In a daring showcase of endurance and off-road prowess, the BMW R 1300 GS has left an indelible mark on the challenging terrains of South America. Just two and a half months after its global debut, a fleet of fully equipped BMW R 1300 GS models undertook a remarkable expedition, proving their mettle in the high-altitude adventure that unfolded in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
Setting off from sea level at the Nevado Ojos del Salado, the world’s highest active volcano towering at 6,893 meters, the BMW R 1300 GS motorcycles accomplished a feat that demanded exceptional rider skills and unwavering machine resilience. The ambitious ascent, which included navigating the formidable “Rock Channel” on the northern flank of the volcano, saw the expedition reaching a staggering altitude of 6,027 meters in less than 24 hours.
The Circuito de los Seis Miles in the Atacama Desert provided the breathtaking backdrop for this extreme challenge, encompassing the highest active volcano chain globally. The expedition commenced on December 6th from Bahia Inglesa, near the Pacific Ocean, and concluded on December 7th, marking a monumental achievement for the international team of riders.
The team, comprising Christof Lischka (BMW Motorrad Development Manager), Salvatore Pennisi (Metzeler Test and Technical Director), Michele Pradelli (Italian Extreme Enduro Champion and tester for InMoto magazine), and Karsten Schwers (tester and journalist for MOTORRAD magazine), rode the BMW R 1300 GS models equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tires.
What makes this expedition truly remarkable is the decision to undertake it with standard motorcycles and standard tires. The feat becomes even more extraordinary considering the use of 19″ front and 17″ rear tires, introducing a new dimension to the world of adventure riding.
Ascending to the Nevado Ojos del Salado presents formidable challenges for both man and machine. The rigorous climb, completed in under 24 hours, demands considerable physical and mental effort from the participants. The harsh environment above 5,000 meters, with frigid temperatures plummeting to around -20°C at night, adds another layer of adversity.
Preparation for the expedition involved establishing base camps at various altitudes, conducting simulations on Mount Etna in Sicily, and undertaking medical tests in collaboration with the University of Enna. The inhospitable conditions at over 5,000 meters tested not only the physical endurance of the riders but also pushed the BMW R 1300 GS’s electronic control systems, chassis, and tires to their limits.
This remarkable journey stands as a testament to the capabilities of the BMW R 1300 GS, showcasing its ability to conquer extreme terrains and elevating the standards for adventure riding. The expedition’s success underscores the meticulous preparation, innovation, and resilience embedded in both man and machine, as they tackled the challenges posed by the awe-inspiring heights of the Nevado Ojos del Salado.