Preet Chandi: Army officer ‘fastest’ woman to ski to South Pole

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“Polar Preet” experienced temperatures of -30C during her solo expedition
By Samantha Noble
BBC News

A British Army officer who already holds two world records for Antarctic trekking now also claims to have become the world’s fastest woman to complete a solo South Pole ski expedition.

Preet Chandi believes she has broken a third world record by covering 1,130km (702 miles) of Antarctic ice in 31 days, 13 hours and 19 minutes.

This needs to be verified by the Guinness World Records team.

Capt Chandi, from Derby, said: “I’m tired – but so glad I made it.”

Capt Chandi was skiing for 12 to 13 hours a day on average

Capt Chandi, also known as “Polar Preet”, set off from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf on 26 November and arrived at the South Pole on 28 December at 02:24 GMT.

On average, she was skiing for 12 to 13 hours a day, pulling a 75kg sled, which contained everything she needed to survive.

“This was completely different to my last expedition,” she said. “I completely pushed myself to my limits on my last expedition. A speed attempt is different.

“After my last expedition, I knew I could cope well on the ice which gave me the confidence to tackle this head on.”

Capt Chandi said: “Antarctica is amazing and it’s an absolute privilege to be here”

Capt Chandi, who is from Sinfin in Derby, previously trekked from the Hercules Inlet to the Reedy Glacier in the Antarctic, between 13 November 2022 and 23 January 2023.

For this, she not only surpassed the world record for the longest polar ski expedition by a woman but also the overall record.

She first made history trekking to the South Pole in 2021.

Capt Chandi is on a career break from military service

She said that her latest trek “was definitely not a sprint, but I had to constantly weigh up my effort and how long I would ski for each day.

“Too long or too fast and I was going to burn out. Too slow or finish too early and I’d miss out on the record,” she said.

“Antarctica is an amazing place to be and it’s an absolute privilege to be here. It is not a place any person can conquer, it is a place you treat with respect and hope it allows you safe passage.

“I’m so glad it allowed me safe passage.

“I just focused on what I could control. I couldn’t control the conditions – the blistering sun, the whiteouts, the temperatures of -30C – but I could control how I dealt with them. I just kept taking it one step at a time.”

Capt Chandi is on a career break from military service. She is a physiotherapist at a facility in Buckinghamshire, providing rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers.

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