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On May 16, 1975, Junko Tabei carved out her spot in history when she became the first woman to scale Mount Everest.

At the time a housewife and the mother of a 3-year-old, Tabei had survived an avalanche at 6,400 meters that struck in the middle of the night two weeks prior. Any normal person would have retreated, but Tabei picked up the pieces and continued straight into the “death zone” (the point above 8,000 meters where there is not enough oxygen for humans to breathe). She became the only member of her expedition, comprising a core group of 15 women, to make it to the top of the world when she summited with Ang Tsering Sherpa.

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