May 28, 2014
Lone Peak Hike'n'Fly
Ok, finally getting my lightweight paragliding hike'n'fly kit together. It's just been helped along by the addition of a Gin Yeti reversal harness with airbag. The Gin Yeti is about the only light harness that has any sort of back protection, so it was a no brainer for me. I think my whole kit now weighs about 10 kg, or about 22 pounds. I can and will get that number lower but for now it feels pretty light compared to my regular kit, and it's pretty compact too. As long as I squish the packing to get the zippers to close on the backpack!
No time like the present to try out everything, so on a sunny day I set out from my house to walk to the mountains and find a place to launch. We live about 3 miles from the base of Lone Peak, and I was even able to use some biking trails so it was a nice walk even in the city.
I've been eyeing this trail up the mountain all winter up the main shoulder of Lone Peak, and wanted to try it out. With the snow on it the trail was clear, so I figured it would be easy to follow. After I crossed the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, a faint cut in the hillside marks the Draper Ridge trail, no longer maintained but still a viable way up onto the hillside. The marks I had seen in the snow were in fact large cuts in the hill, with flat surfaces large enough to camp on. Big cuts. I wonder why anyone thought they were necessary?
With short grasses, the way up was steep but open and easy to navigate. As I climbed higher, the wind speed increased and got a little cross on the hill. Uh oh. It was late afternoon so I decided to wait a little and see how it went. I dropped my wing and did a little hiking around while I waited, but never got high enough for a good view of Lone Peak itself.
By 6 pm there were a lot of people flying at north side already but it was still gusty and cross where I was sitting. I decided I might wait forever for the wind to drop, so I got my gear out and waited for a small break in the wind. When it came I got off the hill safely to find much sink and more cross winds. I couldn't make it over to North Side for any lift, so within minutes I was landing in the valley. A very nice lady came out of her house and practically begged me to let her give me a ride home! It was a very nice offer but I wanted to get there and back under my own steam and set off hiking the few miles back home.
So not much flying but I did have an ADVENTURE (with capital letters). Plus I got to try out my gear so now I can tweak it a little for better performance. I definitely carried too much water...all that extra weight, uggh!