British teen youngest to ski to South Pole

A 16-year-old schoolgirl whose father was the first Briton to reach the South Pole alone and unsupported, has become the youngest person to ski to the bottom of the world.
Photo / Thinkstock
A 16-year-old schoolgirl whose father was the first Briton to reach the South Pole alone and unsupported, has become the youngest person to ski to the bottom of the world. Photo / Thinkstock

Amelia Hempleman-Adams, a 16-year-old schoolgirl whose father was the first Briton to reach the South Pole alone and unsupported, on Friday became the youngest person to ski to the bottom of the world.

She joined her adventurer dad David Hempleman-Adams on the two-week, 97-mile (156-kilometre) trek to the South Pole from explorer Ernest Shackleton's Farthest South Point, where he had to turn back in 1907.

The nine-strong party completed the journey at 0130 GMT Friday after a final 14-mile push.

"I'm really proud to have actually made it and just really happy,'' Amelia Hempleman-Adams told AFP by satellite phone from the South Pole.

"It's really exciting to be able to achieve something like this.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet that we've actually made it because it's been such a tough journey, but I'm sure it will in the next few days.

"We arrived here and we all just hugged each other and congratulated each other and it was really nice to finally get here.''

The teenage explorer took her homework with her but her father threw it out of the sledge, saying it was adding weight.

She did take some books with her _ geography, as it happens _ ``but by the time you get into the tent at night it's too late to even think about doing anything,'' she said.

Hempleman-Adams had a few hours at the pole before boarding a plane back to the Union Glacier base, near the Antarctic coast, and flying back to Punta Arenas in southern Chile on Saturday.

The teenager said the thing she was most looking forward to was a hot shower _ and seeing her schoolmates.

"I've really missed my friends and want to thank them for all their messages, which kept me going,'' she said. ``I'm most looking forward to a comfy bed, a shower and some chocolate brownies.''

Guinness World Records said the record for the youngest person to trek overland to the South Pole without the use of dogs or motorised vehicles was set by Canadian Sarah Ann McNair-Landry, who was 18 when she reached the Pole on January 11, 2005.

She made the 1,100-kilometre (680-mile) kite-assisted trip as part of an unsupported expedition led by her mother.

"At 16, Amelia could be on course to break the current Guinness World Record,'' a spokesman told AFP.

"We look forward to hearing from Amelia's party so that we can look into verifying this feat.''

Hempleman-Adams said seeing what her father's expeditions were all about had been her aim, rather than rewriting the record books.

"I didn't really do it to go out and get a record. I just wanted the experience, especially with my dad. I'm really proud to finish it,'' she said.

She spent time training in a frozen food storage facility in southwest England.

Shackleton's granddaughter Alexandra Shackleton had given Hempleman-Adams a photograph of her grandfather to take to the Pole.

The skiing feat was achieved as Britain and Norway prepare to mark the centenary of the epic race to the South Pole between Captain Robert Scott and Roald Amundsen, which ended in glory for the Norwegian and tragedy for Scott.

- AFP

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