British Army Officer 'Polar Preet' aims to become first woman to cross Antarctica solo and unaided

·2-min read

A British Army medical officer hopes to become the first woman to complete a solo and unsupported inland crossing of Antarctica.

Captain Preet Chandi, also known as "Polar Preet" made history when she became the first woman of colour to complete a solo trek to the South Pole in January.

The 33-year-old from Derby will now return to the continent for phase 2 of her expedition after trekking 700 miles in 40 days.

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest and driest continent containing 90% of all the ice on Earth.

Announcing the news in an Instagram post, the physiotherapist said: "I wanted to show that no matter where we are from, no matter what we look like, we can achieve anything we want."

"I want to inspire others to push their boundaries and encourage them to believe in themselves. I want to break that glass ceiling!" she added.

The journey is due to take place in October and will be approximately 75 days, involving travelling over 1000 miles, pulling a pulk (sled) full of kit, while combatting temperatures of -50C and wind speeds of up to 60mph.

Completing the expedition will make "Polar Preet" the first female 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 a lack of experience, she created phase 1 - a 700 mile solo expedition to the South Pole.

Read more on Sky News:
British army officer becomes first person to reach the South Pole on foot in two years

Parts of Antarctica gained ice in last 20 years after two decades of significant loss

She said: "When I look back, I'm glad it was rejected the first time around, the reality is that I did not have the experience required at the time.

"A no or rejection does not have to be the end of your story or a final answer, it can be an opportunity."

The Ministry of Defence gave the army officer a public launch for her first expedition in Antarctica and she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2022 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Historically, women haven't had the opportunity to venture to Antarctica as often as men, let alone solo expeditions, and it was formerly seen as a masculine space, allowing men to 'continue the male companionship and adventure they enjoyed in the Second World War'.

Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica in 1935.

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