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Teenager becomes youngest in the world to ski South Pole

While many her age might be focusing on their studies, schoolgirl, Jade Hameister, has directed her attentions towards rather different pursuits.

The 16-year-old Melbourne teenager recently became the youngest person in the world to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted.

She also became the youngest to complete the ‘Polar Hat Trick’ – traversing the North Pole, South Pole, and Greenland ice sheet. 

Jade spoke to FEMAIL mere days after her gruelling 600-kilometre journey via a new route through the Kansas Glacier, from the Amundsen Coast of Antarctica.

Jade Hameister (pictured), 16, from Melbourne recently became the youngest person in the world to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted

Jade (pictured) spoke to FEMAIL mere days after her gruelling 600-kilometre journey via a new route through the Kansas Glacier, from the Amundsen Coast of Antarctica

Jade (pictured) spoke to FEMAIL mere days after her gruelling 600-kilometre journey via a new route through the Kansas Glacier, from the Amundsen Coast of Antarctica

According to Jade – who has now joined the world’s elite group of Arctic and Antarctic explorers – while she was always ‘adventurous’ and grew up in a risk-taking family, her own solo trips didn’t start till just a few years ago:

World records set by Jade Hameister

* The youngest person (male or female) to ski from the coast of Antarctica to South Pole unsupported and unassisted. 

* The first Australian woman in history to ski coast to Pole unsupported and unassisted. 

* The first women in history to set a new route to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted.

* The youngest to ski to both Poles.

* The youngest to complete the Polar Hat Trick. 

‘Dad climbed the Seven Summits when I was growing up, so I was always hearing and seeing pictures,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘This definitely planted a picture and ideas in my head from a young age. 

‘But the big trips for me only really started when I skied to the North Pole in 2016.’

Since then, the fearless teen has completed a trip to Greenland’s ice sheet, as well as her most recent 37-day journey to the South Pole, which saw her cover almost 600 kilometres with a sled weighing around 100 kilograms (Jade weighs just 60 herself):

‘It’s fun,’ she said. ‘Of course it’s a big challenge, but it’s something I can work towards that’s not school.’

In completing her 600km 37-day trip, Jade (pictured in her full gear) had to carry a sled weighing around 100 kilograms - she weighs just 60 herself

In completing her 600km 37-day trip, Jade (pictured in her full gear) had to carry a sled weighing around 100 kilograms – she weighs just 60 herself

On her day-to-day tripping, Jade explained she would rise every day at around 6 to reheat water and melt snow for breakfast (pictured) - before covering between 14 and 20kms

On her day-to-day tripping, Jade explained she would rise every day at around 6 to reheat water and melt snow for breakfast (pictured) – before covering between 14 and 20kms

Conditions throughout the journey were extremely windy and brutally cold making the days very difficult to get through (pictured with one of her team members)

Conditions throughout the journey were extremely windy and brutally cold making the days very difficult to get through (pictured with one of her team members)

Speaking about her day-to-day life on the trek, the 16-year-old explained that she would rise at 6am, upon which point she’d ‘reheat water from the night before and also melt snow for breakfast, which would be porridge mix, and also a hot drink’.

‘We were out of the tents by 7.40am and then packed up our sleds and camp,’ Jade continued.

‘We were moving by 8.15am for about eight or nine hours a day, covering between 14 and 20 kilometres. And then at the end of every day, we would set up camp and spend 3-4 hours melting snow for water and cooking dinner – dehydrated food.’ 

The teenager and her team started by climbing out of the Kansas Glacier, before they then had to navigate through 200km of waist high sastrugi (ridges of ice formed by the ferocious Antarctic winds), which makes progress slow and extremely exhausting.

The last 200km of the journey was on the polar plateau at around 3000 metres in elevation. The thin air around the Pole makes the effective altitude closer to 3500m.

Conditions throughout the journey were extremely windy and brutally cold making the days very difficult to get through.

'I have learned so much over the past three years about myself, the world, and how to push through pain, being uncomfortable and suffering,' Jade said (pictured: the conditions)

‘I have learned so much over the past three years about myself, the world, and how to push through pain, being uncomfortable and suffering,’ Jade said (pictured: the conditions)

'It's hard to tell yourself to keep going when you're dragging a heavy sled in -50 across ice in skis, when you can't feel your fingers or toes and still have hundreds of kms to go,' Jade said (pictured: her tent)

‘It’s hard to tell yourself to keep going when you’re dragging a heavy sled in -50 across ice in skis, when you can’t feel your fingers or toes and still have hundreds of kms to go,’ Jade said (pictured: her tent)

As the youngest person to ski from the coast to the South Pole without support and the first woman to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole through the unexplored Kansas Glacier, Jade is already an icon for women young and old around the world:

‘I have learned so much over the past three years about myself, the world, and in particular how to push through pain, being uncomfortable and suffering,’ she explained.

 It’s hard to tell yourself to keep going when you’re dragging a heavy sled in -50 across ice in skis, when you can’t feel your fingers or toes and still have hundreds of kms to go

‘You are constantly in pain and exhausted, but you just have to keep going. It’s hard to tell yourself to keep going when you’re dragging a heavy sled in -50 across ice in skis, when you can’t feel your fingers or toes and still have hundreds of kms to go.

‘But in completing this journey, I’m hoping to inspire young women to focus on what they can do rather than how they appear – and to encourage young people to focus on trying to be brave rather than perfect.’

‘I also believe that with these experiences comes a responsibility, as probably the only representative of my generation to have experience in the beautiful and fragile regions that are being affected by climate change, I feel as though I need to learn as much as I can about the issue (because I am not an expert) and play my part in preserving the planet for future generations.’

'But in completing this journey, I'm hoping to inspire young women to focus on what they can do rather than how they appear,' the 16-year-old (pictured carrying her things) said

‘But in completing this journey, I’m hoping to inspire young women to focus on what they can do rather than how they appear,’ the 16-year-old (pictured carrying her things) said

Jade explained that she has always had an adventurous streak - thanks to a risk-taking outdoors family (pictured with her tent)

Jade explained that she has always had an adventurous streak – thanks to a risk-taking outdoors family (pictured with her tent)

Jade's ambitions are typical for many girls her age - she intends to return to school and finish years 11 and 12 (pictured trekking)

Jade’s ambitions are typical for many girls her age – she intends to return to school and finish years 11 and 12 (pictured trekking)

With regards to what comes next, Jade’s ambitions are fairly typical for a teenager her age:

‘Next is finishing school and years 11 and 12,’ she explained. ‘Then, I have no idea…’.

Watch this space.

Jade began her Polar quest in April 2016 at only age 14 and became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from anywhere outside the last degree and was awarded Australian Geographic Society’s Young Adventurer of the Year. 

In June 2017, she became the youngest woman to complete the 550km crossing of Greenland, the second largest ice cap on the planet. 

To follow Jade Hameister on Instagram, please click here. You can also visit her website here.



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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