Preet Chandi, a physiotherapist with the British Army, has set out to become the first woman to cross Antarctica solo and unsupported.
Chandi — also known as Polar Preet — began her Antarctica expedition on Monday, the trekker announced in her blog. The 33-year-old dedicated the first blog post of her official journey to her Baba ji (granddad), who passed away a few years ago after almost reaching 100 years old.
The British trekker will be traveling over 1,100 miles unsupported while carrying around 120 kilograms (approximately 265 pounds) of supplies on her pulk (sled). During the expedition, Chandi is expected to battle temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and wind speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Although Chandi said she has not set a specific target yet, she expects that it will take up to 75 days to complete her Antarctica expedition.
“It’s important to be smart. I can’t afford to rush it. Consistency is really important,” Chandi told the British Army in October.
“I don’t know what the ground or the weather will be like. If there’s lots of heavy snowfall it will slow me down. I need to hit the South Pole by a certain point to give me enough time to go down and navigate the glacier.”
Chandi is expected to descend Reedy Glacier during the final leg of her expedition.
“It’s a technical aspect that wasn’t part of the South Pole trek, getting down a glacier with my pulk,” she was quoted as saying. “I’ll also need to try to avoid the crevasses there or be very careful crossing them, as I’m on my own.”
In January, Chandi made history as the first woman of color to reach the South Pole solo and unsupported in 40 days.
“The British Army is extremely proud to have such a remarkable ambassador. Captain Chandi embodies the qualities we seek of all who serve – courage, commitment, and the want to be the best we can be,” Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Sharon Nesmith, said in a statement.
“We wish her the very best on her latest attempt to write a new chapter in the history books. I will be following her progress with admiration and pride.”
Chandi grew up in an Indian Sikh community in England and joined the British Army when she was 19 years old, a move that “raised eyebrows” within her community, she told CBS News.
In her July 28 blog entry, Chandi, who studied at Derby University in England, shared that she is the first person in her family to obtain a university degree.
In her latest blog entry, Chandi shared some inspiring words, saying, “Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. … We’re often discouraged from pushing these boundaries, I definitely was and ignored the people who told me I couldn’t do it which got me the label as being a rebel.”
“You dont [sic] have to want to do a polar expedition, I understand that’s not for everyone,” she continued. “I didn’t even know anything about the polar world until two and a half years ago. You can do whatever you want, everybody starts somewhere.