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Off-road Expedition Constructs Refuge Huts During Attempt At High Altitude Driving World Record

Posted in News on December 21, 2017
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In November of 2017 the Rheinmetall MAN High Altitude Truck Expedition constructed the world’s highest mountain refuge hut at an altitude of 6,100 meters, and another at 5,200 meters on Ojos del Salado, the world’s tallest active volcano. The shelters were constructed during the team’s attempt to set a new world record for high-altitude driving. The team set out on the November 6, 2017, equipped with two Rheinmetall MAN HX trucks. They set out to drive to highest point on Earth accessible to motor vehicles. Ojos del Salado, at around 6,890 meters, is considered the world’s tallest active volcano, and the team set out to reach a height of at least 6,690 meters.

The team was led by extreme sportsman and off-road expert Matthias Jeschke, who set the previous high-altitude world record for trucks 6,675 meters above sea level in 2017. The goal of setting a new world record for high-altitude driving was thwarted this time due to an insurmountable rock barrier and adverse weather conditions that pushed the HX 6x6 to the limit. The expedition team on Ojos del Salado in the Chilean cordillera had to turn back to base after reaching a height of 6,150 meters. “We fought our way up to a respectable altitude. But the conditions were extremely difficult, making a further ascent impossible. Trying to continue would have been irresponsible. We made the right decision. For a project like this to succeed, a multitude of factors have to coincide perfectly. The one thing we were missing was that last little bit of luck. We’re currently exploring a range of possibilities for mounting a second attempt very soon,” said Matthias Jeschke. “On behalf of the entire team, I’d already like to express my sincere thanks for the terrific support from the sponsors and to everyone involved in this ambitious project for making this possible.”

The expedition team included two military veterans, Paul Warren of Australia and Chris Bailey of the UK, whose participation was designed to drum up support for veterans’ organizations in their respective countries. “The expedition is all about performance—the performance of the vehicles, the team, and of Chris and myself as veterans. Our wounds never stopped us from going for this ambitious goal. What’s important to me is that our achievements are what matter most here, not our limitations. I’m very proud of having been able to take part in this expedition,” said team member Paul Warren. Chris Bailey added, “By taking part, we demonstrated our ambition and our ability to perform, traits which by the way characterize the great majority of our comrades, men and women alike. We’re also grateful to have been able to raise so much money for organizations that look after the needs of veterans and give them a voice in society.” Not only did the Rheinmetall MAN High Altitude Truck Expedition team construct two high-altitude refuge huts that will offer much-needed support to expeditions adventuring on Ojos del Salado for years to come, but during the ascent the HX 6x6 truck also rescued two groups of climbers at a height of around 6,000 meters.

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