British Army captain becomes first woman of color to complete solo expedition in Antarctica

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Jan. 4 (UPI) — A British-born Sikh officer in the British armed forces on Monday became the first woman of color to complete a solo expedition of Antarctica.

Capt. Harpreet Chandi, a physiotherapist, posted a photo of herself on social media after completing the 700-mile trip.

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The 32-year-old made the journey in 40 days, documenting the trip on her Instagram account.

Chandi had to fight through sickness along the way, temperatures dropping to minus 58 degrees F and wind speeds of up to 60 mph.

She received congratulations from the British government upon completing the journey.

To prepare for the trip, Chandi completed at 27-day expedition in Greenland, battling conditions she referred to as “like travelling through a marshmallow.” She also underwent crevasse training in the French Alps.

Her expedition began Nov. 7, when Chandi first flew to Chile. She then tackled Antarctica’s Hercules Inlet. Along the way, she hauled a sled weighing close to 200 pounds, which held the requisite equipment, fuel and food to last for roughly 45 days.

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In 1994, Norwegian cross-country skier Liv Arnesen became the first woman to complete a solo-encounter across the Antarctic. Without support, Arnesen skied 745 miles and reached the South Pole in 50 days.

As the first woman of color to complete the feat, Chandi said she hopes to inspire others to break barriers.

“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 don’t want to just break the glass ceiling, I want to smash it into a million pieces,” she wrote on her blog on Day 40.

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