British teen becomes youngest to ski to South Pole

9th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Amelia Hempleman-Adams, a 16-year-old schoolgirl whose father was the first Briton to reach the South Pole solo 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 would be too heavy.

She did take some 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, before flying back to Punta Arenas in southern Chile on Saturday.

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 teenage adventurer said she was looking forward to a hot shower.

She said: "It's really blue skies, just white all around and it's quite windy still -- and really cold."

© 2011 AFP

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