Most 16-year-olds sit through a day of classes. Jade Hameister from Melbourne, Australia, on the other hand, has made history several times, most recently by completing a 1,300km (373 mile) stretch – dragging a heavy sled along the way – in just 37 days. Hameister became the youngest person and first Australian woman to ski to the South Pole – unsupported and unassisted – the youngest person to complete the Polar Hat trick (North Pole, Greenland and South Pole), and was part of the first all-Australian team to set a new route from the coast of the South Pole.
Hameister posted a picture each day of the trip on her Instagram page. She endured extreme conditions throughout the trip: braving 40-below weather, skiing through harsh winds and a blizzard, losing 15 pounds from the physical work, using a mobile bathroom, and going over 40 days without a shower. On day 15, Hameister described how she persevered through fog and other difficulties, despite tears rolling down her face.
“Dad was telling me we had to move and all at the same time I had a stabbing pain in my hip and felt like I was about to throw up. I don’t know how I did it, but we made it to the other guys about 30 minutes later and then set up camp,” the post reads. “When I got there it was all really weird – I couldn’t see out of my goggles because they had fogged up, I had a ringing in my ears, I couldn’t feel my fingers and toes and my whole chest and face was covered in wet snow. Today was the second day I ended sobbing and I seriously cannot imagine a harder day than this one.”
Adventure already ran through Hameister’s blood at the young age of six, when she took a trip to the top of Australia’s highest peak, Mt. Kosciuszko, with her dad. She also completed a trek to the Everest Base Camp at 12 years old, her website states. After this trip, she developed the idea for the Polar Quest that she recently completed. She became the youngest person in history to ski from the North Pole from anywhere outside the Last Degree. Due to this achievement, the Australian Geographic Society recognized Hameister as the 2016 Young Adventurer of the Year. National Geographic documented her journey in a short-length film, and will release a full-length documentary this year.
While many families may have eaten homemade meals for Christmas and New Year’s, Hameister ate instant noodles with a biscuit spoon, dehydrated beef stroganoff, and freeze-dried cinnamon rice pudding, according to National Geographic. She also became an inspirational speaker through a TedxTalk in August 2016 and presented at ImagiNATION in 2017.
She also described how the trip required immense mental stamina.
“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 Hameister’s expedition proves that young people and women, with enough determination, can accomplish great things. She’s an unstoppable force who has set several records even before graduating from high school, and surely will continue making new goals for the future.
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