Women in the Outdoors

You are probably familiar with the story of Sacagawea and her role in the Lewis & Clark Expedition. You might remember Lynn Hill’s first free ascent of The Nose on Yosemite’s El Capitan. Maybe you followed Stacey Allison as she worked towards becoming the first American woman to summit Everest in 1988.

But have you heard of Edith “Jackie” Ronne or Arlene Blum?  How about Annie Smith Peck or Samantha Larson? Susan Ershler, Bonnie Prudden? Does the name Fanny Bullock Workman ring a bell?

These women all contributed to the world of outdoor adventure and as a salute to U.S. Woman’s History Month (March), I thought we’d re-visit their stories.


Dream big! Photo: M.Kopp


A few of America’s amazing outdoor women:

  • Edith “Jackie” Ronne (1919-2009)- An American explorer, she was also the first woman in the world to be a working member of an Antarctic expedition.
  • Samantha Larson (b. 1988) – Youngest woman to complete the Seven Summits at age 18 in 2007.
  • Bonnie Prudden (b. 1914) – a pioneering rock climber with 30 confirmed first ascents in the Gunks (the Shawangunk Mountains in the state of New York).
  • Susan Ershler (b. 1956) – the first married female to climb the Seven Summits with her husband.
  • Annie Smith Peck (1850-1935) – summited numerous U.S. peaks before climbing the Matterhorn in 1895 and several South American peaks in her 50’s.
  • Arlene Blum (b. 1945) – the first American woman to attempt to summit Everest.
  • Fanny Bullock Workman (1859-1925) – an American mapmaker and mountaineer who set numerous records climbing in the Himalayas.

Who would you add to this list?

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