On Top of the World

Lucy Roberts, Caroline Hamilton, Pam Oliver and Zoe Hudson were given a hero's welcome at London's Heathrow Airport after completing their trek to the North Pole. AP Photo/David Cheskin

On this day in 1997, the first all-woman expedition successfully reached the North Pole. The group, comprised of 20 British women and two professional female guides from the United States and Canada, made the 620-mile trek across pack ice in relay style. The team was split into five groups of four women, and each team completed its designated leg of the six-week journey. Professional guides Matty McNair and Denise Martin made the entire trip. Upon nearing their final destination, the ecstatic last group ran the remaining stretch and planted the British flag into the ground. McNair documented the experience in her 1999 book "On Thin Ice: A Woman's Journey to the North Pole." The history-making trek came 11 years after Ann Bancroft became the first woman to travel across the ice to the North Pole. She and five male teammates successfully achieved the feat in 1986.