Ford Bronco Sport Conquers Hell’s Gate in Moab Again, But in ReverseBacking up a famous hill climb on the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab is much harder than these pros make it look.See all 78 photosMonica GondermanAuthorMay 19, 2021
The saying goes: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There’s no saying that goes: If at first you succeed too easily, try again but make it as challenging as possible. After conquering Hell’s Gate in a Ford Bronco Sport almost too easily, the Fun-Haver Off-Road team of Loren Healy and Vaughn Gittin, Jr. threw caution and common sense into the wind by attempting the challenging climb in reverse.
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That’s right, Loren Healy threw the stout Ford Bronco Sport into reverse and backed up Hell’s Gate. Why not, right? Well, not so fast. For many off-roaders, Hell’s Gate, an advanced line on the Hell’s Revenge trail in Moab, Utah, is a hell no to even attempt. Even though it offers excellent traction, it’s a steep, off-camber climb up a crevice, with major potential for catastrophe.
We suppose that tackling an off-road obstacle in reverse could be advantageous—although we’re hard-pressed to recall a specific instance. Reverse may be a good gear for crawling, but often, it just complicates things and changes every aspect, especially in a long climb like this. It changes the weight distribution by putting the engine in the rear, and it also changes the steering dynamic by putting the steer wheels in the rear. Obviously, visibility becomes even more distorted.
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This is the first time a Ford Bronco Sport has climbed Hell’s Gate in reverse. It’s not, however, the first time a vehicle has attempted the climb in reverse. We found video from 2018 of a tow truck backing up Hell’s Gate, covered with patchy snow, just for fun, making it look quite easy.
Check out drone footage of the Ford Bronco Sport with Nitto tires claw its way up the iconic rubber-lined sandstone climb. Remember: Loren Healy and Vaughn Gittin Jr. are both professional off-road racers who compete in the 4400 class of the Utra4 Racing series.