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1981 240 GD
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Friends, around 4-5 years ago with a group of friends, all 4x4 lovers-enthusiasts and owners of different trucks started nurturing the idea of getting as high as you can in a 4x4. The Andean mountains in the limit between Chile and Argentina proved to be the best place to this attemps. Interestingly, in the Guiness World Book of Records there is no mention to such record, just a mention to the highest road, which is in Nepal at around 19000 feet of 5700 meters aprox.

I personally participated in one of the several attemps that since then different people did. In that ocassion, we used a Jeep Cherokee 4.0 and a Toyota Land Cruiser TD 4.2 and got to 5900 meters. Subsequent attemps were done with different trucks with the most paramount done by a Ford Ranger 2,8TDi that reached 6100 meters.

When doing this, there are 3 basic problems:
- lack of oxigen for the driver and passenger, so oxigen tanks are needed above 5500 meters
- lack of power in the engine, either gas or diesel based, turbo or non-turbo, due to the lack of oxigen again. Roughly, over 5000 meters, power drops to half compared to sea level.
- lack of grip/traction. Since at that height you only see sand, volcano lava, and loose ground, the ability of getting good grip and traction is key. The few HP that oxigen leave you, are needed to translate into movement !!

During one of the attemps, a friend in the group worked with Guiness on the process to cerfity and validate the mark, using GPSs (how many?) and whatever more is required. The process to convince Guiness is not simple.

When I started refurbishing my 240G 2 years ago, this was one of the reasons, since the G will be a great players with its lockers and handling, although clearly underpowered.

Well, why do I tell you guys all these? Because last week VW sent a crew in Touaregs that came close. Here are some pictures and a text from a specialized journalist and adventurer very respected here in Argentina, Federico Kirbus.

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To whom it may concern:
I'm just back from the press conference in the VW Argentina Quality Center.
Rainer Zietlow showed his Tourag (2600 kilos ready fro climbing).
He invested in the attempt "almost 500.000 Euros", as he said.
For practical purposes he used the V6 246 BHP Otto-Engine instead of a Diesel.
He drove up to Ojos del Salado from Copiapó with a team of eight people, only four days after Matthias Jeschke (whom he never met) had clocked 6.010 meters (and 6.033 according to a "laser-corrected" method).
They drove along the fairly good trail up to about 5800 meters, where Matthias turned to the left and he to the right.
At a certain point they had to use the whinch, which according to Rainer is allowed by the Guinness BoR as far it is not employed to make the last meters. As a matter of fact, the last meters Rainer drove by pure traction to a point where huge boulders didn't allow to go farther. Nevertheless, they found a place where tu turn around and drive downward.
Shortly before the highest point they had a puncture and hat to change a wheel.
Two Chilean Baqueanos were with them.
He used extreme spark advance to compensate slow combustion due to lack of air. They were two on board when reaching 6080/6081 meters above sea level. This will appear in the 2006 edition of the GBoR.
Rainer however would not give me the exact waypoint and only showed me on a map to wich point they climbed.
Starting this weekend you may see details of the record attempt clicking www.touareg-record.com
Rainer sends special regards to Lluis Astier, with whom he chatted via Interrnet with the help of a Tarzan translating machine and was impressed when I told him that on the Argentine side Nelson Benitez had done 6.143 meters.
Perhaps he'll return, or Matthias Jeschke will, who knows.
You soon may have more details.
With kindest ragards
The Sergeant in charge
Federico B. Kirbus


Regards, Fernando
 

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Very Cool .... now that would be quite an adventure.
 
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