ICY QUEST TRULY EPIC

Plucky Aus­tralian school­girl Jade Hameis­ter was aged just 14 when she de­cided to take on ski­ing to the North Pole, the South Pole and cross­ing Green­land – an epic ad­ven­ture brought to life in a new doco

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - NEWS - SEANNA CRONIN

Tak­ing on a trek to one of the poles would be chal­leng­ing enough for any adult – one of those life goals to tick off the bucket list. But at just 14, Jade Hameis­ter de­cided she would take on not one but three epic Arc­tic and Antarc­tic ex­pe­di­tions.

The Mel­bourne school­girl, whose fa­ther Paul is an ac­com­plished moun­taineer, be­came the youngest per­son to com­plete the Po­lar Hat Trick, and cam­eras were there to cap­ture the en­tire 2000km jour­ney.

“Be­cause our fam­ily has al­ways done ad­ven­tures to­gether, with dad hav­ing climbed moun­tains, it was al­ways nor­mal for us,” she says.

“When I de­cided this was some­thing I wanted to do he said ‘well, we’ll look into it’. It’s the en­vi­ron­ments and the re­mote­ness of th­ese cold places that struck me.”

Hameis­ter’s am­bi­tious ‘po­lar quest’ in­volved ski­ing to the North Pole, the South Pole and cross­ing Green­land, the sec­ond largest po­lar ice cap on the planet.

“I didn’t know how to ski go­ing into th­ese ex­pe­di­tions,” she says. “I spent a cou­ple of days in New Zealand learn­ing how to ski and that was the start for me.

“Then we spent four days on the Tas­man Glacier pulling sleds and sleep­ing in tents, and I was put in a crevasse and I had to get my­self out.”

Hameis­ter and her fa­ther were ac­com­pa­nied by a cam­era­man or woman on each leg of the chal­lenge.

“Our ex­pe­di­tions were un­sup­ported and unas­sisted, so we couldn’t get re­sup­plies,” she says.

“We had to carry all of our food and fuel from the start. All of our sleds were heavy loaded; mine was 90kg at the start of the South Pole.

“Ev­ery­one had their own stuff to deal with, at some point I couldn’t ask them for help be­cause they were go­ing through their own things.”

Hameis­ter wasn’t al­ways happy about hav­ing a cam­era in her face as she strug­gled against the el­e­ments dur­ing her four months on the ice, but she’s happy now to have her treks on film.

“It was bit­ter­sweet hav­ing a cam­era per­son fol­low you around ev­ery­where,” she says. “It was the best and worst of times when I was caught on cam­era.

“I said yes (to the doc­u­men­tary) be­cause it was a good dis­trac­tion hav­ing the cam­eras there. You have so much time to think out there.

“Nor­mally I would have mu­sic to use when things got re­ally tough, but my mu­sic stopped work­ing day three on the last ex­pe­di­tion and I had 300 hours just with the voice in my head – that drove me a bit in­sane.”

The 16-year-old hopes to raise aware­ness about global warm­ing among her peers.

“What struck me was the ef­fect of cli­mate change on th­ese places, which was some­thing I hadn’t thought much about as a 14-year-old girl go­ing into th­ese ex­pe­di­tions,” she says.

“Now that I’ve seen it first-hand, to be able to share my ex­pe­ri­ences and the footage with peo­ple, young peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar, hope­fully this can cre­ate a sim­i­lar love for those en­vi­ron­ments and they will feel like they should do some­thing about it.” Jade’s Quest: To the Ends of the Earth airs on Sun­day at 7.30pm on the Na­tional Geo­graphic Chan­nel

Jade Hameis­ter pic­tured in Antarc­tica in a scene from the new Na­tional Geo­graphic TV doc­u­men­tary Jade's Quest: To the Ends of the Earth.

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