Penn sophomore scales highest volcano in world on bicycle over winter break


Wharton sophomore Ryan Torres set a world record last winter by scaling Ojos del Salado, the world’s tallest volcano, on his bicycle. (Photo by Ryan Torres)

Wharton sophomore Ryan Torres scaled Ojos del Salado, the tallest volcano in the world, by bicycle over winter break.

Torres completed the 11-day attempt on December 25 after reaching an altitude of 6,286 meters on the eighth day of his adventure. Torres reached a new high with his blood oxygen at 37 percent — one-third that of an individual. Normal oxygen levels.

His journey began in the Atacama desert in South America, where he cycled through the desert for four consecutive days.

“I started from a small town in the desert called Copiapo in northern Chile. water, From there we got on our bikes with food and gear and headed towards the Andes,” Torres said. “The biggest challenge of this stage was crossing very high temperatures and no wind. Whatever it is, the sun goes straight to you.”

On the fourth day, Torres reached base camp at an altitude of 4,500 meters and began the second stage of the trek through the cold. At this point, he has a blood oxygen level of less than 70% and a resting heart rate of 120 bpm.

“My brain wasn’t getting enough oxygen, so my sense of coordination was impaired,” Torres said. Although the distance is short, my body The brain and muscles are not getting enough oxygen.”

Wharton sophomore Ryan Torres (left) biked through South America’s Atacama Desert during his 11-day trip through Ojos del Salado last December (Photo – Ryan Torres).

After spending about a day acclimatizing to the altitude, we set off on the next leg of our journey, trekking through knee-deep sub-zero ash from 4,500m to 5,200m.

“It was the worst day of my life. I had to put all my gear and food on my bike and start climbing,” Torres said. “I was alone on the mountain. I don’t know what will happen. I’m following a path I’m not sure about. [going to] Be the right way.”

At 5,200 meters, Torres was too tired to cook and met a French traveler who provided him with food for the night. The next day he went to the final camp at 5,800 meters in the Tejos refuge, the world’s highest mountain hut.

From there, Torres continued his journey upwards, reaching a final height of 6,286 meters.

After the fall 2021 semester, Torres will walk the Locust Walk to New York City and bike across America, a 2,500-mile journey in June.

One of the main goals Torres set out to achieve from the trip was to raise funds by creating a crowdfunding page for World Bicycle Relief, which aims to help individuals “access education, healthcare and economic opportunities through life-changing bicycles,” according to their website.


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