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The expedition

Two trucks, two veterans, one world record attempt: Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) is about to embark on an expedition in Chile to set a new world altitude record with its renowned HX trucks.

Together with expedition leader Matthias Jeschke, Briton Chris Bailey and Australian Paul Warren will attempt to reach the highest point on Earth for wheeled vehicles, on Chile‘s Ojos del Salado mountain.

Chris and Paul are army veterans who have faced serious obstacles in life and have successfully overcome them. They are now tackling this new challenge with the same energy and determination. Unforgiving terrain and tough climate conditions await them on their way to surpassing a high point of at least 6,690 m. A bold adventure which will take both man and machine to their limits.

Follow the RMMV High Altitude Truck Expedition on this site and on Twitter , LinkedIn and Instagram with the hashtag #trucksummit.

16th November 2017

Highcamp Atacama HC1

Further acclimatization walks and scout tours to check the conditions at Highcamp HC2 and the surroundings as well as preparations of the rock path.

Chris Bailey:
"Well, what an emotional and physical rollercoaster, the past two days have been. Myself and Paul have reached high camp Atacama, and the continuous cold and wind has taken its toll on both of us, my bladder and ankle have had enough and are in need of some rest, and Paul’s leg isn't coping well with the continuous cold and wind. We have both successfully acclimatized, but are now looking forward to a couple of days recovery in Copiapó, so that we can both continue with the expedition.
Chris & Paul"

14th November 2017

Change base camp Laguna Verde to high camp Atacama HC1

After a difficult drive the whole team has reached high camp Atacama (HC1). The expedition crew set up their camp in icy winds. Matthias Jeschke: "The extremely fine sand goes everywhere: into every pore, ear, nose, tent, sleeping bag, and so on. Outside temperature at sunset: 4°C. The team is sending kind regards."

13th November 2017

Preparation of the trucks for change base camp Laguna Verde to high camp Atacama HC1

Chris Bailey:
"Hi all, well what an amazing few days here in the Andes. The weather has been reasonably kind to us, the worst part of it is the relentless wind, and below freezing conditions. We have been based here at Laguna Verde 4,345 m for the past few days, and have also gone to Atacama camp 5,200 m and completed two acclimatization walks.
The trucks and the team are preforming well and personally I feel we are all strong and ready to go for the first goal of constructing a refuge shelter in the region of 6,100 m. I would like to thank you all for your support and following us all on this incredible expedition.
Roman, Clover, Noah daddy loves you loads and I am thinking about you every second you’re all amazing."

Paul Warren:
"We seem to be progressing really well as a team in difficult conditions as you can see from the photos. Chris Bailey from the UK and I have worked together really well. The altitude of camp Atacama at 5,200 m and below freezing conditions overnight have been quite tough on the battery life of my leg. I need to keep one charged and change them every few days. All is well though and we look forward to finalising the acclimatisation over the next few days. Chris and I look forward to speaking to our families and resting for a few days before coming back and attempting the record."

12th November 2017

Base camp Laguna Verde - scout tour to the HC1 Atacama

Today at 08:00 hrs the team started for a scout tour from the basecamp at Laguna Verde, driving up to the HC1 Atacama, which the team reached after a difficult driving experience at 14:00 hrs.. Numerous penitents ice fields blocked the way and the team had to find our way around them, sometimes leading through glacier riverbeds.

Directly after reaching the Atacama camp, we split up into 3 groups: one part of the team absolved an acclimatization training at Highcamp HC1 level. Another part of the team absolved an acclimatization training by hiking up a hill to approximately 5,350 m twice.

"The third part joined me driving up to 5,950 m and climbed to more than 6.000 m, to check the conditions at Highcamp HC2 and the surroundings", Matthias Jeschke reports. "After an exhausting 16 hours day in high altitude we brought back infos about very difficult ice and snow conditions above HC2. Finally we already today congratulate Mr. Franz Xaver Weigl in the names of Wolfgang and Florian Weigl, and of course also of the whole team, to his 89th birthday tomorrow, with best wishes from the Atacama desert."

11th November 2017

Base camp Laguna Verde

As the team was in very good shape, they were able to use the 11.11. as a day to rest (no hikes) and prepare a testdrive to an altitude of 5,300 m. All vehicles were checked again, partially unloaded, or load was shifted to other vehicles. Refuelling was necessary and the tyre pressure of the Amaroks was reduced to 1.5 bar, of the trucks to 2.5 bar.

In parallel Wolfgang Weigl gave his first lesson in building the rescue huts, which lasted on hour, so that the team is well instructed, when the real set up will take place. These kind of lessons will be repeated twice.

Chris and Paul report from their first days of acclimatization

Paul Warren:
"The next camp for us is Laguna Verde at an altitude of 4,345 m. The landscape is really amazing here, but conditions are testing, it is quite windy and temps drop down to -7°C overnight. We have been waking up through the night with headaches as our bodies adjust. The team takes our blood pressure and oxygen levels every morning to make sure we are ok to move up over 5,000 m tomorrow. This is far more testing than I had imagined, but my family remains my motivation to succeed."

Chris Bailey:
"So we are now five days into our acclimatization and are now set at an altitude of 4,345 m at our base camp for the expedition Laguna Verde. The conditions are extreme and the weather changes significantly at night. This really hasn’t been easy so far and we are moving to 5,300m tomorrow and the wind chill, plus the temperatures are going to be constantly below freezing. This really is a test of man and machine, and so far all the team are in good spirits, the trucks are performing well and I and Paul are giving it our all to succeed. Massive hugs to my amazing children. Dad loves you loads."

10th November 2017

Base camp Laguna Verde and acclimatization walk 4

Besides organizing things in the camp, today the team took a three hours acclimatization hike.

left: Hiking tour at Laguna Verde I right: Camp at Laguna Verde (Photo: M. Bosetti)

HX expedition trucks in action

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. 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.

9th November 2017

Arrival at Laguna Verde and building base camp

After a cold night, on Wednesday, the 8th November 2017 the team was split in two groups. The reason was that some team members still showed significant signs of high altitude sickness. This group stayed in the camp to absolve a light adaptation training, while the other group was trekking for five hours up to an altitude of 4.200m.

All by high altitude sickness affected team members showed no symptoms any more on 9th November 2017 and all members showed a blood oxygen saturation of 94 to 96 %. Thus, the team was able to move from 3,800 m to the next level of altitude in 4,300 m: the basecamp at Laguna Verde.

It takes its time to disassemble a complete outdoor camp for 14 persons, consisting of small tents, a team tent, toilet etc., loading it onto trucks and rebuilding it at the next destination. The team actually needs five hours for the two procedures, everyone is giving a hand. All members help each other to optimize the process. This deserves a TOP* classification for the team.

All this takes so much more power and effort in comparison to normal altitudes. Trying to walk to the toilet at normal speed would result in running out of air after 10 steps. Considering this, one can imagine what an effort it is taking down tents, loading boxes, securing load on the trucks, venting diesel barrels, climbing up and down on trucks 20 times etc. Matthias Jeschke reports: "Sometimes it just makes you dizzy getting up from a sitting position. Even just getting into the truck cabin without strong wind is exhausting. Considering quite normal things like going to the toilet, one should not forget that at such high consumption of drinking water, this takes place almost on an hourly base, at night very frequently 4 or 5 times. At actual night temperatures of -5° to -7° C the air humidity is condensing and freezing on the inside of the tent, which generates snowfall on sleeping bags and air mattresses, when opening the tent. It’s not much fun!

Personal updates by veterans Chris and Paul via satellite phone

Chris Bailey:
"Hello all, what an amazing adventure so far. The landscape is brutal but stunning and the temperature differences are crazy. So far the acclimatisation is going very well but the conditions are difficult all the time. I have had to dig deep on a number of occasions but the team spirit and ethos has always carried me through. So Wednesday was a acclimatising walk at 3,800 metres, the terrain was very uneven and constantly twisting my ankles, breathing was increased and pain intensified in my ankles and back, I had to be recovered from the hill, but can say I am feeling much better today thanks to a good rest and the support from the team. I would love to send a massive hug to my three amazing children and can’t wait to see you. Many thanks to everyone for their continued support."

Paul Warren:
"The first few days here in Chile have been amazing, but also tough. The team we have has plenty of experience and works really well together. The first peak we climbed on foot up to 3,800 m was so steep, I wasn’t sure I could even get up there. As a team we all made it up together though. The altitude leaves you breathless and with headaches at times, but my body seems to adjust after a while. I really miss my family, but I want them to see that this isn’t impossible for me. On to the next few days and an altitude of 4,200 m."

8th November 2017

Laguna Santa Rosa - First high-altitude acclimatization phase

The team is about 200 km east of Copiapó in Laguna Santa Rosa at a height of 3,800 m above sea level and started their second the high-altitude acclimatization hike. This means to prepare and adapt the bodies for the coming altitudes of more than 6,000 m above sea level. Already Tuesday the team took a hike of several hours from our Camp in Juntas Las Vegas at about 3,000 m above sea level. Moving in this altitude, combined with drinking at least 3 to 4 liters per day is absolutely necessary for high altitude acclimatization, especially as it is one of the topics of the expedition, to reach the targets of the expedition without the use of additional oxygen systems.

Actually, the first couple of team members show the temporary symptoms of the adaptation of their bodies to high altitude life. That is e.g. headaches, weakness, stomach problems, tiredness and feeling extremely cold. After about 1.5 years of planning and preparation the most exciting and also most exhausting phase of the project has begun.

"I and all involved persons send our cordial thank you to all partners for the extraordinary good and trustful cooperation in all aspects of the expedition", expedition leader Matthias Jeschke reports.

Kind regards from Matthias Jeschke and the team. They will be back shortly with the next update, but first they have to reach the next level of height of 4300 m above sea level, the base camp Laguna Verde.

JP & The high altitude challenge (Part 2)

PS professional Jean Pierre Kraemer, well known from the German TV series "PS-Profis", meets Matthias Jeschke, who with his two Rheinmetall MAN trucks wants to beat the altitude record for vehicles in South America.

7th November 2017

Vegas des las Juntas

The team took the first high-altitude acclimatization hike of several hours from their camp in Juntas Las Vegas at about 3,000 m above sea level. In the afternoon departure to Laguna Santa Rosa at 3,800 to set the camp there.

JP & The high altitude challenge (Part 1)

PS professional Jean Pierre Kraemer, well known from the German TV series "PS-Profis", meets Matthias Jeschke, who with his two Rheinmetall MAN trucks wants to beat the altitude record for vehicles in South America.

6th November 2017

From Copiapó to Vegas de las Juntas

Finally, following final preparations extending late into the night, the 14-person expedition team from 5 nations set out in the morning from Copiapó into the Atacama, the driest desert on the planet, with the two Rheinmetall MAN Trucks and the three accompanying vehicles in the direction of Ojos del Salado. During the first stage of the journey, local journalists accompanied the convoy. After only a short drive, the vehicles left the paved road behind, heading along washed out stream beds in the 35° C heat to a cluster of derelict shepherd’s huts at Vegas de las Juntas, some 3,000 meters above sea level. After several stops to vent the diesel drums, the team gathered at their objective for the first stage of the trek in the late afternoon. They immediately began setting up camp. An acclimatization hike was the next order of business, marking the official start of the forthcoming two-week acclimatization phase.

From Santiago to Copiapó

The two Rheinmetall MAN Trucks and the three accompanying vehicles (MAN TGM and VW Amaroks) were transferred from Santiago further north into Chile to Copiapó, where the final loading took place. On board of the top-of-the-line-trucks are stowed lots of expedition equipment, Diesel, food and 1600 liters of drinking water.

5th November 2017

The trucks arrived safe in Chile, were picked up from the San Antonio port and transferred to Santiago. Now final preparations are conducted and the trucks are being loaded with expedition equipment, fuel and food. Not only the trucks and accompanying vehicles are prepared at their best. Every team member is highly motivated and totally focused on the common success of the expedition. The care, respect and fairness for each other which developed among the team within the last days, can be felt by everyone and welds the team together.

The team is looking forward to start the expedition today.