A British Army doctor hopes to become the first woman to make a solo, unassisted interior crossing of Antarctica.
Captain Preet Chandi, also known as “Polar Preet”, made history by becoming the first woman of color to hike solo to the South Pole in January.
The 33-year-old from Derby will now return to the mainland for Stage 2 of her expedition after covering 700 miles in 40 days.
Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest continent containing 90% of all ice on Earth.
Announcing the news in an Instagram post, the physiotherapist said, “I wanted to show that no matter where we come from, no matter what we look like, we can achieve anything we want.”
“I want to inspire others to push their limits and encourage them to believe in themselves. I want to break that glass ceiling!” she added.
The trip is due to take place in October and will last around 75 days, involving traveling over 1,000 miles, pulling a pulka (sled) full of kit, while battling -50C temperatures and winds of up to 60 mph.
Completion of the expedition will make “Polar Preet” the first woman to cross the continent solo and unaided.
Captain Chandi first applied to Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE), the company that allows these expeditions to take place after training in Norway and Greenland. When her first application was rejected due to lack of experience, she created Phase 1 – a 700 mile solo expedition to the South Pole.
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She said: “Looking back I’m glad it was rejected the first time around, the reality is I didn’t have the experience at the time.
“A no or a rejection doesn’t have to be the end of your story or a final answer, it can be an opportunity.”
The Ministry of Defense gave the army officer a public launch for her first Antarctic expedition and she was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on the anniversary queen 2022.
Historically, women haven’t had the opportunity to venture into Antarctica as often as men, let alone solo expeditions, and this space was once considered a male space, allowing men to “continue companionship and the masculine adventure they enjoyed during World War II”. ‘.
Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica in 1935.