You snooze, you lose…evidently. With my lack of social media savvy, I missed the headline about the new FKT on Mt. Hood. But just this evening, I know, late, an SLC-based friend alerted me to today’s Statesmen Journal story: “Half-naked ski mountaineer sets speed record on Mt Hood: summit and down in 91 minutes.”
Many expletives come to mind. But I’m trying to be family-friendly to start this off.
Here are the basic Kuenzle Stats
Who: Jack Kuenzle
Speed: Breakneck fast
Attire on Sunday: Evidently at least half-naked. Not a Speedo.
Stats for Mt. Hood
Total Ascent: 5,380′
Total Distance round trip: Approx. 7 miles
State Pride: The highest mountain in Oregon
Mountain humilty: Mt. Hood is lower than many hills in Colorado or the West in general. But it’s a volcano, which counts for something.
Sunday’s Feats on Mt. Hood
Kuenzle’s Sunday’s accomplishment #1: Established new FKT up Hood in 1 hour 16 minutes. The previous ascent FKT was set by Adam King, who ran, in 1 hour and 23 minutes.
Kuenzle’s Sunday accomplishment #2: Established new round-trip FKT on Mt. Hood in 1 hour and 31 minutes. Readers of WildSnow might know of Jason Dorais’ FKT of 1 hour and 44 minutes, which was the FKT until Kuenzle’s effort. (Update: I’m told Scott Simmons of Durango, CO. bested Dorais’ FKT not long after the 1 hour 44 minute effort. Word is Simmons’ new mark was a minute or two faster. Either way, these folks are fast. But, credit is due where it is due.)
Kuenzle’s Sunday’s accomplishment #3: “Half naked” means mostly naked. Kuenzle wore slim-fitting boxer-like shorts (or briefs) along with his skimo gear. In a short message exchange on Instagram, I asked how cold it was up top? He replied, “I think high at the summit was 19. Only felt cold between Palmer and DK [Devil’s Kitchen] tho, I think there is so much reflection.”
I’m reflecting now in the comfort of my home in Bend, and this story is all sorts of badass and smiles. And it’s worth reading the Statesmen Journal piece or checking out Kuenzle’s Strava account for the blow by blow and reading his post on Instagram. He’s got some strong opinions about organized sports. You’ll learn from his IG post that hyper-organized sport, for the time being, is not his thing.
We’ll let this quote stand alone: “Ski Mountaineering. Racing in the backcountry is full tilt,” Kuenzle wrote on Instagram. There’s some joy in those words.
Iconoclast, visionary, human-lung, tolerator of cold, any which way, Kuenzel smoked the up and down. He ascended on skis until the Pearly Gates, where he stashed the skis, ran up and tagged the summit, passed back through the Gates, grabbed skis, clipped into skis, schussed down, stopped clock.
Kuenzle is no stranger to FKTs; according to news reports, he holds many FKTs. His chosen attire for those records was not disclosed.
Jason Albert comes to WildSnow from Bend, Oregon. After growing up on the East Coast, he migrated from Montana to Colorado and settled in Oregon. Simple pleasures are quiet and long days touring. His gray hair might stem from his first Grand Traverse in 2000 when rented leather boots and 210cm skis were not the speed weapons he had hoped for. Jason survived the transition from free-heel kool-aid drinker to faster and lighter (think AT), and safer, are better.