 30, 2012 at 10:07 PM

But is Everest wheelchair accessible yet?

Kenosha Kid on July 1, 2012 at 1:24 AM

The translation is awful and the lady is not that humble.

I so dislike CNN.

And that sappy music is sappy.

Sherman1864 on July 1, 2012 at 3:48 AM

Well, kenosha, going down Everest in a wheelchair is pretty accessible, I imagine.

Sherman1864 on July 1, 2012 at 4:45 AM

Does this mean she’s over the hill?

itsnotaboutme on June 30, 2012 at 9:01 PM

No, she came back down the same way she went up.

YiZhangZhe on July 1, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Thanks to her, some 80 year old will die trying to beat her record. Nasty woman.

jan3 on July 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM