Man Claims Record Snowkiting Up Mount Saint Helens

A 42-year-old Oregon man claims his sub-35-minute ascent of Mount Saint Helens by snowkite is the fastest non-motorized ascent of the volcano ever.

snowkiting floating over mt st helens aaron sales

Aaron Sales flew 3,150 vertical feet up Mount Saint Helens in less than 35 minutes — figuratively, and sometimes, literally. The Hood River native accomplished the epic snowkite ascent after 10 years of attempts.

aaron sales snowkiting mt st helens

“It was a personal dream to see if I could do it,” he told the Seattle Times, following the treeline-to-rim summit on April 21. “After a dozen attempts with things going wrong, I was wondering if things would come together.”

Check out the video of his ride below.


Aaron Sales: Record Snowkite Up Saint Helens

Sales claims it’s both the fastest non-motorized ascent to the crater’s rim, and the first-ever by snowkite. Like most fastest-known-times (FKT), attempts on Saint Helens aren’t well-established. Strava data and message boards constitute most of the documented times.

aaron sales windy mt st helens

A fast on-foot ascent takes at least an hour, so Sales snowkite time is blistering by comparison.

Photo credit: Richard Hallman

Snowkiting is similar to water-based kiteboarding, in which a person straps their feet into a board and wears a body harness attached to a large parachute-like kite.

snowkiting up mt st helens

Sales used winds that reached 40 mph to pull him up the snowy slope, and at times his kite lifted him off the ground and carried him through the air.

After “dozens” of tries, Sales said the conditions for his latest attempt were perfect. Visibility, weather, and avalanche threat were ideal — as Sales put it, “the planets aligned.”

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing.

Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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