Jade Hameister is only 16 years old, but she’s already seen some remote parts of the world that the majority of us will only ever see in a picture or on a screen.
The teenager from Melbourne, Australia, recently completed the third part of the Polar Hat Trick, a challenge which includes skiing to both the North and South Pole and skiing across Greenland’s largest icecap. To celebrate the enormous feat she posed in front of the South Pole with a ham and cheese sandwich—it was a message to all her haters.
When she was 12 years old she became inspired by two women she met while at Everest Base Camp.
Arrived in Kangerlussuaq in Greenland this morning!! There's a heat wave here (8-10 degrees!) which means there's lots of melting snow and mud and dirt… Not quite as picturesque as Copenhagen 😉 #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #natgeotv #natgeotvau #natgeopeople #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicexplorer @natgeo @natgeoau
In 2016, Jade set out to accomplish the first of three grueling expeditions.
“The travel was complicated and the days were physical and arduous,” she wrote on her website.
But on April 4, after 11 difficult days, the teenager successfully completed the 93-mile trip across the floating Arctic sea ice to the North Pole. Upon completion she became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole outside of 89 degrees.
She completed her first Arctic trip when she was just 14 years old.
We did it!! After another long day we finally found the North Pole in the middle of a massive compression zone. Eric Phillips my guide told me on our arrival that I am the youngest person (male or female) in history to ski to the North Pole from as far out as 88'40 (150km). He said it is also the longest journey to the North Pole by any woman on the planet in the last two years! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience one of the most incredibly beautiful and unique places on the planet. I could not have done it without Eric as my guide – thank you Eric. Thank you also to my mum and dad and brother for your support. Thank you also to Petter Nyquist @nyquistpetter for working so hard as our cameraman for the NatGeo documentary due for release later this year. I am so grateful for everyone's support on this journey. We are waiting to hear, but I think we are sleeping at the Pole tonight and will fly back to Barneo then Longyearbyen tomorrow. Then we start planning our Greenland Crossing!! #expandpossible #chasingsanta#jadesquest #natgeotv #natgeotvau#natgeopeople #nationalgeographic#thepolarhatrick #polarexpedition#thebigthree #likeagirl#girlsmakeyourmove #northpole#nationalgeographicexplorer#montaustralia #baffin @natgeotvau
Following her trip to the North Pole she gave a TEDx Talk in Melbourne. She spoke about taking risks, the hard work it took to complete her first expedition, and her desire to complete the Polar Hat Trick.
Once the video was uploaded onto YouTube there were many commenters who questioned her ability, despite her photographic evidence and her descriptions of the sometimes near-impossible terrain she and her crew had to tackle every day.
There were also many sexist comments from trolls who suggested she stick to making sandwiches.
The following year she completed part two of the Polar Hat Trick.
After today, we are 18km closer to Isortoq Hut – exactly 450km to go in a straight line (but unfortunately we won't be traveling in a straight line because of crevasses and other obstacles). It was a tough day today into a cold headwind. My blisters are still hurting and I didn't drink enough yesterday so was a bit dehydrated. Feeling really exhausted and sore and 450km left seems such a long way to go, but I don't want to wish it away too soon! #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #natgeotv #natgeotvau #natgeopeople #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicexplorer @natgeo @natgeoau
In the middle of 2017, Jade set out once again, this time she crossed Greenland’s largest icecap unassisted and unsupported. After completing the nearly 342-mile trip she became the youngest woman in history to complete the trip, dragging a sled weighing over 176 pounds.
Every day the teen battled extremely harsh conditions, and despite suffering from frostbite after a few particularly difficult days, she completed the trek in less than a month.
In December 2017, Jade and her team set out on their third expedition.
Day 3: I woke up at 4am this morning to the tent being smashed by strong winds. I sleep on the upwind end of the tent and when I checked my vestibule, all my gear that was in there was buried under snow drift! We spent the day skiing uphill and straight into a brutal head wind, where had to basically yell to communicate with each other. The wind made it feel like we were skiing on the spot and not making any progress (hitting the sleds and making them feel even heavier). Every break for a drink or something to eat was quick and very uncomfortable. We managed to cover 18km, leaving camp at 8.30am and arriving into our new camp site at 6.30pm. It was a long and challenging day but we made good progress again. We are now approaching the Transantarctic Mountain Range and the scenery is mind blowing! #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic
A few weeks before Christmas, Jade embarked on the final leg of her Polar Hat Trick challenge.
Jade’s guide, Eric Phillips, told National Geographic that their journey was extremely difficult.
The team constantly battled the elements.
Day 14: When all you want for Christmas is a sleep in… Another challenging day today, but we still managed to cover 20.1km. We were moving through sastrugi all day, which was like skiing on a choppy ocean that had been frozen in time. Our skis were sliding and stopping on hard ice ridges and our sleds kept catching on them. This was just the warm up as we know from aerial images of our route that there is much bigger sastrugi fields between us and the South Pole. The day started off with the sun out and no wind like yesterday. It stayed like this for most of the day, other than the last session when it became overcast. We now have 366km to go. We have had big discussions over the last day or so about fuel. Antarctica is the largest source of fresh water on the planet but it’s all frozen solid so we need fuel to run our stoves to melt the snow for drinking water and to hydrate our meals. As our expedition is receiving no resupplies by air we have to carry all our fuel for 40 days and make it last. We left with 38 litres of fuel for 40 days, allowing 190ml per person per day (5 members of our team). After 12 and a half days we had 25.5 litres remaining. This means we have had to cut back on our usage a bit to give room for error at the end. Feeling ready for week 3 of the expedition to start tomorrow! The time has gone super quickly already and I feel the next couple of weeks will go by even quicker. #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic
“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,” he said. “The expedition was saved by our own persistence, resilience, and utter determination.”
At one point with roughly 100 miles until they reached the South Pole, Jade began questioning herself. In the end she realized she wanted to complete the expedition more than anything.
The third journey was extremely difficult and caused Jade to doubt herself.
Day 27: Normally by the end of the second session we have covered over 5km. Today, by the same time, we had only covered 4.4km. It doesn’t sound like a big difference but if this keeps recurring it means we fall behind our target distances and the expedition becomes under threat (especially with more forecast bad weather in the next few days that may have us stuck in our tents). Yes the wind was howling in our faces, the snow was sticky making the sleds feel even heavier, it was about 40 below, I lost all the feeling in my fingers and toes and we are at 3000m above sea level… but none of these were the reason for our poor performance. I was. I was dragging my feet and letting negative self-talk affect my performance. I copped it a bit from the men when I got to the break, but I deserved it. Eric said I’d reached my personal “crux” (the moment where I had to decide how bad I wanted it). We ended up finishing the day having covered 18km (our original target), with now 161km to go. I want it bad. #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic
After 37 demanding days, Jade and her team finally made it to the South Pole. To celebrate she took a few photos in front of the ceremonial South Pole marker, but one picture stood out from the rest.
“Tonight (it never gets dark this time of year) I skied back to the Pole again … to take this photo for all those men who commented ‘Make me a sandwich’ on my TEDX Talk,” she wrote on Instagram. “I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600 km to the South Pole and you can eat it.”
Jade celebrated her accomplishment with a photo directed towards her haters.
We spent this morning cleaning out our sleds to be ready to fly out to Union Glacier tomorrow morning (depending on weather). Then we skied over to the Ceremonial South Pole (probably the Pole that everyone knows as the only South Pole – the barbers Pole with the flags) and the actual Geographic South Pole (which moves around 10m each year), which is marked separately. In the afternoon we were given a tour of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. It is seriously as close to what a Base on another planet would be like than anything else on the planet – a mini-town based around the scientific work of the National Science Foundation. Tonight (it never gets dark this time of year) I skied back to the Pole again… to take this photo for all those men who commented “Make me a sandwich” on my TEDX Talk. I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600km to the South Pole and you can eat it xx #bravenotperfect #expandpossible #climatechange #jadesquest #thepolarhatrick #northpole #greenland #southpole #makemeasandwich #nationalgeographic #nationalgeographicapp @natgeo @natgeoau @australiangeographic
The teen told CNN that the sexist comment had a been an ongoing joke during the trip, and once they discovered their camp was less than a half-mile away from the pole, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
“There’s been a lot of comments on it, which I didn’t really expect, but I guess it’s just kind of funny,” she said.
As for what the teen explorer plans on doing in the future, she says she plans on finishing “Year 11 and 12.”