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13 of history's greatest polar explorers

By: Laura Moss on Nov. 16, 2011, 8:52 a.m.
Ann Bancroft

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Ann Bancroft

Ann Bancroft is an author and adventurer and was the first woman to successfully complete many Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. In 1986, she traveled to the North Pole via dogsled in 56 days and became the first woman to reach the pole on foot and by sled. Bancroft was also the first woman to cross both polar ice caps to reach the North and South Poles, as well as the first woman to ski across Greenland. In 1993, she led an all-woman trip to the South Pole on skis, and in 2001, she and Liv Arnesen became the first women to ski across Antarctica. Bancroft’s amazing achievements led to her induction into the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame.