Bottomless ice pits under thin layers of snow. Sharp ice ridges, like frozen waves across the land. Howling winds. Blowing ice crystals.

Jade Hameister knew her South Pole journey would be hard. But she never imagined it would be this hard. She bent into the wind. She strained to pull the heavy sled strapped to her waist. All she could do was put one ski in front of the other—one small step at a time.

Jade hauled her heavy sled into strong winds.

Jade's breath froze on her face mask.

Jade struggled to drag her sled over the ice.

Forging a Path

Jade had already completed two parts of the Polar Hat Trick. She had skied to the North Pole and across Greenland. This South Pole adventure would be the final challenge. Hardly anyone had tried to do what Jade was trying now. And she was only 16.

Jade’s team would travel, using their own muscle power. No sled dogs. No vehicles. No supplies would be airlifted to them. Everything they needed for the estimated 40 days had to be loaded onto sleds and hauled. Each sled had food, clothing, and equipment. Each sled weighed more than
80 kilograms (176 pounds).

To this, Jade and her team added one more challenge. They wanted to take anewroute to the South Pole. They studied maps and found a coast‑to-pole route. No one had ever taken it. It would go through steep terrain. They’d ski across glaciers and through mountains.

The team had to carry ​​​​​​​everything they needed.