E-Bike expedition to the Ojos del Salado in Chile
24.01.2017 | Travels
First things first: the team including photographer Mike Fuchs as well as Riese & Müller employees Sebastian Gerl and Pitt Schmidt has achieved a tremendous feat, even if they had to quit just short of the Ojos del Salado's summit. Facing adverse weather conditions, such as thunderstorms and large amounts of fresh snow, they braved the elements with their Delite mountain E-Bikes and made it to 6,250 m. They have every reason to be proud if this achievement.
The three Delite mountain E-Bikes, which Riese & Müller provided the team with, performed equally well. From the extreme heat in the desert and the fine sand and rubble experienced during the first days of the expedition, to the icy cold and snow at the Ojos del Salado itself, the E-Bikes withstood the challenging environment running like clockwork.
Start of the expedition
The trip starts in Caldera at the Pacific coast and takes the riders 400 km inland from 0 to 6,250 metres above sea level. On the first day, they cover a distance of about 128 km and a 2,000 metres difference in altitude through the Atacama Desert with its giant sand dunes and scorching heat. The team is grateful for the Delite mountain's full suspension. In places, it is extremely tricky to ride through the soft desert sand leaving rubble as the only alternative route, which the E-Bikes take in their stride thanks to Control Technology.
The following days are still characterised by the desert climate with extreme heat during the day. After a further 250 km, they reach the foot of the Ojos del Salado at 4,400 metres above sea level.
The weather takes a turn for the worse
In the mountainous region of the Ojos del Salado, the weather is posing a real problem for the riders. Thunderstorms with strong gusts of wind and 50 cm of fresh-fallen snow present the team with new challenges. Despite these adverse conditions, the riders make their way up the mountain from the high camp at 5,200 metres to the next highest camp at 6,005 metres above sea level.
To the summit
Still snow, snow and nothing but snow. Nevertheless, on 20 January 2017, the team sets out to climb the highest volcano on earth with the Delite mountain. At least the sun is shining, but due to the large amount of snow and extremely steep path, it is impossible to ride the bikes up the mountain. There's only one thing they can do: push. An incredibly exhausting task in the deep snow and rubble. As if that wasn't enough, the weather takes a turn for the worse once more with more thunderstorms and snow. At 6,250 metres the team decides to abort the exhibition. An adjacent glacier with waist-deep snow prevents them, and everyone else trying to reach the summit in these days, from carrying on. In their expedition blog they write: "Sad, but also happy to have made it this far, we are marking the spot and congratulate each other. At 6,250 metres, not even 600 metres below the peak, we are taking our "summit photos" and decide to get out of this dangerous situation as quickly as possible." Riese & Müller is delighted to join in congratulating the team on their incredible achievement.
The Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano on earth, is exactly 6,883 metres high. Its summit can only be reached at moderate temperatures during the summer months from December to March.