Our girl, Jade Hameister, is the youngest person in history to ski the almost impossible Polar hat-tick of the North Pole, Greenland Ice Shelf and The South Pole at the age of 16. She reached the Amundsen Coast via a new route through the Transantarctic Mountain Range after a massive 37-day journey.
Jade, Australia’s youngest and now one of our most accomplished explorers, is the second generation of Australian polar adventurers in her family. By completing the ‘polar hat-trick’ Jade has recently joined the world’s elite group of Arctic and Antarctic conquerors.
The three-tiered challenge involves skiing around the North Pole, across Greenland’s largest icecap and trekking around the South Pole.
Jade completed the 600km trek on skis, whilst dragging a 100kg sled across the rugged, treacherous frozen landscape of the Antarctic.
Image: Jade and her team
Jade is 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. She is also a part of the first all-Australian team to set a new route through the Antarctic. Jade and her team named several features of the Glacier after Australian icons and upon their return, will apply to the US Geological Society to make them official, including two previously un-named peaks - now Old Mate and His Mate, Opera House Ridge, Anzac Steps and Blue Tongue Crevasse Field.
According to Jade’s guide, Eric Phillips, the journey was one of the toughest trips he has faced this year with harsh winds and extreme temperature drops hampering their progress across the ice.
“Weather plays an enormous role in the progress and ultimate success of a South Pole expedition. This season’s weather is the worst I have seen on a polar expedition and we had unusually strong and persistent wind, whiteout, blizzards - conditions that could have thwarted the trip. The expedition was saved by our own persistence, resilience and utter determination” Philips explains.
Unlike most Australians, Jade welcomed the New Year with dehydrated beef stroganoff and freeze-dried Cinnamon Rice pudding after a19km trek. And let's not even mention her Christmas Dinner which was spent in minus 50 degree weather in a tent.
Day 21: My first white Christmas! (Christmas Day today in Antarctica) By far the weirdest Christmas I’ve had... The day started off with Ming in the tent filming the wake up at 6am (I am not a morning person), then a present from my family and a couple of cards. We had 20 minutes extra this morning, so after opening the present and cards, the tinsel was down and we were back into our normal morning routine. But then things went South from there (haha). Just before I was about to leave the tent to pack my sled I got a big blood nose. Aside from the delay, it meant I used heaps of my valuable and limited toilet paper! I then spent from 9am until 5pm suffering the most extreme weather conditions of the trip so far with stomach cramps and dangerous pee breaks in the cold and wind we had today. It is so obvious to me now why only 20 women in history have done a coast to South Pole expedition (especially when the rest of your group are grown men). The wind and snow drift were howling and we managed only 13.1km. I ate Christmas lunch today from a bag (my normal lunch bag), while sitting in a bag (thin material to protect from the wind) on a mat on the ground in the middle of Antarctica. I also ate instant noodles with a dry biscuit I used as a spoon. What did everyone else have for Christmas lunch? (Don’t actually answer that) We have just had dinner (dehydrated beef bourguignon) and then we will head to the other tent to give presents and share a special desert we brought with us (Cadbury chocolate Santa’s ??)... #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic
“It was my first white Christmas! I started the day with a present from my family as well as a couple of cards and then it was straight back into the usual routine. It was a really hard day with extreme weather conditions and I realised why only 20 women have made this journey before” says Jade.
Jade’s sense of adventure was awakened when her and her family spent some time at the Everest Base Camp, as a 12-year-old.
As Jade explains on her website, she is passionate about shifting the focus for young women from how they appear to the possibilities of what they can do and also about raising awareness about the impact of climate change on the Earth's beautiful and fragile polar regions.
“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. “ Jade posted on her instagram.
And what does she plan on doing as soon as she gets back to Australia?
“A hot shower and some real food! “
Jade's Quest to the Ends of the Earth is available on National Geographic from Sunday October 18th