1st African-American woman to reach North, South Poles begins another expedition

Barbara Hillary
Photo credit Barbara Hillary

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – The first known African-American woman to reach both the North and South poles is getting ready for an expedition to Mongolia – and she’s undertaking the feat at 87 years old.

Barbara Hillary leaves for Mongolia on Feb. 25 and will be staying there for a couple of weeks. She says she has a long list of things she’d like to accomplish while she’s there.

“One of the things I’d like to do is spend some time with the reindeer people,” Hillary told 1010 WINS. “I’d like to learn the culture, because the people there are in a transition because of technology and how fast the world is moving.”

She says she’s also speaking at a Mongolian school, spending a day with an all-female team of Kazakh rug makers and meeting a woman who excels in falconry, the hunting of animals using birds of prey.

“It’s exceedingly rare for a woman to exceed in this area, so I’ll spend some time with her,” Hillary said.

Hillary reached the North Pole at the age of 75 in 2007. She subsequently reached the South Pole in January 2011 at the age of 79, becoming the first African-American woman to reach both poles on opposite ends of the Earth.

Hillary, who now lives in Queens, grew up in Harlem and had to learn how to ski in her 70s before her adventure to the North Pole.

She’s also a two-time cancer survivor, defeating both breast and lung cancers in addition to her trailblazing expeditions.

A camera crew, write and guide will be with Hillary as she heads to Mongolia. You can follow her expedition by going to her website barbarahillary.com.