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Jeep High Altitude Worldrecord: A hard day for mind and body.

After his first High Altitude Worldrecord in 2005 the German off road specialist Matthias Jeschke is climbing the Ojos del Salado in Chile again - with a Jeep Wrangler and Goodyear Tires. In 2005 he and his team were fighting with a Toyota Land Cruiser - against a Volkswagen-team with a special-preepared Touareg SUV. After Jeschkes first trial the Volkswagen made the Worldrecord - but Jeschke came back two weeks later and reclaimed the title. is travelling with the Worldrecord-Team - and Matthias Jeschke is reporting daily.

Day 4 - March 9th, 2007

In the morning, we tested the Argo vehicles (we decided to put off the chains because of the weather conditions), have taken pictures of the Jeep Wranglers in wonderful scenery, and interviewed the participants of the expedition. Afterwards, we planned to start for our record track to an altitude of 5950m at 1 p.m. On the one hand, we had to set up a storage room for our material there. On the other hand, it was important for me to see, what can be expected in the rocky lane. This track is the only way to the plateau of the Ojos, therefore extremely important to overcome. The lane is sloping on both sides, has a slope of about 50% and is really challenging to drive. We started this extremely hard tour at 1 p.m., and needed seven hours "on the road". Too much time, considering the total length of 60 km.

However, the Ojos does not make it easy for us. At an altitude of 5400m, two sand fields (above the Atacama hut) were covered by drifting sand to such an extent, that even there we had to do a hard work for almost two hours, in order to scrape our four cars along. To crown all, a big stone broke off during the further course of our trip, when I crossed it. The stone got stuck under the differential in the rear in such a way, that we had to lift the car with jacks in order to dig the stone up with blades: a hard graft at an altitude of 5700m. Additionally, a strong sandy wind, gave us a hard time. Although being sheltered by glacier goggles, storm masks and caps, the sand found his way through any little gap and thus it was difficult to see and breathe. Some of us were temporarily not able to see anything, until our doctor Hubertus helped them out.

There were also bad circumstances, when we arrived at the starting point of the record track. The rocky lane was filled up with many boulders due to draining glacier water. The only possibility to get through, was a huge amount of extra effort (digging up big stones and moving them aside). For this reason, we decided to send a team, consisting of Dieter, Hans, two rangers and me, to the rocky lane tomorrow, in order to do the necessary preparations. In detail, we have to move stones at an altitude of around 6000m during the whole day. The other team members will go on further acclimatisation hikes at an altitude of 5300m.

2007/03/12 | 10:39 CET | Editor: MR/HS/M. Jeschke

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