Adventuring She-roes

As I plan a trip for Europe this coming summer with a friend, I see how much fun "adventuring" can be. Of course, I am no match for women who have scaled mountains or traveled to the, literally, ends of the Earth. As Amelia Earhart said "Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others." Match the woman adventurer with her accomplishment:

____ 1. The first female pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
____ 2. The first African-American woman to reach both the North and South Poles.
____ 3. The first woman to cross the ice to the North Pole.
____ 4. The leader of the first women's team to reach the summit of Denali.
____ 5. The first woman to summit the Matterhorn.

A. Annie Smith Peck
B. Amelia Earhart
C. Arlene Blum
D. Ann Bancroft
E. Barbara Hillary

The first woman to summit the Matterhorn, in the Swiss Alps, in 1895, when she was 45 years-old, Annie Smith Peck set many records during her years as a mountain climber. The fame that she achieved by climbing the Matterhorn came because she was wearing pants - not the long skirt that was the uniform for women of her day. Often having to make her own equipment, because men's equipment was not sized properly for her, she was the first to make the highest climb in the Americas, Mount Huascarán in Peru - at 21,812 feet - in 1908, when she was 58 years-old. An ardent suffragist, she planted a "Votes for Women" pennant atop Peru's Mount Coropuna when she was 61 years-old.

Quite a tomboy in her youth, Amelia Earhart fell in love with airplanes at a stunt-flying exhibition. In 1928, she became the first women to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and became famous with a ticker-tape parade in New York City and a visit to see the President at the White House. In 1932, Earhart became the first woman and second person to fly solo across the Atlantic for which she received many honors and accolades. Another first occurred in 1935, when she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii. On her endeavor to become the first woman to fly around the world, in 1937, she was lost. Earhart has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Arlene Blum is best known for leading the first American and all women's ascent of Annapurna I. She also led the first women's team up Denali and was the first American woman to attempt to scale Mount Everest. A leader in more than 20 mountain expeditions, she also hiked the entire length of the European Alps with her baby daughter on her back. Blum says "Climbing the world's highest mountains is a powerful metaphor for achieving any demanding objective. Reaching the summit requires total physical, intellectual, and psychological commitment--and yields the greatest rewards."

One of the world's preeminent polar explorers, in 1986 Ann Bancroft became the first woman to cross the ice to the North Pole. When she reached the South Pole in 1993, she became the first woman known to have reached both the North and South Poles. She is passionate about the natural world as well as teaching children. Her Foundation works to "create a world where every girl has a chance to live her dream and reach her full potential." Bancroft has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Like Bancroft, Barbara Hillary has been to both the North and South Poles. The first African-American woman and the oldest woman with that achievement, Hillary reached the South Pole at age 75 (in 2007) and the North Pole (in 2011) at age 79. The double cancer survivor (both lung and breast cancer) and retired nurse made it her mission to reach the North Pole after becoming aware that no African-American woman had yet done so. The recipient of many awards, Hillary today serves as an inspirational speaker.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. All of these adventurers are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We salute their accomplishments and celebrate their sense of adventure.

(Answers 1-B, 2-E, 3-D, 4-C, 5-A )