Although roughly 14,500 people climb Mount St. Helens each year, chances are they took their time ascending 3,150 feet. That was not the case for Aaron Sales, who set an unofficial record ascent up the east face using a kiteboard.
Not only is this the first documented trip to the summit using a kite, it is also the fastest on record. Traveling from the base of the mountain to the crater rim took the co-founder of Global Sessions approximately 35 minutes using a six-square-meter inflatable kite.
In order to achieve such a quick ascent, Sales has the wind to thank. Wind speeds that day increased from 23 mph at the base, up to 46 mph closer to the rim. Once in the crater, Sales also made what was likely the highest snow kite jump filmed in North America. In the same video above, he reached more than 200 feet up in the air and did not touch back down for more than 40 seconds.
After some fun at the summit, Sales packed up his kite and snowboarded his way back to the mountain’s base. “That will go down as one of the best runs of my life,” he said in a statement to Komo News.
Sales has been going after this goal for years now, but this year’s heavy spring snowpack and ideal wind conditions created the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
“This turned into a lifetime goal for me,” Sales said. “I thrive on a good challenge, and after getting denied by the conditions for more than a decade, I decided I wasn’t going to give up until I made it.”
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