Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 2:52 am Posts: 13 Location: Rapid City SD
We live in Rapid City and hope to make it out to the Bighorns a few times. Question: any good riding out side of Buffalo up Hw 16. I am trying to remember what I have seen in the past as I cross them each year. DO you guys look for anything special as far as open and prevailing winds?
If its right up top it will make it a 3 hours trip for us!
I haven't taken my kites to this side of the Bighorns in over three years. I was a total beginner back then and had one marginal session on the west side of Powder River pass on the south side of the highway. I need to go back now that I can now navigate steeper terrain and try to access the higher peaks on the north side of the road. On the east side of the pass you may look at the open terrain near Crazy Woman Creek (named after my ex-wife...)
Granite Pass, south of Burgess Jct. is also a good option for park and ride sessions. Only kited there once.
The kiters from Cody and Montana usually stick to the Lovell side of 14A because it's closer, has vast open areas and consistent winds. Today is the last day for park and ride on this stretch of road.
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:19 pm Posts: 26 Location: Sheridan, WY
I live in Sheridan and have been kiting all over the Big Horns. If you don't have a snowmobile then most of the really epic terrain over on 14A is out of reach. Easy drive up kiting can be had at Granite Pass, however check the weather first because a lot of the time winds are north to northwest and blow over the top and you will be trying to kite in the lee and it is usually pretty light unless the winds are really strong up on top. So for Granite Pass the ideal winds are out of the south but anything coming in from the west thru the east is good. I have kited Granite Pass in all wind directions but usually it will be coming in from the northwest or south; look for south days and you can easily kite up to the top of the pass and back down to the parking lot all day long. On days when it is good it is easy to get 30 top to bottoms by lunch time (approximatly 900' vert.).
For over in the highway 16 area it is a lot harder to have good conditions over there because the nice open areas get blown off a lot, and it is broken up a lot by groups of trees that screw the winds up. Also it seems that a lot of the areas that would be great to kite in, never really get covered well until you get up pretty high. I have only kited over on the Buffalo side like 15 times and for some reason it was really gusty, icy, windblown and not the greates coditions probably 10 of the times and the other 4 times there was no wind... The one good spot I kited late in the season last year was Hunter Mesa which is a really big mesa about 1.5 miles long and is pretty much exactly 12miles up HW16 from town. It is on the north side of the highway and it took me about an hour to actually kite up to the mesa because the winds were lighter, but once on tip I had a great session with my 10m Manta!! The only problem with this area is it is not super high, it is only like 7900' so it may not have great coverage, but we did get quite a bit of snow this past weekend.
If you are not looking to go long distances going cross country (which is what I usually do) and are more or less just looking for areas to ride on, at Burgess Junction there are plenty of areas that you can find to play on. If you want to talk more about kiting in the Big Horns give me a call at 307-752-6433. Later-- Eric
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