"You are capable of anything you want."
Captain Harpreet Chandi, a 32-year-old Indian-origin British Army officer has become the first woman of colour to complete a solo unsupported trek to the South Pole.
Harpreet Chandi, also known as Polar Preet, announced her feat on her live blog on January 3, 2022, at the end of Day 40 after travelling 700 miles.
While pulling a sledge with her equipment, Captain Chandi battled temperatures of -50°C and wind speeds of up to 60mph.
In a blog post, Harpreet wrote: “I made it to the South Pole where it’s snowing. Feeling so many emotions right now.
“I knew nothing about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here.
“It was tough getting here and I want to thank everybody for their support.”
The British Army officer added: “This expedition was always about so much more than me.
“I want to encourage people to push their boundaries and to believe in themselves, and I want you to be able to do it without being labelled a rebel.
“I have been told no on many occasions and told to ‘just do the normal thing’, but we create our own normal.”
Captain Chandi uploaded a live tracking map of her trek and also posted regular blog posts of her journey to the snow-capped region.
In the final entry of her blog, she wrote: “Day 40 – Finished.
“You are capable of anything you want. No matter where you are from or where your start line is, everybody starts somewhere.
“I don’t want to just break the glass ceiling; I want to smash it into a million pieces.”
As part of a Medical Regiment, Chandi’s primary role is to organise and validate training for medics in the Army as Clinical Training Officer.
Currently based in London, she is completing her master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Medicine at Queen Mary’s University.
Captain Chandi dragged around two large tyres over the past few months for her polar training as a substitute for the sledge she has been dragging along in Antarctica.
A day before reaching her milestone, she wrote:
“It definitely feels colder in the last degree where I’m at higher altitude.
“I haven’t seen anyone here in the last degree and now I’m 15 nautical miles from the South Pole.
“I can’t believe I’m almost there.”
She also used her time in Antarctica to think about her wedding plans for when she returns to England, having been engaged to Army reservist David Jarman before setting off on her expedition.
The couple is expected to reunite in Chile when she returns from the South Pole in late January 2022.
In a post shared to her live blog, Captain Chandi sent an invitation to her friends in which she asked them to be her bridesmaids.
She wrote: “I love you all and would love you to be my bridesmaids. I think at least three hen do’s are required. That’s normal right?
“But even if it’s not normal that’s never been anything to stop me.”