16 year old girl youngest person to ski to the South Pole.
Amelia of the Antarctic
Amelia Hempleman-Adams has become the youngest person to ski to the South Pole at the age of sixteen.
On Friday (December 9) at 1.30 am Amelia reached the South Pole with her father, the adventurer, David Hempleman-Adams, after skiing 97 miles. On the final day they skied 14 miles and felt ‘elated and tired’ on reaching the South Pole.
The intrepid duo and a small team started their expedition from The Farthest Point South where Ernest Shackleton had to turn back on January 9, 1909.
Amelia spent 17 nights on the ice and endured sub zero temperatures (minus 35/minus 50 with windchill), whiteouts, 24 hour daylight and sleepless nights due to her father’s snoring.
Amelia transported to the South Pole a photograph of Ernest Shackleton and a special commemorative coin, gifts from Alexandra Shackleton, his granddaughter.
Speaking from the South Pole Amelia said, “This expedition has been an extraordinary experience. The biggest challenges were the freezing cold, dried food, pulling frozen poo in a sledge, Dad’s snoring. The best bit has been experiencing what Dad does on expeditions. It’s the first time I’ve been on a trek with him and now I know what it’s like. Would I do it again? I’ll have to think about that after a few nights sleep!”
Amelia, who attends Prior Park College in Bath, where she is studying for four AS levels, admitted she didn’t do any homework on the expedition despite her original good intentions.
“I brought a lot of homework with me but Dad took most of the books out of my sledge to ‘keep the weight down’. We set up camp early evening and by the time we sorted our kit out and had dinner I was shattered and aching. I think I’ll have a lot of homework to do over the Christmas holidays!”
Amelia, who was the youngest person in the team by several decades, admits she most missed her friends..
“I’ve really missed my friends and want to thank them for all their messages which kept me going. I’m most looking forward to a comfy bed, a shower and some chocolate brownies.”
David, who led the Nimrod expedition, was the first Briton to reach the South Pole solo and unsupported (in 1996).
He said, “Amelia has done amazingly well. I’m very proud of her. This expedition was probably the most challenging for me. I’m very protective of Amelia who is my youngest daughter. It’s one thing going off on an expedition on your own but another thing when you are looking after your own teenager daughter. Obviously, I wanted to make sure she returned to the UK with all her fingers and toes!”
“Shackleton has always been my hero and it was a special experience to share those last 97 miles with Amelia. We had the most unbelievable weather and feel Shackleton looked after us.”
Amelia left the UK on Friday 18th November, arrived in Punta Arenas Sunday 20 November, flew to Union Glacier on Tuesday 22 November where the team acclimatized. Amelia flew to the Farthest Point South on Saturday 26 November and reached the South Pole at 1.30 am on Friday December 9.