Harpreet Chandi, known to the world as Polar Preet, has etched her name in the annals of polar exploration with a feat as audacious as it is inspiring. The 34-year-old British Sikh woman has claimed the record for the fastest solo ski across Antarctica, completing the grueling 1,130 km journey in a remarkable 31 days, 13 hours, and 19 minutes.
This isn’t Chandi’s first brush with polar history. In 2021, she became the first woman of color to complete a solo, unsupported journey to the South Pole. This time, however, she pushed her limits even further, braving treacherous crevasses, unforgiving weather, and the immense mental and physical strain of isolation to achieve this record-breaking speed.
Chandi’s journey began at Hercules Inlet, West Antarctica, on November 19, 2023. Pulling a 75kg sled laden with supplies, she navigated across vast, unforgiving ice plains, battling temperatures as low as -30°C and whiteouts that disoriented and tested her resolve.
“This was completely different to my last expedition,” Chandi said upon reaching the finish line at the South Pole. “I completely pushed myself to my limits on my last expedition, but a speed attempt is completely different. It’s about maintaining pace, fuel efficiency, and making sure you’re recovering properly so you can keep going.”
Chandi’s achievement is not just a personal triumph, but a testament to the power of human resilience and the unwavering spirit of adventure. Her journey has shattered barriers and inspired countless individuals, proving that with determination and grit, anything is possible.
Beyond the Record: A Beacon of Inspiration
Polar Preet’s story transcends the realm of athletic feats. She is an advocate for diversity in exploration and a role model for young girls, especially those from minority communities, who often face underrepresentation in traditionally male-dominated fields like polar exploration.
“I hope my journey can inspire others, especially young girls and people from minority backgrounds, to believe that anything is possible,” Chandi said. “If you set your mind to something and are willing to work hard, you can achieve it, no matter what obstacles come your way.”
Chandi’s record-breaking feat is not just a mark in the snow; it’s a beacon of hope and inspiration, reminding us that the human spirit can overcome even the most formidable challenges. Her journey across the vast, unforgiving landscape of Antarctica is a testament to the power of perseverance, courage, and the unwavering pursuit of dreams.