Mountaineer Kei Taniguchi has died in an accident while climbing in the snowy Daisetsuzan range in northern Japan’s Hokkaido. She was 43.
Taniguchi, who climbed Mount Everest in 2007, became the first woman to win the prestigious Piolet d’Or (Golden Ice Axe) mountaineering award in 2009. A friend and fellow climber, Hiroshi Hagiwara, said she fell while taking a break on 1,984 meter (6,510 foot)-high Kurodake as she and four companions were descending the peak.
Taniguchi had untied herself from the rope she and fellow climbers were using, and went behind a boulder. The group found her gloves and traces of her having fallen. She was confirmed dead Tuesday.