"Don't be overprotective of me just because I'm a girl," Jade Hameister said in her TEDxMelbourne talk in October.
In April this year, Jade set a record by spending 11 gruelling days on skis, pulling a sled as heavy as herself across the bumpy ice plains that coat the very top of the Northern hemisphere of our planet. In a team of four, the expedition spanned more than 150km at temperatures plummeting to -25C.
At the age of 14, this trip has made Jade the youngest person to ski to the North Pole—already a formidable achievement, but just the first step in her ambitious three-stage plan to become the youngest person to pull off the "polar hat-trick," which means skiing to the North Pole, the South Pole, and crossing the Greenland glacier.
“Because of the many challenges you’ll face [in the polar regions] – compression sickness, dehydration, the cold – the greatest challenge of all is, probably, the mental side,” Jade told Australian Geographic. “You can deal with the cold, you can deal with being uncomfortable, but the effort required to deal with all of those at once can be mentally draining.”
Jade's hard work and record-breaking success have already garnered recognition—on 27 October she received the prestigious Australian Geographic Society's Young Adventurer of the Year 2016 medal. The organisation sponsored Jade's expedition; and one of the expedition members was filmmaker Petter Nyquist who has turned her story into a documentary film.
Don't miss Jade's Polar Dream tonight Dec 6 on Nat Geo People 7.30pm AEDT!
Jade lives and breathes adventure—she reached the top of Mt Kosciuszko with her dad Paul when she was just six years old. Her father, an experienced mountain climber, conquered Mt Everest in 2011, and a couple years later they both successfully reached Everest Base Camp.
"As a young woman, I live in a world where I'm constantly bombarded with messages to be less [..] To shrink my ambitions to fit in. To wait for my Prince Charming to come and save me. Or to avoid activities that are for boys, because I'm not strong enough or as tough," she said in her TEDx talk.
"It is so much more fun to try to be more rather than less."
Right now Jade is continuing with her rigorous CrossFit regimen to get in the best shape possible for the 540-kilometre-long skiing trek across Greenland that is scheduled to happen in April 2017. At it probably won't surprise you that she regularly updates her Instagram.