New Hampshire’s Mount Washington is known for some of the most extreme weather in the continental United States — or really, the planet. The highest surface wind speed ever recorded was logged there: 231 mph, back in 1934. Winter temperatures are brutal. And you can get a howling snowstorm at any time on the 6,288-foot peak.
Also extreme: The video you see above, of Travis Pastrana breaking his own record at the Mount Washington Hill Climb, aka the Climb to the Clouds. The climb first took place in 1904, seven years before the Indy 500, 12 years before the Pikes Peak Hillclimb, and a few decades before the existence of particularly good automotive brakes. Pastrana’s record run took place over the weekend, and it may be the most frenetic — and if we’re all totally honest with ourselves, terrifying — hillclimb video ever. Words don’t do it justice. Just watch it.
After Pastrana set his first record, in 2017, he said, “This road is such a challenge. It’s probably the toughest road to drive flat-out in the world.”
But drive it flat-out, he does. The 7.6-mile Auto Road to the summit typically take a tourist 30 minutes to drive, according to hillclimb sponsor Subaru. And considering the dropoffs and mixed surfaces you see in this video, that tourist pace of 15 mph or so sounds like a fine idea. But Pastrana’s 2017 record was 5 minutes, 44 seconds. And this time, he was equipped with his Subaru “Airslayer” WRX STI that was built for the Gymkhana 2020 video, which puts out 826-horsepower and generates much more downforce from its aero. Airslayer got him up the mountain 16 seconds faster, at 5:28.67.
Our rough math makes the average speed to be around 83 mph.
“New record in the books!” Subaru Motorsports quotes Pastrana as saying. “This car is the perfect machine to do it. Coming off a second-place finish at Goodwood I really wanted to set a new record here to show what the car could do in the right environment. Luckily we really had good weather this year and I knew if I could get a clean run in, I’d have a great shot at the 5:44 time. So much fun and I can’t wait to do it again next time!”
So much fun? See what you think.