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.
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. 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. In 2001, Ann and Norwegian adventurer Liv Arnesen became the first women to ski across Antarctica.
Her achievements led to her induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for the United States.