BMW 1300 GS scales highest active volcano in the world

Published Jan 5, 2024


Call it a baptism of fire if you will, a fleet of newly-launched BMW R 1300 GS models have scaled the highest active volcano in the world in a trek that took less than 24 hours.

The backdrop for the expedition, which represents an extreme challenge for man and machine, was the Circuito de los Seis Miles in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the highest active volcano chain in the world, to which the Nevado Ojos del Salado belongs.

The four standard BMW R 1300 GS models set off on 6 December at 3pm local time from Bahia Inglesa, a town near the port of Caldera on the Pacific Ocean in the Atacama region, to climb the Nevado Ojos Del Salado.

Equipped with Metzeler Karoo 4 tyres, the bikes ascended through the Atacama Desert to the Circuito de los Seis Miles and finally to the slopes of Nevado Ojos del Salado on the border between Argentina and Chile.

The destination was finally reached on 7 December at 10:22am local time.

Riders included BMW Motorrad Development Manager Christof Lischka as well as Italian Extreme Enduro Champion Michele Pradelli.

A unique feature of this expedition was the decision to use standard motorcycles with standard (19" front and 17" rear) tyres.

“With this extreme ride up to more than 6,000 metres, the new BMW R 1300 GS has shown what it can do and what it is made for,” said Lischka.

“It masters off-road and adventure riding as well as a sporty pace on tarmac and long tours. Even in standard trim with off-road tyres. It was important for us to emphasise these core competencies of the new GS once again with this expedition.”

The climb to Nevado Ojos del Salado is regarded as an extreme challenge for both man and machine. Considerable physical and mental effort is required of the expedition participants.

In addition, the participants reach an environment above 5,000 metres that is very inhospitable to humans. The temperatures are very low - around -10 °C during the day and -20 °C at night - and the oxygen content is low.

Long-term preparation and prior acclimatisation to the region are therefore essential. In the days leading up to the expedition, several base camps were set up at different altitudes and a simulation was carried out on Mount Etna in Sicily, the highest active volcano in Europe. Specific medical tests and checks at the University of Enna, in cooperation with the health authorities of the province of Enna, were also part of the preparation of the expedition participants.

At over 5,000 metres above sea level, the cold and low air pressure place particularly high demands on the electronic control of the air-fuel mixture of the Boxer engine, but also on all other vehicle components of the new BMW R 1300 GS. The chassis and tyres are also put to the test by the varied terrain with stony tracks, unpaved roads, endless sandy areas and sometimes even ice and snow.

“I am delighted that we were able to take on this challenge with the new R 1300 GS and mastered it with flying colours. On such adventurous rides, the new GS has already demonstrated its great off-road expertise in standard trim and shown what it can do in extreme situations,” Lischka concluded.

Related Topics:

Adventure BikesBmw