Japanese woman, 73, in record Everest attempt

KATHMANDU - A 73-year-old Japanese mountaineer who became the oldest woman to conquer Mount Everest a decade ago is attempting to smash her own record, organisers said on Monday.

Tamae Watanabe made history when she reached the world's highest peak on May 16, 2002, taking the title of world's oldest female Everest summiteer from Poland's Anna Czerwinska.

"She is an active mountaineer who is physically and mentally fit enough to climb Everest," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, of the Kathmandu-based Asian Trekking mountaineering agency.

"She will launch her ascent from the Tibetan side of the mountain."

Watanabe, who set off from Kathmandu last week accompanied by Japanese mountaineer and photographer Noriyuki Muraguchi, plans to reach the top of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak between May 10 and 12, said Sherpa.

Min Bahadur Sherchan, from Nepal, holds the record for being the oldest man to conquer the mountain. He reached the summit in 2008 at the age of 76 years and 340 days.

Around 3,000 people have climbed Everest, which straddles Nepal and China, since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and every year hundreds more set out in April to attempt the climb.

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