Francisco López attempted the record with meticulous planning, perhaps learned from his Dakar days, to reach a height of 6,080m above sea level on the Ojos del Salado volcano in the region of Atacama, South America.
López, who had been preparing for months with the KTM FREERIDE E, which has a permanent-magnet synchronous motor fitted into a typical KTM chassis, tackled minus 25 degrees celsius temperatures and a difficult ascent in some of the most challenging conditions to achieve this unbelievable feat. López attacked the climb in stages from 2,000 meters to 4,000 meters and finally up to the above 6,000 meters mark with the base camp set at 4,500 meters.
In the final 10 days before the official climb López spent time at the volcano itself to become used to the high altitudes, select the right tires for the terrain, while also studying the best possible route up the Ojos del Salado, which is the highest volcano in the world.
The Red Bull racer made small modifications to the bike to try and reduce the issues with freezing and to ensure the batteries would retain as much charge as possible in the difficult conditions. The team he worked with planned the trip up the mountain to ensure it was possible to reach the target with López’s phenomenal riding talent, and within the possibilities of the KTM FREERIDE E-XC. López, who was surprised on how the FREERIDE E handled the conditions and how well it works even on low power, used four batteries to reach the 6,080 meters points, where he was unable to continue due to a huge area of iced rocks and snow.
“The bike handles very well, but the biggest thing we needed to achieve was to keep the batteries in good condition in the -25 degrees we faced there,” said López.
“When I knew I had accomplished my goal and that the difficulties of finding the right path, moving slabs of snow, and knowing we had to make it on that particular moment, I raised my arms and started screaming like crazy with happiness. It was not easy and I gave it everything. The sacrifice was worth it and all the physical work and teamwork paid off,” concluded López.
“This is an incredible achievement thanks to Francisco, Red Bull and his team. For sure the KTM Research and Development department in Mattighofen, Austria had not particularly designed the FREERIDE E for such extreme conditions, but it is a testament to KTM, the durability of the machine and the possibilities it can already achieve in what is still a relatively early stage in KTM’s E-technology development. Congratulations to Chaleco from everyone at KTM!” said Joachim Sauer, KTM Offroad Product Manager.
The achievement has been confirmed by Guinness World Records.
Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez performs during Red Bull Ojos del Salado in Atacama, Chile on November 21, 2015
Jean Louis De Heeckeren / Red Bull Content Pool