- Bancroft, Ann
▪ American explorerborn Sept. 29, 1955, St. Paul, Minn., U.S.American explorer who was the first woman to participate in and successfully finish several arduous expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.Bancroft grew up in rural Minnesota in what she described as a family of risk takers. Although she struggled with a learning disability, she graduated from St. Paul Academy and became a gym teacher, coach, and wilderness instructor in the Saint Paul area.When an opportunity arose to participate in the 1986 Steger International North Pole Expedition, Bancroft resigned her teaching position. After 56 days she and five other team members arrived at the North Pole by dogsled without benefit of resupply. She thus became the first woman to reach the North Pole by sled and on foot. She was also the first woman to ski across Greenland. In 1992–93 she led three other women on the grassroots-funded American Women's Expedition. After successfully completing their 67-day, 660-mile expedition, they became the first women's team to reach the South Pole on skis. Bancroft's achievements have led to her induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame and several additional awards and honours.
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