An adventurer from Oregon set what he believes is a record last Friday by summiting Mount St. Helens using only a snowkite, a feat he thinks nobody else has ever accomplished.
Aaron Sales, a 42-year-old avid snowkiter from Hood River, Oregon, told the Seattle Times that he successfully ascended 3,150 vertical feet last week in under 35 minutes, harnessing winds of roughly 40 miles per hour to power his snowkite up the face of famous stratovolcano in Washington state.
He told the newspaper that not only does he believe he is the only person to ever reach the top of Mount St. Helens via a snowkite, but that he likely set a record for the fastest non-motorized ascent to the peak.
“Nobody had done it before … it was a personal dream to see if I could do it,” he told the newspaper. “After a dozen attempts with things going wrong, I was wondering if things would come together.”
Sales told KGW that he had been planning the trip for over a decade, but in each of his previous 12 failed attempts, the conditions never arrived to allow him to conquer the challenge.
After reaching the summit, Sales tried his hand at what he believes is the highest snowkite jump ever recorded in North America, launching himself 200 feet in the air off the top of the mountain.
After 10 years of trying to reach the summit of Mt St Helens on my snowkite, my dream became reality. The speed record to the crater rim has been broken. This is a great step for #kiteboarding and proves how effective a tool a kite can be in the backcountry to travel further, faster and higher. Thanks to each and everyone one of you who supported this project and believed in me along the way. I thought of you all as I stood on the rim and stared into the crater. @global_sessions @hmkusa @zealoptics @insitu_inc @richardhallman_photo @airtimekite @slingshotkite #snowkite #explore
After all was said and done, Sales packed away his kite, and took one long run from summit to base on his snowboard.
“That will go down as one of the best runs of my life,” Sales told KOMO News.
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