Millennium Post

The age of ascent

The ascent to the highest point in the world is any day and in any age is a matter of great honour and pride. Septuagenarian Japanese pensioner and climber Tamae Watanabe's achievement is slightly bigger than just honour: because she has climbed the full 8,848 metres of Mount Everest at the age of 73, when most women probably do little more than worrying and fussing about their fragile health and at best, spending a few special hours of the day with their grandchildren.

Watanabe chucked all such pleasures to take the pains of climbing the highest peak in the world. This feat makes her the oldest women to climb the king of peaks, a record that was held before her, hold your breath, by none else but her! Ten years ago, when she was 63, she climbed the full 8,848 metres for the first time and was feted as the oldest woman to have climbed the highest peak in the world! Now, she breaks her own record to set the bar for the next aspirant much higher. This is a grand feat indeed. Hers is an act of courage and braver. Watanabe deserves to be congratulated for her outstanding feat.

She reached the peak with her co-climber and photographer and three Sherpas - Nepal's fearless trainers and breed of mountaineers who have helped turn numerous attempts to the world's highest peak into ascents. Since Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay peaked Mount Everest for the first time in 1953, it has been scaled by many and in some cases against severe deterrents. However Mount Everest remains a tough job on any given day and specially this year, the winds are, reportedly, harsh. But still Watanabe's case is as much the feat of scaling but also of her spirit of can-do and adventure. In an age when most would find themselves under the umbrage of fate, she sought a spiritual adventure of a different kind and has marked her name in sparkling words on the alabaster snows of Mount Everest. Watanabe has redefined our notions of age. She has shown us that our conventional beliefs about age appropriate behaviour may be wrong and the limits of the possible as far as human endurance and performance are concerned are not narrowly defined but can be extended well beyond imaginable limits.   

She proves once again that age really is no bar if there is a will that stands fortified behind.
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