Snowkiting Mount Washington and the Presidentials
“Kitemountaineering” is essentially climbing mountains with a kite. As a climber would climb mountains using modern tools like crampons, ice axes, Alpine Touring ski/snowboard gear, we now add a kite to allow uphill and traversing travel on and up slopes at speeds unheard of until now!
Your guide and Instructor Zebulon Jakub has spent the last 18 years climbing on and around Mount Washington and the last 14 years guiding professionally (with International Mountain Climbing School) rock, ice, and snow all over the Presidential Peaks of NH. Working with IMCS he is the only guide to be permitted with the USFS and the White Mountain National Forest to guide kitemountaineering trips in the White Mountains.
Adding to the possibilities of what can be done in the mountains with a kite, has become worldwide, one of the newest and most trend setting challenges for the mountain culture in general. But also one of the newest trends and points of interest for snowkiters in New England as many other famous location for mountain kiting are in the western part of the US, Europe, and other International areas around the globe.
Currently, Zebulon Jakub is also the only snowkiter to summit almost all the Peaks on the Presidential Ridge including the famous Mount Washington (known for its 231 mile per hour winds on April 12 1934) all powered by snowkite. With Mount Washington being one of the most challenging to truly summit, as the buildings and obstacles on the summit make for a very difficult and even dangerous setting to stand with kite on the summit.
Over the last 9 years, Zebulon has explored the upper ridges and plateaus of the Presidential range to find some of the most surreal and challenging kiting found on the East Cost and possibly in the USA. Now with the experience from guiding and kiting alike, kitemountaineering courses are offered to folks curious about snowkiting Mount Washington in NH.
Kitemountaineering Courses:(these are full day (8 hour) courses and are priced per person)
$195 for a semi-private ( per person)
$185 for a group of three (per person & Intro Course Only).* please note* Any more students then 2 (3 or more students) can only be enrolled in the Intro course. Int. and Adv. courses are only offered on 1:1 and 2:1 ratios’s. In all our courses a certain set of Mountaineering gear in required this is part of the course and is included with the price of the course. These items include;crampons, ice axe, harness, ropes, climbing equipment, winter camping gear, and helmets. Any over night courses have a additional fee to cover food, & camping costs (permits).
Introduction to Kitemountaineering:
(for kiters who have not kited in mountainous terrain)
Here we learn more about mountaineering than anything else. In fact this course is basically a “Recon” trip where we will meet at the International Mountain Climbing School located in North Conway, NH and in our “classroom”, cover all the basics about general mountaineering including; proper clothing, backpack, foot gear (crampons and micro spikes) and foot wear (boots) needed, ski and board options and there pro’s and con’s, weather for mountains /reading the weather for how it affects kiting, navigation for kiting (intro to GPS, UTM Plotting cards, Map, Compass, and white out travel skills) , as well as what you MUST have as a kiter in your pack to be prepared for the terrain and type of kiting you may find above tree-line.
We then discuss the options for the day (east side of Mount Washington vs. the west side) and head to Mount Washington to feel the real deal of what you would have to potentially climb up and down if the winds died or were too strong. We are carrying all the kite gear including the kite size/type that is most typically used for Mount Washington and the Presidential Peaks. As we ascend we will analyze the terrain and be on constant contact with our map and compass as we would be checking to see our potential “escape routes”, that you would need to be aware of for kiting moves you very fast and very far.
Intermediate Mountain Kiting:
(For kiter who think they know what they are doing in mountainous terrain)
This course is all about getting a feel for what you are about to get into. We start out in our classroom located at International Mountain Equipment in North Conway, NH. Here we discuss and review everything that would be covered in the Intro course described above but only faster as you should know what you basically doing in the mountain of NH and have had experience ON Mount Washington or other Presidential peaks.
In this course we really cover the methods in which kiting on mountains differs from kiting on flat lakes and/or rolling hills of the Mount Washington Valley, Tug Hill and or anywhere that may have”soft” terrain features. Kiting on the mountains of New Hampshire and really moving around is not like simply kiting on a field or patch snow, as the terrain can have a spell bounding effect on you and your kite. Going up slopes up to 45 degrees and kiting across slopes at 45 degrees or potentially more takes a very good understanding of what you can an cannot do with your kite. The mountains of NH have terrain that can be found in very few places (including out west) as there are very few significantly large flat spots above tree line. So if you were to become accidentally airborne by flying your kite improperly, you may be in a very dangerous position very quickly. But have no fear, we will cover all the flying techniques needed to truly understand the reality of kiting above tree-line.
Advanced Mountain Kiting:
(for those who have been in the Presidential mountains and/or on Mount Washington with a kite before and area ready to kite all over the place and or summit peaks)
Here you are basically ready to be kiting on the mountains of New Hampshire and you are ready to really move around. Everything in the Intro and Int courses is understood and you have kited out west in the mountains of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, or Idaho (see our guided snowkite trips out west) and understand kiting up hill as well as downhill kiting.
We tailor those skills that you have already to the terrain of Mount Washington. Your guide Zebulon Jakub will bring you to the best spots that are currently ridable.
In this course we basically plan the day ahead of time and head up to what goals we have created. Primarily to try to snowkite as much as possible and also being sure that the day pre kiting has been prepared like the Intro and Int. courses teach as well as adding the option of overnight snowkite adventures. As we cover more ground in this course (if conditions are ideal) we will also discuss potential gliding areas as well as pads that are recommended for the terrain that we would be kiting in.
March 31 (Easter) 2013. Instructor Zebulon Jakub was able to log in over 18 miles of riding south of Mount Washingtons Summit. Riding the Bigelow Lawn, Mount Monroe, all around Ammonusic Ravine and Lakes of the Clouds AMC hut as well as Summit Mount Washington twice in one day. Then of course He enjoyed a great ski down into Burts Ravine and back to the car. Round trip was about 7 hours of total snowkite bliss!