73-year-old woman climbs Mount Everest

KATMANDU, Nepal — A 73-year-old Japanese woman climbed to Mount Everest’s peak Saturday, smashing her own record to again become the oldest woman to scale the world’s highest mountain.

Tamae Watanabe reached Everest’s 8,850-meter-high (29,035-foot-high) summit from the northern side of the mountain in Tibet on Saturday morning with four other team members, said Ang Tshering of the China Tibet Mountaineering Association in Nepal.

Watanabe had climbed Everest in 2002 at the age of 63 to become the oldest woman to scale the mountain. She had retained the title until she topped herself a decade later.

Tshering said Watanabe and the other team members are in good condition and are on their way back to the base of the mountain.

Watanabe and her team left the last high altitude camp located at 8,300 meters (27,225 feet) Friday night and climbed all night before reaching the summit Saturday morning.

Weather conditions have improved on the mountains this week.

Teams have begun reaching the summit even from the Nepalese side in the southern of the mountain, according to Nepal’s mountaineering department.

The first teams from the Nepalese side reached the summit on Friday, and many more reached the summit on Saturday morning.

Weather conditions on the mountain have been challenging this year, prompting several expeditions to cancel their plans to try to reach the summit.

May is considered the best month to climb Everest, when climbers get about two windows of good weather for their bid for the summit.

The oldest person to climb Everest is a Nepalese man, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who climbed Everest in 2008 at the age of 76.

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