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Scantily clad mountaineer sets new record scaling Mount Hood

Dressed in only underwear and some gear, Jack Kuenzle made the round-trip climb in about 90 minutes.

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. — A 26-year-old man from New Hampshire just set a new round-trip record for reaching the summit of Mount Hood and descending the mountain, making the entire journey in about 90 minutes.

Just to give you an idea of how long it takes most people just to reach the top, it’s about four to six hours depending on the conditions.

Jack Kuenzle started at the parking lot of Timberline Lodge, and with special mountaineering boots and gear he set a record making it to the top at one hour and 16 minutes, and then turned around and skied down in 15 minutes.

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“There’s a round-trip record that was set at one hour and 44 minutes several years ago, but my trip was one hour and 30 minutes round trip,” said Kuenzle.

His total climb from the parking lot to the summit was about 5,200 feet, but Kuenzle is no stranger to setting records in ski mountaineering. In February, he made it to the top of Mount Shasta in northern California in record time, but just missed getting the record for the descent when he ran into trouble coming down the mountain.

“I set the ascent record on skis — and then I when I went to ski down, I snapped both of my skis in half,” Kuenzle said.

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Not only was his Mount Hood climb fast, he did it with very little on him. He had boots, skis and crampons for good traction, but he otherwise set the new record wearing only a pair of underwear. Kuenzle said that overheating can play a big role in limiting physical performance. Luckily he planned his climb on a sunny and warm day, where he could get away with wearing very little.

Credit: Jack Kuenzle

Kuenzle went up the south side of the mountain, which is known as the “Pearly Gates.” The feat also qualifies him for the 2026 Winter Olympics, where ski mountaineering will feature as an Olympic sport for the first time ever. Kuenzle said he hasn’t decided yet if he’s going to participate.

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