Equipment damage, frostbite end latest Bancroft-Arnesen North Pole trek

Veteran polar explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen have ended their attempt to trek to the North Pole because of equipment damage and frostbite, they announced Monday.

The pair set out last week on what was intended to be a 530-mile trip across the Arctic Ocean. But frostbite to three of Arnesen's toes, coupled with the damaged gear, led them to call off the trek on Saturday.

Bancroft, 51, of Scandia, Minnesota, became the first woman to cross the North Pole on a 1986 expedition. She and Arnesen, 53, of Oslo, Norway, were the first women to ski across Antarctica in 2001.

On Monday, they were at Canada's Ward Hunt Island, awaiting a plane to take them to Resolute, Canada, where they were to return to Minneapolis later this week, reports AP.

Their latest trek got off to a bad start. The day after they began, a plane landing near the women hit their gear, punching a hole in Bancroft's sled and damaging one of Arnesen's snowshoes. The women repaired their equipment and continued on, but later decided the repairs were not sufficient.

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