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8 trailblazing female explorers

By: Matt Hickman on Nov. 11, 2014, 5:20 p.m.
Harriet Chalmers Adams in the Gobi

Photo: National Photo Company/Public Domain

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Ahead of their time

Although climbing mountains, documenting exotic lands and traversing some of Mother Nature’s most extreme landscapes might not be considered gender-exclusive activities today, they were once very much the endeavors of men only — well, men and a select handful of tenacious women who saw beyond their prescribed societal roles and just went out and did it.

We’ve rounded up eight notable female adventurers of the 19th and early 20th centuries who blazed the trail, sometimes literally, for their modern counterparts. Because this list is just a primer on the topic, we may have left out an early female explorer you hold in high esteem, so please tell us about her in the comment section. And be sure to check out our separate roundup of pioneering female aviators and astronauts. (Text: Matt Hickman)