British soldier achieves new record as the fastest female to complete a solo crossing of Antarctica on skis.

Capt Harpreet Chandi is thrilled after completing a 1,130km journey across the Antarctic ice in 31 days, 13 hours, and 19 minutes. The British army medical officer has become the fastest woman to ski alone across Antarctica, breaking her third Guinness world record for polar exploration. Chandi surpassed the previous record holder, Caroline Cote of Canada, by one day, 14 hours, and 34 minutes.

Starting from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne ice shelf on November 26, Chandi reached the South Pole at 2:24 am UK time on Thursday. While the record still requires verification from Guinness World Records, Chandi expressed her exhaustion but immense satisfaction in accomplishing the feat. She acknowledged the difference between her previous expedition and this speed attempt, emphasizing the challenge it posed. However, having proven her resilience on the ice during her previous journey, Chandi approached this endeavor with confidence.

During the solo expedition, Chandi skied an average of 12 to 13 hours per day while pulling a 75kg sledge containing all her essential supplies for survival. Careful consideration of her effort and duration of skiing each day was necessary to prevent burning out or missing out on breaking the record. Chandi described Antarctica as an extraordinary place that demands respect and humility, expressing gratitude for the safe passage it granted her.

In the face of harsh conditions such as blistering sun, whiteouts, and temperatures as low as -30°C, Chandi focused on controlling her response. While she couldn’t control the external circumstances, she believed in her ability to navigate them by taking it one step at a time.

Currently taking a career break from military service as a physiotherapist providing rehabilitation for injured soldiers and officers, Chandi continues to make history. Previously, she became the first woman of color to complete a 700-mile solo and unsupported journey to the South Pole. In subsequent trips, she broke two additional world records, including the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski expedition. Chandi’s remarkable achievements were recognized with an MBE and the title of woman of the year at the Women in Defence awards in 2022.

Despite not anticipating a return to Antarctica this year after her previous records, Chandi found herself dreaming up new challenges. She sees her expeditions as not only personal endeavors but also sources of inspiration for others to face their own boundaries. Chandi hopes to motivate and encourage individuals to push beyond their limits and overcome obstacles. She plans to recover and then embark on her next adventure.

“We all know what happens when I say ‘never again’,” Chandi remarked with a hint of determination and excitement.

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