The Buffalo Plateau in Absaroka Mountains, Wy is a massive plateau that is likely the largest snowkite area in the Continental USA. It’s a fairly high plateau between 10,000 and 11,000 feet the entire way across. Predictable Winds and often the best snowpack in the country made this one of our kiting goals years ago. Its approach is quite a challenge for such a huge area. Next to some marshlands in Louisiana it contains a point further from any road in the continental US. We’ve loaded up and attempted about 5 times. Many sticky situations lost in the woods and even spent the night with Pascal and Wayne where we found some sweet snow caves left from some winter campers of some sort.
That evening of the overnighter 2 years ago was a success in a sense because I kited SE wind on the approach of the plateau about 12 miles into the adventure. We planned for that SE wind knowing it would hit the plateau with massive lift. I pumped right up and took off exploring thinking Wayne and Pascal were right behind me. They always beat me to climbing the steeps first and navigate tight spots that I sometimes ski instead of kite. I therefore felt pressure to hurry and discover where we were. I ultimately slipped off this steep slope leading to a massive glide over trees and cliffs with no landing in mind. It turned out fine, I just had to compose myself to veer across this valley and land as high as possible so I had a kitable route back. For me that moment was one of the most amazing in my life, I could barely get any sleep that night in the snow cave I was so exhilarated.
Now, we’ve pushed it one step further in success. It’s basically taken us each getting sleds and spending time learning to ride them hard.
I saw the forecast coming and talked Clint into sledding the route with me the day before to make sure a couple of spots were passable before I rallied the group. We got about 15miles in to where there’s this huge steep slope. We turned back there for the day, but I knew we had a shot coming back ready with some strong sledneck skills and man power. Me Benji, Fox, Pascal, and Wayne were the crew for this day.
Once we all arrived at that steep slope Benji believed it possible and gave it a go. The climb is about 100’ with a nearly vertical top. The right side falls off to cliffs dropping 1000’ down, and the other side rolls off to a bottomless ravine that’s a horrible avalanche trap. After watching Benji pull off the drop in and climb back out we all reluctantly went for it. After that we were scared the entire time about having to climb back out. Another 3 miles of carefully breaking trail through trees and Avy terrain getting stuck a handful of times and boom! We made it!
What a day to leave my camera in the car. I snapped a few just so you’d believe we made it with my phone camera.
Now the Goal is to make it further. Yount’s peak area is my hope. Leaving the sleds at the Wilderness Boundary and kiting from there for about 15miles taking overnight gear and hopefully remembering my camera. I hope to camp at the base of some epic kite climbable peaks.
You JH Kiters are killing it. Billy Boardy too, you people are fearless huckers. Fearless.The light, the snow, the crazy route. The mighty glides. Absolute ragged edge. I am coming out, take me out there......either way, lets go play. 310-617-3699 Dave
Can't seem to conquer facebook from my phone. I wanted to shralp IP "waves" on the impending N winds but yesterday baked a nice crusty finish on all the low stuff. You got any higher windlips that take a north? Looking at the coastal buoys it really slammed hard. 5 meter wind in 5 minutes....