Young adventurer takes viewers to the ends of the Earth
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.
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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
"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 amongst her peers.
"What that 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 feel will like they should do something about it."
Jade's Quest: To the Ends of the Earth airs on Sunday October 14 at 6.30pm Qld, 7.30pm NSW on the National Geographic Channel.