Jade Hameister, a 16-year-old skier from Australia, is now the youngest person in history to complete the Polar Hat Trick, traversing the North Pole, South Pole, and Greenland ice sheet. She reached the Amundsen Coast (where Antarctica’s sub-ice land mass meets the Ross Ice Shelf) via a new route through the Transantarctic Mountain Range this morning after a massive 37-day journey.
Jade is the second generation of Australian polar adventurers in her family. By completing the Polar Hat Trick, Jade has joined the world’s elite group of Arctic and Antarctic explorers.
Breaking Records in Risky Weather
The three-tiered challenge involves skiing around the North Pole, across Greenland’s largest icecap, and around the South Pole. Jade completed the 373-mile trek on skis, while dragging a 220-pound sled across the rugged, frozen landscape of the Antarctic.
Jade is the youngest person to ski from the Amundsen Coast to the South Pole without support and the first woman to set a new route from the Amundsen 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 Antarctica. Jade and her team named several features of the glacier after Australian icons—including Old Mate and His Mate, Opera House Ridge, Anzac Steps and Blue Tongue Crevasse Field. They plan to apply to the U.S. Geological Survey when they return to make these names official.
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.
Celebrating the Holidays in Antarctica
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Unlike most Australians, Jade welcomed the New Year with dehydrated beef stroganoff and freeze-dried cinnamon rice pudding after a 12-mile trek. Her Christmas dinner was spent in minus 58°F weather in a tent.
"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 realized why only 20 women have made this journey before," says Jade.
Jade’s sense of adventure was awakened when she was 12 years old and spent some time at the Everest Base Camp with her family. 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. She also wants to raise 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 account.
And what does she plan on doing as soon as she gets back to Australia? "A hot shower and some real food!"