Rheinmetall is acting as the main sponsor for an ambitious world altitude record expedition. Two Rheinmetall MAN HX trucks are aiming to break a maximum altitude record for vehicles by climbing to an altitude of 6,690 or more metres. The objective is to reach the crater edge on the Ojos del Salado, the highest active volcano in the world at 6,890 m, located on the border between Chile and Argentina in South America. Based on the Rheinmetall MAN series, a few sections of the vehicles are equipped with special parts which are essential to handle the altitude, extreme environmental conditions and steeply inclined volcano slope with a largely cobbled surface.
The core Rheinmetall team comprises an extreme sportsman and off-road expert Matthias Jeschke and two armed forces veterans, Paul Warren (Australia) and Chris Bailey (UK). The challengers need to reach a height of 6,690 m to set a new world record. After a year's planning, Matthias Jeschke and his 14-man team from five different countries are fully prepared for the journey from both a technical and physical perspective. Besides unpredictable weather conditions, the greatest challenge will be temperature fluctuations and the thin mountain air. The team set off from Copiapó in Chile on 6 November.
The trucks are loaded with two mountain refuges, which they will transport to heights of 6,150 m and 6,500 m, where the refuges will then be erected for mountain climbers. These refuges will also be considered the highest construction project ever, setting a new world record for construction at altitude.
Key info about the expedition
Expedition period: 6 November to around 20 December 2017
Vehicles: Rheinmetall MAN 40M 4x4 and Rheinmetall MAN HX 58 6x6
Tyres: Alliance/Bohnenkamp A 390 - 650-55-26.5
Chain systems: Grizzly/K-Metall anti-skid chain and special chain system
Protective clothing & team equipment: Mike Bosetti/Q-Jeans expedition clothing
Vehicle adaptation: Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicle, MAN prototype construction, Extrem Events
Local team: 14 people
Project & expedition management: Matthias Jeschke – Extrem Events
Expedition area: Atacama Desert, Northern Chile; Ojos del Salado volcano – 6,893 m
Minimum goal: construction of the two highest refuges in the world at 6,150 m and 6,500 m
Further goal: reaching the subsidiary summit at 6,690 m and setting the overall world record for all wheeled vehicles
Maximum goal: gaining the highest point accessible in wheeled vehicles on the upper crater of the main summit at 6,700 m plus
Temperatures: -25 C to 35 C
Ground conditions: lava rock, volcanic sand, snow, ice
Acclimatisation phase: up to 15 days