What You Missed: Preet Chandi Completes Antarctic Expedition

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British army officer Preet Chandi, 32, has completed her expedition to reach the South Pole solo on skis.

Chandi, who is of Indian descent and Sikh faith, reached the earth’s southernmost point on January 3, completing the 700 miles from Hercules Inlet in just 40 days. She set off on the adventure on November 24, pulling her belongings and food in a sled that weighed 192 pounds.

Documenting her journey via voice recordings uploaded to a website, Chandi said that “it feels so surreal” to have finally completed her trek.

“I made it to the South Pole, where it’s snowing,” Chandi said on January 3. “Feeling so many emotions right now.”

The expedition was meant to inspire others to push their boundaries, regardless of their ethnicity or background, said Chandi. While other women have completed solo expeditions in Antarctica—Brit Felicity Aston crossed the continent in 2018—she believes she is one of the first women of color to do so.

Chandi battled whiteout conditions and windblown sastrugi throughout her endeavor, and her audio updates described Antarctica’s extreme climate, as well as her own daily struggles. She slept very little due to the cold and winds, even though she made faster progress than she anticipated. In each update Chandi dedicated her daily progress to a friend or family member.

Her trek was also a fundraising effort to create an annual adventure grant for women.

“No matter where you are from, where your start line is, everybody starts somewhere,” Chandi said in her most recent voice recording. “I don’t want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces. Who’s with me?”

Climbers Lost in 2021

Our colleagues at Climbing compiled obituaries for 31 members of the international climbing community who died last year. They ranged in age from 21 to 91, and while some succumbed to old age or COVID-19, others perished while pursuing the activity they loved.

One of those profiled is Californian Giselle Field, 28, who was a mainstay of Arizona’s rock-climbing community as well as a skilled alpinist who marked first ascents in Peru, Alaska, and California. Just ten days before her death, Field and her husband, Derek, completed a rare ascent of 18,504-foot Destornillador’s southwest ridge, in Peru’s Cordillera Carabaya. She died in a rappelling accident on July 14 after notching the first ascent of a previously unnamed rock tower that she and her husband named Kawri Orcco, which in Quechua means “monster peak.”

Dropping In

Get pumped for powder by watching freeskier Nikolai Schirmer hit this line in Lyngen, Norway. 

 

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