A couple of months again, we lined Tim and Kelsey Huber and their Land Cruiser “Goose,” which they stay in and drive all around the western edges of the Americas. Take a look at their story and their construct, right here. The Hubers additionally keep an internet site chronicling their adventures referred to as Dust Dawn. Successes, failures, suggestions, mods, you title it, they cowl it.
Just lately they wrote a couple of drive up the slopes of Mt. Uturunku, a dormant volcano that reaches practically 20,000 ft into the skies above Bolivia. There’s a small, twisty highway resulting in about 19,000 ft, the place an previous sulfur mine as soon as operated. At present, the highway, which is only a pair of tire tracks on the steep volcanic shoulder, is used principally for ferrying hikers who desire a brief path to the height.
At that elevation, the skinny oxygen is torture on a combustion engine, particularly one straining to climb and climb and climb. The highway twists and turns blindly, with wheels edging to the precipice of steep drop-offs. Ten p.c grades are widespread. Oh, so are landslides. The Hubers threw their beloved Goose on the highway as a result of, nicely, it was there. Their brief story about their journey up the highway is under. -Ed
It was actually extra of an previous mining path than a highway.
Wanting up at Mt. Uturunku I used to be a bit nervous. Goose, our truck, had been good to us over the yr and a half of journey to date, from Arizona to Canada and all the way down to Bolivia. Going up this mountain wasn’t price hurting him, and but, it was one way or the other vital to make it. I figured we’d by no means be capable to drive so excessive ever once more, so up we went.
Kelsey and I each popped a coca sweet. I had my bronchial asthma inhaler helpful however figured I’d strive the pure treatment first. Neither of us had been above 17,000 ft in elevation earlier than, and by no means above 16,500 ft within the truck.
As we approached the tip of the highway, the tire tracks disappeared and we determined to stroll forward to see what was across the nook. This was the final affordable turnaround for the vans main mountaineering excursions up right here. The highway forward was in regards to the width of our truck, nevertheless it appeared secure. Effectively, secure sufficient to go a bit greater.
As I drove across the nook with Kelsey recognizing to verify I didn’t look a tire on one of many boulders that rolled into the path, beginning one thing that could be very arduous to get out of, I questioned if my hand-eye coordination was working okay. I felt humorous; we each did on the market.
I drove as excessive as I dared and appeared forward on the washed-out observe. The highway itself went no greater. Given the place we have been, we pulled the pin on this little journey.
18,660 ft in elevation. That’ll do Goose, that’ll do.
This wasn’t the time to calm down. We would have liked all of our mind cells on deck to show this truck round. The final nook was so tight that backing down appeared like a worse concept than making a 20 level flip. Kelsey noticed and advised me inside inches of the sting when to cease. It might have been a 30 level flip. I felt like Austin Powers, however with dying as punishment for any mistake, every time I pulled ahead, I discovered that focus was fairly simple to summon.
Lastly, we have been going through the appropriate manner. We waited till we made it down a couple of switchbacks earlier than celebrating. We chugged water and popped one other coca sweet earlier than continuing. We didn’t need the lengthy downhill to catch us out, however we did it.
Effectively, Goose did it, we simply went alongside for the trip. Good work Goose, previous good friend. What do you say we go go to Butch and Sundance’s supposed resting place subsequent?