“On my way,” is how Captain Harpreet Chandi, a.k.a. Polar Preet, kicked off her mission to become the first woman of colour to complete a solo, unsupported trek to the South Pole.
The 32-year-old officer and physiotherapist jet off from Heathrow airport over the weekend and has promised to chronicle her journey along the way.
“Heading to Chile where I will meet all of my kit and equipment that I sent by air freight a month ago. I’ll be there for just over a week before heading to Antarctica!!!”
Polar Preet will be travelling 700 miles while pulling a pulk or sledge with all of her kit, battling temperatures of minus 50 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of up to 60mph. Writing on her online blog, she notes that the journey will take approximately 45-47 days during which she plans to upload a live tracking map for people to be able to follow her daily voice blogs.
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She notes: “I want to take as many of you as possible on this journey with me so I hope you enjoy following.”
Currently based at a Medical Regiment in the north-west of England, Chandi’s primary role is to organise and validate training for medics in the Army as Clinical Training Officer. She is completing her Masters degree in Sports and Medicine, part time, at Queen Mary’s University in London and has been using two large tyres as a substitute for the heavy sledge she will be dragging along in Antarctica for her polar training.
“Antarctica is the coldest, highest, driest and windiest continent on earth. Nobody lives there permanently. I didn’t know much about the continent when I first started planning and that is what inspired me to go there,” she explains.
“Hopefully doing something that pushes me so far out of my comfort zone will inspire others to believe in themselves and push their boundaries. There are only a few female adventurers that have completed a solo, unsupported trek on this continent. It is time to add some more names, diversity and to make history,” she says.
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Chandi has always been keen to push the human body to its limits and sees her latest mission as part of this wider research.
As an "endurance athlete", Chandi has run marathons and ultra- and, as an Army officer, completed large scale exercises and deployments in Nepal, Kenya and most recently a six-month United Nations peacekeeping tour to South Sudan.
“My training expeditions in Greenland and Norway have helped prepare me and my goal is now in reach,” she declares.
*Follow on her journey