Australian teen youngest in history to ski to South Pole
MELBOURNE schoolgirl Jade Hameister has cemented her name into the record books after becoming the youngest person in history to ski to the South Pole.
The 37-day, 600km Arctic trek through one of the world's most brutal climates saw the 16-year-old smash a host of world records, including becoming the first Australian woman to complete the expedition unassisted and unsupported.
Jade told the Herald Sun from the South Pole the achievement had yet to sink in.
"It was so special, but it doesn't seem real yet," she said.
On the evening of the 10th Jan 2018 (morning of 11th AEST), we finally arrived at Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole after an epic 37 day journey from the Amundsen Coast via a new route through the Transantarctic Mountain Range. In doing so, my 1,300km journey on skis dragging a heavy sled to the frozen ends of the Earth chasing my Polar Hat Trick dream (North Pole, Greenland and South Pole) is now complete. Whilst these adventures were never about breaking records to me, over time I have learnt of the few I have broken along the way. In arriving at the Pole today (aged approx 16 and 7 months), I now have the privilege of being: The youngest person to ski coast to South Pole (unsupported and unassisted). The first woman to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole. The first Australian woman to ski coast to South Pole (unsupported and unassisted). The youngest person to ski to both Poles. The youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick. And the honour of being part of the first all-Australian team to set a new route from the coast to the South Pole. My guide, Eric Philips said this was the toughest trip in terms of weather conditions in his 25 years of polar guiding. The wind and extreme cold was relentless and brutal. So many stories, so many memories. I cannot thank the incredibly fun team I shared this journey with enough and everyone back home for your support. Here’s to a hot shower and some real food! #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic
Speaking via satellite phone, Jade said the trek was much harder than she ever expected.
"I kept thinking - who am I, why do I have the right to do this?"
Jade and her all-Australian team battled "horrific head winds" and temperatures that dropped below -50C.
Even the teams experienced guide said the expedition was one of the toughest he'd ever experienced.
"It was brutal - I thought what have I gotten myself into," Jade said.
But Jade said the key was to block out "the little voice in her head that said I couldn't do it," she said.
"I had to push through and keep positive," she said.
The Hampton teenager also became the first woman in history to ski a new, uncharted route - a feat she only realised part way through her journey.
"I don't even care about the other records, that was the best one," she said.
Jade's latest triumph is the final step in a record-breaking challenge she set herself almost three years ago.
At just 14-years-old, Jade vowed to become the youngest person the complete the Polar Hatrick: the North Pole, Greenland crossing and South Pole.
And at 7pm local time, at the age of 16-years-old she made good on that promise.
"I definitely doubted myself ... but I got there and I'm proud," she said.
Only 20 women have previously completed the trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted.
Jade will fly back to Melbourne via Chile in the coming days before beginning her next challenge - VCE.
Jade said she was looking forward to "the beach, summer and friends" upon her return.