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Climbing

Kei Taniguchi dies at 43; mountaineer scaled Everest and won prestigious Golden Ice Axe

Kei Taniguchi dies at 43; mountaineer scaled Everest and won prestigious Golden Ice Axe

Mountaineer Kei Taniguchi fell to her death while climbing this week in the snowy Daisetsuzan range in northern Japan's Hokkaido prefecture. She was 43.

Taniguchi, who climbed Mount Everest in 2007, became the first woman to receive the prestigious Piolet d'Or (Golden Ice Axe) mountaineering award in 2009. A friend and fellow climber, Hiroshi Hagiwara, said Friday that she fell while taking a break on 6,510-foot- Kurodake after she and four companions had reached the peak.

"She was one of us, and it's very unfortunate," said Hagiwara, an editor at Yamakei magazine.

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