Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Honza makes 108.5 miles, Baldy to Montana

Paraglider spends 7 hours, 30 minutes aloft

Express Staff Writer

In this self-portrait, paraglider Honza Rejmanek is exhausted but ecstatic after seven-and-a-half hours in the air Saturday. Here, he has landed near Lima, Mt. Courtesy photo by Honza Rejmanek

Light winds probably prevented him from breaking a mileage record, but 33-year-old Honza Rejmanek had a great time Saturday paragliding from Baldy's summit to Lima, Mt., a distance of 108.5 miles.

He spent seven-and-a-half hours in the air after setting sail from Baldy at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Rejmanek landed about 8 p.m. near Lima, Mt., 15 miles from the Idaho border near I-15. A farmer drove by and gave him a ride into Lima.

"It was a beautiful flight, very scenic," Rejmanek said Monday in Ketchum. "I got intimate with the mountains and climbed thermals close to the peaks, although the winds aloft were very light and there wasn't much tailwind all day."

Rejmanek's goal Saturday was to break the 126-mile distance record of Hailey's Nate Scales set in Aug. 2006. "I didn't succeed, but I'll be here until Aug. 10 and my goal is to try to make 150 miles. The gliders and our knowledge are getting so much better these days that I think it's possible," he said.

On his flight Rejmanek got a good view of the 11,865-foot Devil's Bedstead peaks in the Pioneer Mountains and then made what he called "a low save" near Idaho's highest peak, the 12,662-foot Mt. Borah.

He said, "I had dropped down to about 7,000 feet, lower than a lot of Borah's hiking staging areas, but I got a great thermal and climbed to near 12,000 feet. I was fortunate because the American flag on the post atop Borah was draped—not blowing at all. It spoke for how light the winds were.

"I got to 17,000 feet over Borah, went north-northeast and jumped two more mountain ranges. I saw on the GPS that I was close to the Montana border and landed near Lima.

"A farmer drove by and gave me a ride into Lima, which is right on I-15. I tried to hitchhike on the ramp but had no luck. The operators of the gas station near the ramp invited me to stay with them at their house. I hooked up my camera to their television and showed them the pictures of my flight."

Rejmanek started hitchhiking at 7 a.m. Sunday and was back in Ketchum before noon.

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