Via the southeast ridge route, Japanese mountaineer Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
Located in the central Himalayas on the border of China and Nepal, Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Called Chomo-Lungma, or "Mother Goddess of the Land," by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everest, an early 19th-century British surveyor of the Himalayas. In May 1953, climber and explorer Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal made the first successful climb of the peak. Hillary was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for the achievement. Ten years later, American James Whittaker reached Everest's summit with his Sherpa climbing partner, Nawang Gombu. In 1975, Junko Tabei conquered the mountain, and in 1988 Stacy Allison became the first American woman to successfully climb Everest.