At age 28 Tamae Watanabe began mountain climbing. In 1977 she climbed Mount McKinley. She then climbed Mont Blanc, Mount Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua. After her retirement she returned to her hometown and in May 2002 she became the then oldest woman to climb Mount Everest. Ten years later, in May 2012, she broke her own record, when she, now at the age of 73, again scaled Mount Everest.