It’s May of 1975 and the Joshi-Tohan Club, a group of female mountaineers, led by Junko Tabei, are scaling the savage face of Mt. Everest despite an avalanche having just decimated their camp.
The Joshi-Tohan Club was the first all-female climbing club in Japan, founded by Tabei herself. These women lived their passion for climbing together, despite discouragement by their male contemporaries. Their club slogan was, “Let’s go on an overseas expedition by ourselves”.
Twelve days after the avalanche, on the 16th of May 1975, Tabei and her Sherpa guide Ang Tsering reached the peak of Everest, where she became the first woman ever to do so.
This story strummed chords on my heartstrings. It’s about determination, breaking boundaries, and the power of sisterhood. These women were housewives who loved climbing so much, they took their passion to a place that society wasn’t ready for. Their achievements as a team were greater than scaling Mt. Everest itself. That’s so beautiful.
This collection was also inspired by my trip to Nepal in 2018, where I experienced these climbing stories in the flesh. The Nepalese culture felt so familiar yet so different, and my memories of the trip stem from a deep feeling of being seen and heard. The friendships I made on that trip gave me the same sense of fellowship from the Joshi-Tohan story. It’s goodness that sunk deep into my bones, and I hope to share it with my humble creations.
Shot by Anon S.V.S.S. / Art Direction Lauren Yates / Models Moshi, Raduwa, Shasha, Pony / Assistant Pippa Touch-Phong