Yasuko Namba was a businesswoman by profession who got into mountains as her hobby. Who knew one day, with a mountaineering hobby, Namba would be recognized worldwide as the second Japanese woman to reach all Seven Summits. She began Seven Summit in 1982, climbing Kilimanjaro. It took over a decade to complete the mission ending with Mount Everet Climb. Tragically, she died during her descent in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.
Who Is Yasuko Namba? Bio
Yasuko Namba is a Japanese mountaineer, born on 7th Feburary 1949 in Ōta City, Tokyo. Her family has always remained behind the limelight.
She got her degree from Waseda University.
Before she lost her life in the 1996 Everest Disaster, she was employed as a personnel manager at Federal Express in Tokyo, Japan.
Later, her husband, Kenichi Namba, and his brother traveled to Nepal, hoping to recover her body from Everest. But when Everest takes life, it keeps it for eternity.
Yasuko Namba Quest for the Seven Summits
On 1st January 1982, Namba summited Kilimanjaro in Africa. Then in the new year of 1984, she summited Aconcagua. Her third summit came on 1st July 1985 at Denali. On 1st August 1992, she reached the summit of Mount Elbrus. On 29th December 1993, she summited Vinson Massis. On 12th November 1994, she submitted the Carstensz Pyramid.
What happened to Yasuko Namba? – Everest Disaster
Now, it’s time for the last and final one, Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth.
For the expedition, she contracted with Adventure Consultant, owned by Rob Hall.
On 10th May 1996, she reached the summit of Everest at the age of 47, becoming the oldest woman at that time which Anna Czerwińska, 50, later broke.
While the 1996 Mount Everest blizzard hit, Namba was still over 8000m descending. Namba, her teammates Beck Weathers and Adventure Consultant’s guide Mike groom, and Scott Fischer‘s Mountain Madness clients were stuck on the South Col due to storms.
Later, Namba went short of supplemental oxygen. She and her mate, Weathers, became so weak that they needed help from the guides. Although the group tried to head to the camp, the guides soon realized it was worthless to stop there, so they went down, leaving the two on the top.
Anatoli Boukreev, a Fischer’s guide, set out from Camp IV into the night to rescue trapped climbers. After rescuing several climbers, he returned one last time for his clients: Sandy Pittman and Tim Madsen. Madsen accepted Namba as dead and Weathers as a hopeless cause, so left the two alone.
The next day, on 11th May, Canadian Doctor Stuart Hutchinson, a client of Adventure Consultants, and three Sherpas went to find Namba and Weathers. Hutchinson discovered the two unconscious and too near to death to be carried down to Base Camp. Hence, they left Namba and Hutchinson.
Miraculously, Weathers beat all expectations and descended to camp, while Namba died from exhaustion and exposure.
On 28th April 1997, Boukreev spotted Namba’s body while he was on an expedition with the Indonesian National Team. To protect Namba’s body from scavenging birds, Boukreev constructed a cairn around her.
In 1997, Namba’s husband funded an operation that brought Namba’s body down the mountain.
In mid-May 1996, Junko Tabel, the first woman to summit Everest, came forward and spoke to United Press International, Inc reporter, “I jumped for joy when I heard she did it, but I feel like I have lost my sister, and I am very sorry.”
The Sherpas have built two memorial monuments of the Buddha nearby Gorak Shep (5,164 m): one dedicated to Rob Hall and the other to Hall’s teammates Doug Hansen, Andy Harris, and Yasuko Namba. Prayer flags connect the monuments.
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Is Yasuko’s Body Still On Everest?
Yasuko was caught by a blizzard while descending Mt. Everest. She lost her life on top of the world due to exhaustion and exposure to the cold weather. Initially, her body was left on the South Col of Mount Everest. However, Yasuko’s corpse was recovered and returned to Japan the following year.