Melbourne teen Jade Hameister smashes another icy record

By Josephine Sargent 2 August 2017
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Jade Hameister has trekked into the history books for the second time – all before celebrating her 16th birthday – after a successful crossing of Greenland, the second largest ice cap on the planet, against the odds.

ABOUT HALFWAY into her 550km attempt to become the youngest woman to cross Greenland, nursing blistered feet and coping with dehydration and sunstroke, it seemed Jade Hameister was going to have to give up on her dream of making it before her 16th birthday.

The team had set out with just 30 days’ worth of food and fuel. Unseasonably warm conditions meant that slushy, sticky ice made for slow going as they hauled their heavy sleds. By day 14 they had only covered 200km in their attempt to complete the second chapter of Jade’s three-part Polar Quest that began in April 2016 with a record-breaking ski to the North Pole for which she was named the Australian Geographic Society’s Young Adventurer of the Year.

“We sensed at that point that our guide had some doubts about us making it by day 27,” says Jade. “I wanted to make it by that date to finish aged 15 – on June 4, the day before my birthday. When my dad realised how important this was to me, we promised each other to put in the hard yards to make it by then, with longer days and skiing harder and faster to cover more distance.”

Jade Hameister

Jade at the 2016 Australian Geographic Awards.

Jade says one of the biggest challenges in Greenland was, surprisingly, the heat. They had prepared for much colder conditions and their feet sweltered and cooked in their -100C graded boots.

“On these trips, you’re always struggling and always in pain,” she says. “But I’d been through it before on our North Pole trip and knew it was going to be hard – I never thought about giving up and going home.

“The aches and pains were everywhere in my body. One night I made a list of everything that was sore and it filled a whole page, from my head to my toes.”

Through sheer grit and hard work, Jade Hameister completed the Greenland crossing aged 15 on June 4 2017. She is now focussed on the final leg of her Polar Quest: a Christmas coast to South Pole expedition, unsupported and unassisted, via a new route which covers 650km of freezing mountainous terrain with just 40 days of food and fuel, departing on 3 December 2017.

If successful, this will make her the first Australian woman to achieve this feat unsupported and unassisted, and the youngest person (male or female) in history.

South Pole is going to be the biggest and the hardest and the coldest,” Jade says.

Her message to other young women dreaming of adventure is: “We need to shift our focus from how we appear to exploring the possibilities of what we can do. Don’t wait until you think you can do something perfectly. Just get started and  have a go,” she says.

HEAR Jade Hameister tell her amazing tale among other female adventurers at the Australian Geographic Society Women in Adventure event on August 31 at the Museum of Sydney. For tickets and more information, click HERE.