Arctic Adventurer Makes History, Is Still 'Gutted'

Preet Chandi sets record, though misses goal of crossing the continent in 75 days
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2023 12:28 PM CST
'Polar Preet' Makes History, Is Still 'Gutted'
Preet Chandi.   (YouTube/British Army)

Preet Chandi wanted to inspire others to push their boundaries and she's certainly done that, despite failing to complete her goal of becoming the first woman to cross Antarctica solo and unsupported. "I'm pretty gutted that I don't have the time to complete the crossing,” the British Army officer, who hoped to complete the 1,100-mile trek in 75 days, said in an update Thursday. There's a silver lining for Chandi, however, as she's nabbed the world record for the longest solo and unsupported polar expedition by a woman, per the BBC. The 33-year-old recorded 868 miles, 10 more than 32-year-old German mountaineer and explorer Anja Blacha recorded in 2020.

Dubbed "Polar Preet," Chandi previously made history as the first woman of color to reach the South Pole in a solo and unassisted trek in January 2022. It took 40 days. This time around, she reached the South Pole, just under 700 miles into the trip from Hercules Inlet, at day 57, giving her only 18 days to reach the end point of Reedy Glacier. "I could have finished at the South Pole but I thought about all the reasons I wanted to do this journey and wanting others to push their boundaries. So I'll continue to push mine and do as much as I can in the time I have left," she wrote in a Jan. 9 blog post, per the Derby Telegraph. On Thursday, day 66, she announced she'd run out of time.

"I know that I have done a huge journey, it's just difficult while I'm on the ice and I know it's not that far away," she wrote. Pulling a heavy sled, she skied up to 15 hours a day (with four hours spent melting snow for drinking and cooking, she had roughly five left for sleeping) but failed to record the daily distances she would've liked. She described wind in her face "for the first 700 miles," as well as poor visibility and temperatures as low as -58 degrees. As of Thursday, she was about 30 nautical miles from her pick-up point. Listening to voice messages from friends and family helped to keep her spirits up, she said. On social media, admirers applauded her efforts. "You have inspired millions of people," one wrote. (More world record stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.