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Ann Bancroft

Ann Bancroft
Ann Bancroft in 2006, holding a journal she kept on a trip to the Arctic
Born (1955-09-29) September 29, 1955
Mendota Heights, Minnesota
Residence Scandia, Minnesota
Alma mater University of Oregon
Occupation Explorer, teacher, author
Known for First woman to trek to the North Pole

Ann Bancroft (born September 29, 1955) is an American author, teacher, and adventurer. She was the first woman to successfully finish a number of arduous expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. She was inducted as honorary member of the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • References 2
  • Further reading 3
  • External links 4


Ann Bancroft grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota.[2] She described her family as one of risk takers. It is reported that she struggled with a learning disability, but nevertheless graduated from St. Paul Academy and Summit School. Bancroft was a camper and staff member at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan. Bancroft became a wilderness instructor and a gym teacher in Minneapolis (at Clara Barton Open School) and St. Paul.

She gave up her teaching post in 1986 in order to participate with the "Will Steger International North Pole Expedition". She arrived at the North Pole together with five other team members after 56 days using dogsleds. This made Bancroft the first woman to reach the North Pole on foot and by sled.

She 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.[3] In 1993 Bancroft led a four-woman expedition to the South Pole on skis; this expedition was the first all-female expedition to cross the ice to the South Pole.[4] In 2001, Ann and Norwegian adventurer Liv Arnesen became the first women to ski across Antarctica.[3]

Her achievements led to her induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame for the United States.

She currently co-owns an exploration company, Bancroft Arnesen Explore, with Liv Arnesen. In March 2007, Bancroft and Arnesen were taking part in a trek across the Arctic Ocean to draw attention to the problem of global warming. However, according to The Washington Post, the expedition was called off "after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment."[5]

Bancroft also received a number of other awards and honors. She is an out lesbian[6] and in 2006, she publicly campaigned against a proposed amendment to the Minnesota Constitution to prohibit any legal recognition of marriages or civil unions between members of the same sex.[7]


  1. ^ Women of the Hall. "Ann Bancroft - National Women's Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  2. ^ "'"Explorer Ann Bancroft Plays 'Not My Job. NPR. June 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Senator Amy Klobuchar". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  4. ^ "Ann Bancroft - Speaker Profile". Retrieved 2012-07-21. 
  5. ^ Condon, Patrick (2007-03-12), "Frostbite Ends Bancroft-Arnesen Trek",  
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Bonnie (2000), "Lesbian histories and cultures", Encyclopedia of lesbian and gay histories and cultures (Taylor & Francis) 1: 253,  
  7. ^ McCallum, Laura (25 March 2004), "Opponents rally against gay marriage ban", Minnesota Public Radio, retrieved 24 December 2010 

Further reading

  • No Horizon is so Far: An Extraordinary Journey across Antarctica. Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen. Da Capo Press. 2003. ISBN 0-7382-0794-2

External links

  • Explorer Ann Bancroft Plays 'Not My Job' - NPR Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, June 26, 2010
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