40-year-old first Japan woman to reach South Pole

Kyodo News

A female alpinist from Tokyo has become the first Japanese woman to reach the South Pole.

Sumiyo Tsuzuki, 40, told one of her supporters by phone that she reached her destination on skis at 7:45 a.m. Thursday Japan time.

“I think I did a great job. It was a lot harder than conquering Chomolungma,” said Tsuzuki, who in May 1998 became the third Japanese woman to climb what is commonly known as Mount Everest. In 2004 she crossed Greenland by skis.

Tsuzuki left Japan for Chile in mid-November and arrived Nov. 28 at a location in the Antarctic called the Hercules Inlet at 80 degrees south latitude, where she started her trek to the South Pole.

She had expected to take about 60 days to cover the roughly 1,100 km on skis.

The supporter said the lowest temperatures recorded have been between 33 and 35 below zero, with occasional wind gusts of about 46.4 kph.

Tsuzuki, blessed with relatively good weather for the last four to five days, reached her goal with two men, from Britain and Canada.