Author(s): Jade Hameister
Fourteen-year-old Jade Hameister had a dream: to complete the Polar Hat Trick. In 2016, she skied to the North Pole. In 2017, she completed the Greenland Crossing. In 2018, she arrived at the South Pole. This is the story of an adventurer who never gave up - who set herself incredible challenges beyond her years and experience. An adventurer who endured extremes of cold and blizzards; tackled treacherous terrain where one wrong step could be fatal; struggled through sastrugi, ice rubble and emotional lows to achieve an extraordinary goal. Along the way, she made a sandwich for online trolls, inspired young people, and made international headlines.
*The youngest person to ski from the coast of Antarctica to South Pole unsupported and unassisted
* The first Australian woman in history to ski coast to Pole unsupported and unassisted
* The first woman to set a new route to the South Pole
* The youngest to ski to both Poles
Teen explorer Jade Hameister fulfilled a dream to be the youngest person to complete the Polar Hat Trick - and did it all within 21 months. Aged just 14, Jade skied to the North Pole in 2016. Then in June last year she completed the 550km crossing of Greenland and in January 2018 she skied 600km from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
This remarkably driven young woman was a fighter from birth, overcoming a series of breathing difficulties in her first seven months. She comes from a family of achievers and adventure is a regular part of their lives. At age 6 (her brother was 4) the family climbed Mt Kosciuszko, Australia's highest peak, and when she was 12 the family hiked to Everest Base Camp. Her father Paul has completed the Seven Summits (the highest mountains on each of the seven continents) and helped facilitate her Polar Hat Trick by accompanying the team who included leader Eric Philips and a National Geographic photographer.
I am in awe of Jade's achievements and her willingness to share some of her darker thoughts and challenging moments in her enthralling autobiography. She stressed out over toilet time privacy, with 3 men always close by, no trees to hide behind and a very limited amount of toilet paper. She had to pull almost twice her body weight in brutal, minus 50-degree centigrade temperatures. Christmas lunch in Antarctica was the same as every other day - noodles, crackers and a chunk of frozen salami. But that night they feasted on chocolate, Tim Tams and Milo! Sharing a tent with Dad meant she had to constantly rise above bickering over the essential chores. On a few occasions utter mental exhaustion and incredible pain made her nearly give up, but the stigma of failure and sheer bloody-mindedness made her "dig deep" and battle through negative thoughts.
Jade is passionate about young women realising their dreams and the effects of climate change, and she includes lots of facts about the polar regions. Her TEDx talk, which is included, focuses on her conviction that young women should feel empowered enough to shift their focus from how they appear to the possibilities of what they can do. With this remarkable feat behind her, Jade now has to contend with what she calls the "overview effect" when you realise how small we all are within the infinite universe - as well as finishing year 11 at school in Melbourne!