Two Unimogs supported an operation to install four emergency radios on the Ojos del Salado volcano. This is the tallest active volcano in the world measuring 6,893 meters tall (22,614 feet).
The Unimogs are U 5023 models that feature crew cabs and a soft top covered cargo area on the back of each truck. In the basecamps, the trucks are parked with the cargo areas facing each other and a tarp is spread across one side and the top to create a sheltered space. These are no ordinary Unimogs. They have big Warn winches on the front. There are giant off-road tires (like an Arctic Truck) and one of the Mogs features chains on its rear tires when they are climbing the volcano for the record. A system called “variable center of gravity balancing” is added to the trucks. Specialists from the Unimog museum, AS Soder (coachbuilding company), and Unimog engineers created the system. There are no specifics available as to what the system actually does, but it sounds very cool.
The trucks carried the 10-person team to install the emergency radios. The expedition was led by Mattias Jeschke, who has held the truck altitude record before. On a similar operation, Mattias’ team used a Mercedes Zetros truck and climbed to 21,889 feet in 2014. In 2007 a modified 1986 Suzuki Samari climbed to 21,942 feet to set the altitude record for a “car.”
Video of the trucks before the record
The Unimogs setting the record this time was more about opportunity than a dedicated mission to set the record. After installing the last radio at 6,100 meters (20,013 feet), the team turned the trucks up the hill and climbed to 21,962 feet.
Overall this expedition is full of two things that are great: the Atacama Desert and Unimogs. Achieving the record on the tallest active volcano in the world makes the record that much better.