Paraglider Launching at Point of Mountain, Draper, Utah
photographed with a Ricoh FF-20 twin rig; auto everything point and shoots synched with twinned electronic cable release. Crouched on a mountain spur jutting onto the flatlands south of Salt Lake City, the legendary Point of Montain Flight Park attracts hang gliding and paragliding enthusiasts from six continents. On summer afternoons a sea breeze from the Great Salt Lake sloshes inland 26 flat miles to the Point where, yielding to the geologic immobility of the steep 300 foot lower ridge, it bends upward to create the consistent rising drafts these bold aviators need to sustain flights lasting several hours. Experienced fliers scour the space in front of the lower ridge for the invisible thermal in which they circle higher and higher and then back into the lift band in front of the majestic 1,500 foot upper ridge. Once above the higher spine, the best and bravest waft miles east to the 11,000 foot peaks seen here on the horizon.
This stereo view captures a local pilot seconds after he launched his intermediate Edel Saber from the lower bench. Below launch immediately after take-off, he quickly worked the ridge lift to gain altitude, spiraled skillfully in the core of a tiny thermal, and "benched up." Within a few years, development (notice the red crane boom in the middle distance) in Utah's booming urban corridor will engulf and destroy the POM Flight Park.