Thursday, April 18

Preet Chandi becomes the first woman of color to ski alone at the South Pole | Antarctica

Preet Chandi, considered the first woman of color to complete a solo journey through Antarctica, has finished her expedition to the South Pole nearly a week ahead of schedule.

Chandi, or “Polar Preet,” endured temperatures of -50 ° C while skiing 700 miles across Antarctica in 40 days, seven hours and three minutes, narrowly missing out on setting a new world record for a woman for the trek.

He finished just behind the time set by Johanna Davidsson of Sweden, who finished in 38 days, 23 hours and five minutes in 2016.

Chandi, 32, is now the third fastest solo skier on the expedition behind Davidsson and Britain’s Hannah McKeand, who posted a time of 39 days, nine hours and 33 minutes in 2006.

He is also the first person to reach the South Pole on foot in two years.

Chandi, a British Army physiotherapist living in Derby, said it was surreal to reach her goal: “I got to the south pole where it’s snowing. I am feeling so many emotions right now. I didn’t know anything about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here. It was difficult getting here and I want to thank everyone for their support.

“This expedition was always much more than me. I want to encourage people to push their limits and believe in themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labeled a rebel.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where your starting line is, everyone starts somewhere.”

In addition to the freezing temperatures, Chandi withstood wind speeds of up to 60 mph and battled fades while pulling a 90kg sled through sastrugi, parallel wave-shaped ridges on hard snow caused by winds.

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He also suffered from exhaustion towards the end of the trip, as well as persistent coughing and nausea.

Departing on November 24 from Hercules Inlet, Chandi aimed to complete her journey in 45 days, carrying enough rations for 48 days. In the end, he finished five days ahead of schedule, covering an average daily distance of about 17 miles.

He spent years training for the trek, having previously completed a 27-day expedition on the Greenland Ice Sheet and participating in ultramarathons, including the grueling Marathon des Sables across the Sahara.

Chandi said she hoped her trip would inspire youth, women and people of minority ethnic origins. Speaking to The Guardian during her training for the walk, she said that people did not expect an Asian woman to try such an effort.

“I am an Asian woman; I am not the image that people expect to see out there, ”he said. “People say that the outdoors is for everyone and yes, it is. But if you come from a community that is not involved at all, or you don’t see anyone who looks like you doing it, it can be very difficult. “

After completing the hike, she plans to establish an adventure grant to help more women fund expeditions in what is often a male-dominated field.

“I have been told ‘no’ many times and to ‘do normal,’ but we create our own normality,” he said. “You are capable of anything you want.”

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