Expedition leader Matthias Jeschke and the two armed forces veterans Paul Warren (Australia) and Chris Bailey (UK) need to reach a height of at least 6690 m to set a new record. After more than a year of planning, they are now optimally prepared for the unpredictable weather conditions, temperature fluctuations and the thin mountain air which will test their physical abilities to the limits.
Chris Bailey, 35, was a soldier in the Royal Air Force Regiment until 2007 before he was wounded in action. Doctors assured Chris that he would never be able to walk again or have any children. By miracle, his first son came into the world a few years later and shortly after Chris managed to start walking again without the aid of crutches. Today, the father of three helps the Royal British Legion and Walking With The Wounded veterans' organisation and is actively engaged in helping former soldiers. He also manages the Herefordshire Veterans’ Support Group in a voluntary capacity, which looks after the well-being of armed forces veterans in the county. "For me, the expedition is the highpoint in my 14-year battle to return to a position where I can be as independent as I will ever be. It's a great opportunity for veterans to have their voice heard. There are many members and their families who need support in our community of veterans. That's why I'm taking part in the expedition."
"We want to show a capability and ambition which will make most of our colleagues stand out. As you would expect, we are asking for wholehearted support and financial assistance for organisations which provide for veterans' needs and give them a voice in society."
Paul Warren, 38, considers taking up challenges and being a positive role model to others a way of life. The former Muay Thai champion served in the Australian Defence Force for six years before he lost his right leg in action. But this misfortune didn't stop Paul: he completed his rehabilitation programme in just five months, seven months earlier than planned. He took up sport again and achieved fifth place in the 100 m sprint at the Invictus Games in London in 2014. He was captain of the Australian team in 2016 and has also written an autobiography, "The Fighter". "I decided not to take part in the Invictus Games this year and looked for a new challenge. Rheinmetall offered me the chance of taking part in the altitude expedition. I relish the challenge which awaits us in Chile."
"This expedition is all about performance – performance by the vehicles, the team and also by Chris and me as veterans. Our injuries must never prevent us from pursuing ambitious goals. We will show courage, determination and resilience to ensure that we are successful together with the whole Rheinmetall team. It's important for me to focus on our capabilities, not on our limitations."
Matthias Jeschke, 46, leader of the Truck Altitude Expedition has experience in expeditions worldwide and has carried out research into mountain heights accessible by truck for years. He has already set a truck world record on Ojos del Salado with his team back in 2014. He drove to a height never reached before, 6,675 m, in an 11-ton diesel engine truck. Matthias has developed and planned vehicle record drives and singular events worldwide with his company Extrem Events for more than fifteen years. He is also a partner to sectors such as the automotive and supplier industry, peforming product tests under extreme conditions.