An epic video of Loren Healy driving a Ford Bronco Sport Badlands up Moab, Utah’s infamous Hell’s Gate obstacle during Bronco Safari 2021 has begun circulating around the web. Unlike the many disastrous videos of modified trucks, SUVs and Jeeps tumbling to their demise down Moab’s steep slick rock slabs—clips that are hard to watch but irresistible to those who indulge in off-roading-gone-wrong carnage—this is a surprising example of off-roading-gone-right, especially given the Ford crossover’s car-platform roots.
In fact, Healy takes the hell right outta Hell’s Gate, exchanging some whoops-and-hollers with his buddies at the top. He makes the climb look easy-peasy, himself commenting that he was “pumped on how easy the Ford Bronco Sport went up Hell’s Gate.”
Vaughn Gittin Jr., Ford-backed Team Fun Haver teammate, also posted the 48-second video and commented that it “was rad to watch Loren Healy take our Bronco Sport Badlands up the infamous Hell’s Gate! So fun to push the capabilities of the Bronco family in all terrains” and included hashtags equating to many said it could not be done and he likes to go fast.
Don’t be fooled, though. There are a few things to note about this seemingly underwhelming feat from a guy who conquered a giant rock in a stock SUV.
Loren Healy, the guy behind the wheel, is an Ultra4 Racing champion and two-time King of the Hammers winner. He’s a professional rock crawler, and his race whip is a phenomenal Ford Bronco–themed off-road Ultra4 buggy. He’s about as experienced as they come, so much credit goes to the pro driver in this situation.
Hell’s Gate (pictured here with various beefier-than-Bronco-Sport 4x4s on it), is one of the tougher obstacles on Moab’s Hell’s Revenge trail. The idea of straddling the steep V-notch can really spook off-roaders. Successful videos like this do not do it justice, and videos of rigs choosing the wrong lines or front ends shooting skyward before flipping only make the matter worse. Some have described it as tremendously ominous in person, simply terrifying from the bottom.
Even though it takes more skill than your Average Joe to climb something as difficult as Hell’s Gate, that’s not to discount the capabilities of the vehicle. The Ford Bronco Sport chirped and clawed its Nitto Ridge Grapplers with precision and finesse. The nimble machine showed plentiful underbelly as it pulled the front passenger wheel sky-high off the ground climbing the upper section of the crevice, giving onlookers that characteristic Hell’s Gate photo opportunity.
Have you climbed Hell’s Gate? In what? While it’s more than possible in something like a Ford Bronco Sport—or even something like a two-door 2017 Jeep Wrangler with no lift, no lockers, and factory tires—it’s not for all off-roaders, no matter what they’re driving.
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