Location: 5 miles south of Joseph, OR on the south east end of Wallowa Lake.
Launch: North facing, 7930 ft msl, 45.2680 Latitude, -117.1770 Longitude.
LZ: 4600 ft msl, 45.3033 Latitude, -117.1761 Longitude.
Joseph has a local repeater at 147.000 with an offset at 103.5.
Local weather page at Joseph: http://www.josephoregonweather.com/
A P4 rating is currently required to fly Mt. Howard. Launch is accessed by riding the Wallowa Lake Tramway (http://www.wallowalaketramway.com) and then hiking north about 5/8 mile to the North Valley Overlook. Before riding the tram, a waiver needs to be signed (available at the tram ticket office), your USHPA membership card shown, and a sign off by Phil Stonebrook or Todd Weigand received. Phil lives in Joseph and is typically available to sign off pilots for this site. You should contact him (543.263.1740) before making the trip so you can coordinate this detail and get a site orientation and current updates.
As of 2009, the tram ride is $24 for one day or a two day ticket for $32. With the $24 ticket, pilots can take multiple trips up the lift. This may also apply to the $32 ticket but that detail has not been confirmed. After purchasing a $32 two day ticket, additional day tickets can be purchased for $15 for a single trip up the tram for the remainder of your visit. The tram operates from mid May through September.
The launch is north facing and works with a north wind or lee side thermals. With lee side thermals, a convergence zone sets up somewhere south of launch typically over the upper tram building. Thermals are usually working well enough to provide soaring flights and XC opportunities after about 2:00 pm. A house thermal can be found north of the point located to the NW of launch. Another house thermal seems to set up north of the tree line in front of launch and works its way back over the saddle between launch and the point. Launch hazards include boulder fields to the west, east, and north and some trees and vegetation to the south. There is only enough area to lay out one wing at a time.
Top landings on the area south of launch to the west of the path are pretty straight forward. XC flights to Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine and beyond are very doable. At least one paraglider XC flight has been made south to the town of Halfway but there are few bailout LZs in that direction and the cost of not reaching Halfway is significant and quite possibly life threatening.
The state park on the south end of Wallowa Lake can no longer be used for an LZ. You will be liable for a sizeable fine if you land there. The current LZ is a very comfortable 2.5 mile glide from launch and is the field just north of launch bordered by a Turner Lane to the north and the east moraine of Wallowa Lake to the west. It's about 12 road miles from the state park so a retrieval vehicle is required.
Submitted by Jim Baldo August 14, 2009
Photo © Jim Baldo
Photo © Jerry Zeitz
Todd Weigand (541-325-9407)
Web site: http://wallowaparagliding.blogspot.com/
Wallowa Paragliding http://www.wallowaparagliding.com/Wallowa_Paragliding/Photos.html