Toyota Tundra TRD Pro Scales Volcano With Ryan Millen and Andy Bell – VIDEO
“Volcano-Hopping in Chile” Final Cut Hits the Web
“You need a horse!” That’s the advice Ryan Millen and Andy Bell were given when they told veteran huaso Julio Oyarzun that they wanted to scale the Chilean volcanoes Lonquimay, Tolhuaca, and Llaima in the 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
While the Chilean guide’s animal of choice is likely the most reliable and time-honored way to climb the ash, loose basalt rock, and scorching-hot landscape that cover those aforementioned volcanoes, Ryan and Andy weren’t about to turn back, dedicating a day to scaling each peak. Watch the video below to learn more about the adventure.
The first day, they were met with extremely dusty, slick rock surfaces that threatened to pitch the truck (and drivers) off the edge of a ridge. Even with Ryan spotting while Andy drove, the truck slid inch by inch off the ridge’s peak. Some crafty digging and strategic rock placement allowed them to stabilize the truck’s tires enough to safely back down the mountain, unfortunately leaving Volcan Lonquimay un-summited.
In the video, Andy claims it was the worst spot he’s ever been in his entire life, which sounds a little hyperbolic, but Ryan agreed. “It was the gnarliest situation I’ve ever encountered in a vehicle,” he said.
The next day, the TRD Pro team had Tolhuaca firmly in its sights. After encountering a condor looking for its next meal of carrion (not a great omen for any adventurer), Andy and Ryan found some mud and snow, a volcanic vent of boiling water, and more ashy terrain. Their tactic this day was better, and they were able to top the mountain with the huaso by their side.
The third day of the adventure brought the Tundra TRD Pro up close and personal with Volcan Llaima but not before meeting a local Toyota fan with a diesel-powered Hilux pickup. To say we’re jealous of the compact truck’s small-diesel clatter is an understatement, at least until Andy fires up the Tundra and lets the TRD-tuned exhaust roar. That sound was one of our favorite features on the TRD Pro that competed in Pickup Truck of the Year 2015, and it remains one of the Tundra’s most impressive sensory traits.
On the trail to the summit of Llaima (which erupted in 2008, forcing the evacuation of hundreds), Andy and Ryan were forced to cross a field of jagged volcanic rock, which taxed the Toyota’s suspension articulation and ground clearance. The occasional puff of smoke could be seen spilling from Llaima, but driver skill and a good truck allowed them to summit the volcano without drama.
The video is well worth the time. Even though it’s produced by Toyota, it doesn’t come off like a boring TV commercial. The Tundra doesn’t always succeed in this kind of terrain, but what it does is prove its mettle. In our limited (and less intense) time with the Tundra TRD Pro, we saw promise in the truck, and that promise is proven with the Chilean excursion.