She Aims to Be First Woman to Cross Antarctica Solo, Unsupported


Summer is approaching in the Southern Hemisphere—and Captain Preet Chandi, a medical officer in the British Army, will be having the most un-summery summer possible. The 33-year-old physiotherapist has begun a trek of more than 1,100 miles across Antarctica, aiming to become the first woman to complete the journey solo and unsupported, People reports. This isn’t her first snowdeo: In January, she became the first woman of color to make it to the South Pole solo and unassisted. Her training for that 40-day journey included 27 days on Greenland’s ice cap and crevasse training in the French Alps, as well as many days of dragging a heavy tire behind her to prepare for pulling a sled, or “pulk,” laden with supplies, reports CNN.

Chandi, nicknamed “Polar Preet,” set off from Hercules Inlet on Monday and hopes to reach Reedy Glacier within 75 days, the BBC reports. She is expected to face temperatures as low as -58 Fahrenheit and winds up to 60mph—all while pulling a sled that weighed 264 pounds at the start of her journey. She has been chronicling her progress on her blog. “A bit of a rough day,” she wrote on Wednesday. “There was a whiteout today so I couldn’t see anything in front of me which doesn’t help when you’re trying to ski around the sastrugi which are the wind shaped ridges. I can really feel the weight of my pulk but I know after each meal the pulk gets slightly lighter.”

“My aim for this expedition has always been to inspire people to push their boundaries,” Chandi said last month, per the Derby Telegraph, her hometown paper. “I want to bring people on this journey with me, to help them believe that nothing is impossible.” She added: “I want my 11-year-old niece to grow up without boundaries, knowing the possibilities of what you can achieve in life are endless.” Chandi, who is on unpaid leave from the military, is raising funds for charities including Khalsa Aid, which provides disaster relief worldwide. She is also raising funds for what she describes as “an adventure grant for females conducting unusual challenges.” (Read more Antarctica stories.)

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