Teenage polar explorer serves trolls a sandwich on South Pole trek

Jade Hameister trekked to the North Pole at age 14.

Jade Hameister trekked to the North Pole at age 14. Photo: Paul Hameister

Teen adventurer Jade Hameister may have only recently returned from her 37-day journey to the South Pole, but her next big challenge is about to begin.

That challenge, Jade said, was knuckling down for Years 11 and 12 at school.

“It’ll be tough sitting in a classroom,” she told ABC Radio.

The Melbourne schoolgirl, 16, is now the youngest person to complete the polar hat-trick, having reached both the North and South poles as well as crossing Greenland.

It is just the latest record for the young adventurer, who at 14 became the youngest person to ski to the North Pole from outside the last degree.

“I’m not really fussed about the records as much as they’re cool to have,” she said.

“For me it’s just the experience and the environment that no one else really gets to see.”

So what’s this about a sandwich?

In 2016 Jade gave a TEDx talk in Melbourne aimed at inspiring young women to ignore societal pressures and to think adventurously.

“What if young women around the world were encouraged to be more, rather than less?” she said in the talk.

“What if the focus shifted from how we appear, to the possibilities of what we can do?”

Among the commenters on the talk’s YouTube video were several men saying “make me a sandwich”, a catchphrase used by male internet trolls to mock women by implying they should stay in the kitchen.

“Just as a laugh, we had this kitchen in a tent at the South Pole and I made a ham and cheese sandwich,” Jade said.

She walked a kilometre from the camp to the South Pole for a photo of her holding the sandwich, which she posted on social media with the comment:

“I made you a sandwich (ham & cheese), now ski 37 days and 600 kilometres to the South Pole and you can eat it.”

No distraction

Jade said the trek taught her a lot, including how to deal with pain and fatigue.

“A lot of the time when you’re struggling you try to just zone out, I think, and make time go as fast as it can.”

Normally she would tune out by listening to music but her music player stopped working on the ninth day.

“I had 28 days, almost 300 hours, of just the voice in my head and that was probably one of the hardest parts of the trip because I didn’t have that distraction.

“I think when you’re really struggling there’s a lot of negative messages that your head is telling you and that can make it really hard.”

The adventure was partly funded by National Geographic, which will release a documentary of her journey later this year.

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