Strong wind and Steep slopes made for an interesting adventure up at the bighorns Thursday and Friday. Clint and I busted a quick minivan mission hoping for lighter winds Thursday then stronger winds on Friday. Turns out both days were strong.
We actually started at Medicine Mountain. After riding there with SSW we decided to go for more snow coverage at Mount Baldy. Clint took his sled over and I kited. The kite would have been more fun with less wind, I got close to some trees and some power lines. I think I heard the lines didn’t have power running through them, but as soon as I got to that ridge with the NOAA ball on it I was so overpowered it sucked. I just sucked it up and kept going to make it down the ridge to the sled trail. Then a 2 mile tack to the right and you’re at the sweet spot.
That afternoon I was reminded that if you’re powered enough, and winds blowing straight up a nearly vertical slope…you may have to fly like it or not.
I was overpowered on my Ozone Edge 13 and it was easy to go up the slope. I could pull my bar in and go right up, but when I had to avoid going over the back and stop short of the top I naturally turned my kite to the edge of the wind window. On that steep slope I just slid down the slope so fast that I was under my kite with speed. One side was rock the other fell out from under me. It was basically an unavoidable launch for me. I flew off overpowered. With a shaka’s worth of depower and my bar pined against the stopper I carefully flew across the slope as slow and easy as I could. Flying so depowered my kite it wobbled extra funny in the gusts. I managed to fly to the edge of the slope and turn into the wind where the hill was less steep and I just sank out with no ground speed. I never really went super high, but I did have some big terrain features pass by underneath. Ultimately getting blown over the back of something like that is mind boggling. I see that video of Alex Petersen soaring on that bluff in California on youtube and I can’t believe it.
Anyway, the second day I came prepared with my Ozone C4 9m and had a well powered session. I even practiced some jibbing and powered loops to get my water feet back under me. Clint was doing a great job and being in the right spot while I was snapping some pictures, looks like he’s getting tubed at Teahupo’o… it gets steep up there!
It’s getting so warm everywhere there’s not much time left, but I do see one more storm lining up next week!