After so much waiting the desired day arrives, the attempt to make a new world altitude record with the Volkswagen ID4 GTX electric car. We start early in the morning at 7 am on a fairly good day regarding the weather, little wind and some scattered clouds which gives us a good chance to achieve the goal.
Our day begins in the municipal building of Quetena chico with its highest authority Rosalio Bernal who certifies our departure under a written letter and bids us farewell waving the tricolour Bolivian flag.
We are accompanied by 3 guides from the association of local guides of the Uturuncu volcano, including its president. For them and the camera team we have our support van Volkswagen Amarok provided by GAMA. The guides are standing in the back of the van watching the movements of the electric car in front of them at all times.
We start with a temperature of -8°c. On the road that leads to the old sulphur mine on the Uturuncu volcano. The road has not been maintained since the COVID19 pandemic, and this year the people of Quetena have organised to repair it in order to reactivate tourism in the sector with one of its main attractions.
The road has to cross rivers and estuaries with precarious but useful bridges. Sandy areas, sharp bends and areas of Pajonales altiplanicas make this place a unique landscape on the planet, further on we pass by the old mining camp called Saibor. Approaching 5,000 metres above sea level, the Queñoas, trees adapted to the hostile environmental conditions, appear. At around 5,500 metres the vegetation disappears and we can only see rocks, which gives us a feeling of altitude, here too the wind starts to blow more intensely. With the Gopro camera we record the route.
During most of the way we can observe the two summits of the volcano and the Collao that joins them called “el abra”. To reach this point we must pass through the sector called “the nose”, a sharp bend where the road narrows and the slope steepens, giving the sensation of being in the sky. Then the road passes through the smoky sulphur fumaroles that show us that this is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
The last part of the road takes us to the old mine and a little further up where we set a new world height record in an electric vehicle with a height of 5,816 metres above sea level. Here we register the whole team with a photograph. Due to the wind we go down to the abandoned sulphur mine where the witnesses write their testimony and we take the opportunity to collect some sulphur rocks that are still visible in the area.
After all the photographic and written records, we start the exit to the village of Quetena Chico where the crowd is waiting for us with applause and flags to celebrate, its maximum authority certifies us the return and everybody comes to celebrate together with the car this new record that stays in South America.