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West Mountain

Bureau of Land Management

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Benjamin, Utah

Revised 01 Feb 2024

Location

N40º 6' 1.75" W111º 49' 18.62"

40.1005, -111.8216

Elev 6457' / 1968m

Ratings & Skills

USHPA H2 / P2
High Altitude, Foot Launch

Radio Comm

Primary . . . . . . . .  447.800

Alternate . . . . . . . . 447.825

Emergency . . . . . . 146.560

Access

Two-track dirt service road, severely washboarded, high-clearance 4WD strongly recommended. Road may be impassable winter thru mid-spring. Steep dropoffs, few turnarounds.

Known Hazards

MIdday cyclic turbulence. Poor footing on unimproved rocky launch surfaces. Lake wind effects are prominent. Winds shifting to the west will produce rotors and downflow.

Site Sensitivites

Big Pasture LZ is on BLM land that has been set aside for wetlands mitigation. Wildlife-sensitive site. Livestock and hay harvesting may be present in the LZ. Do not block roadway or gates with retrieve vehicles.

Attention All Users: West Mountain is a challenging, high-altitude mountain-thermal site. No pilot should fly at this site who is not a current USHPA and UHGPGA member holding the minimum USHPA ratings and skills indicated. Visiting and first-time users should obtain a detailed in-person pre-flight briefing from a local UHGPGA member-pilot with recent flying experience at this site. This briefing should take place at the launch site on the day of the flight. Pilots should also familiarize themselves with the known hazards and site sensitivities described in this guide. As pilot-in-command, you alone are responsible for assessing your fitness for flight, the airworthiness of your glider and equipment, the suitability of the current conditions for launch and recovery, and for continuously monitoring glider position and performance to ensure a safe landing at an approved landing zone. If in doubt, do not launch.

Road Conditions

4WD strongly recommended. 4-ply passenger tires are likely to fail on this rocky terrain. The road is not plowed and it is not gated, so proceed with extreme caution from November through late April, when snow fields and mud are typical and turn-around points may be hundreds of yards apart.

The Setup

Because the West Mountain launch areas are only loosely defined and poorly marked, it is critical that first-time pilots launch under the supervision of an UHGPGA member-pilot with experience at this site. The launches are characterized by sparse vegetation and sharp rocks underfoot. During the warm season the vast spider population in and around the structures on the summit is truly remarkable, but they appear to be a harmless species.

 

Most paragliders launch from the ridgeline indicated. For reference, sight directly down the east-west road leading to the gravel quarry below you, and you will be standing at the launch most frequently used. Hang gliders may prefer to launch from the summit closer to the antenna farm; again, launch areas are poorly defined and unmarked, with no permanent tie-downs. Wind streamers from previous users may be present.

West Mountain favors an east or north wind. West winds will produce rotors and down-flow. Do not launch with a tailwind! By midday, expect strong cyclic thermic turbulence.

Strong east or northeast winds, while unusual for this site, can produce soarable ridge lift.

2024 West Mountain Launch Detail.webp
Landing Zone:

As its name implies, Big Pasture LZ is a 22-acre fenced hayfield in various stages of propagation throughout the warm season. Note the 50-foot-tall wires and poles along the west and south perimeters. The field is wide and flat with a stable, firm landing surface that may be plowed, newly planted, tall hay, or close-cut stubble. Hay bales may be present. Livestock is unlikely since this is a wildlife mitigation buffer zone, but if the field is being grazed, give animals a wide berth.

The property manager has asked that we avoid crowds of gliders in the field, so promptly exit the LZ after landing, disassemble or fold your glider, and depart the pasture. Climb out at the rigid pipe corral in the southeast corner and avoid scaling fences and gates.

Though farmland is plentiful along the base of West Mountain and along its shorelines, we do not have permission to land in any of these other fields. Unplanned landings on agricultural land outside the Big Pasture LZ should be as close as possible to fence lines, allowing for rapid disassembly and removal of your glider. Use gates whenever possible. Only climb across fences as a last resort, and only at corner posts. Leave all gates as you found them.

West Mountain Big Pasture GE LZ Details Labeled.webp
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