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Naomi Uemura
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    (February 12, 1941-circa February 13, 1984)
    Born in Hidaka, Japan
    Part of the first Japanese expedition to climb Mt. Everest
    Made the first solo climbs of Mt. McKinley, Kilimanjaro and Mount Blanc
    First person to reach the North Pole alone (May 1, 1978)
    Disappeared the day after becoming the first person to climb Mt. McKinley solo during winter
    Since he had supplies air dropped along his route, some have questioned whether his trek to the North Pole was truly 'solo.'
    His reputation may have contributed to his death, with one rescue pilot admitting, 'If it were anybody else, we'd have somebody on the mountain already.'
    Because of his name, his accomplishments are sometimes included on lists of feminist triumphs.
    He initially took up mountain climbing to improve his self-confidence.
    He considered quitting twice during his North Pole trek, but wrote, 'What drove me to continue was the thought of countless people who had helped and supported me.'
    Although known for his solitary adventures, he was described as having 'a deep interest in everyone he met.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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