Here we have a strange cross over in interests, a new record and a heart stopping crash.
I had never heard of the "Climb to the Clouds" Hillclimb, sponsored by Subaru until just a few days ago when I video of a nasty wreck in an all too familiar setting came across my newsfeed. After seeing Baby Driver twice in the past week (I highly suggest it) I must have watched a couple Rally Car videos, which led the slightly terrifying 1984-esque computer algorithm Google employs to say "Hey, you like hiking and fast cars, Look at this!"
Apparently the "Climb to the Clouds" is an over 100-year old event that attracts some of the top rally car drivers in the entire world to Route 302 in Northern New Hampshire. Undoubtedly most of you are probably more knowledgable than me and knew all about this, but to me it is utterly mind blowing. A three day event where they RACE up Mt. Washington? Are there enough people crazy enough to do this for a full 3 days?! They say driving up in a mini-van going 20 mph is nerve-racking imagine doing it at 60, 70, 80 mph! Now that is bold.
Now I am a little undecided on how I feel here. Would I go to the event? Absolutely, it seems like an incredible spectacle especially for someone interested in cars. But do I think the event is a net good? I'm perplexed.
I imagine the high octane fuel and tire smoke is not good for the environment in the alpine zone. After watching Dave Higgins wreck I was nervous for his safety, but I was also nervous for the place that he crashed into. As a firm believer in low impact outdoor activity, leaving no trace and staying on the trail I was horrified to see a full car go up and over into what is supposed to be sacred. Of course this isn't deep untouched nature, it is the side of the auto road which has been in place since the 1800s bringing families and tourists up Mt. Washington. It is still difficult to see a full car turn over and burn up some brush, for a person that tries their best to not have a boot stray from the trail, for fear of over impact.
Also thank goodness Mr. Higgins is okay and was able to leave his car on his own.
So where does this leave us?
Should we abandon Mt. Washington as a physical feat but also a non-natural area? It is an incredible hike, but anyone who has completed it can tell you about the uncanny feeling of cars driving and honking while small children heat ice cream sandwiches at the top of mountain that can be grueling to hike. I know I've been unnerved, being cut in line to use the bathroom after hiking for 6 hours through rough conditions. What is Mt. Washington? A tourist attraction? An incredible summit? Something in between? I would love to hear what you think.
Travis Pastrana set the record for fastest time up Mt. Washington at 6 minutes 20 seconds. Impossible to imagine for anyone who has hiked Mt. Washington. Check out this incredible video by Red Bull.