Last Updated 02/25/2022
This site, Rampart Ridge, is a historic unmaintained, and unimproved alpine site. This guide is for historic reference purposes only.
Located on the E side of Snoqualmie Pass, Rampart Ridge offers spectacular views of the Cascades and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Both launch and landing require strong H-3+ skills and high “bump tolerance” for mid-day flying if there’s a significant lapse rate or wind due to uneven launch topography and trees along with potentially extreme LZ rotor and thermic turbulence.
Protocol: Land on dry lake bed.
Contacts: Paul Dees, (206) 618-7188 or Ron Barbera (206) 409-3127
Flying Season: Late Summer, Fall
Access: Gravel, 2WD.
Launch Elevation: 4500 MSL
Type: Steep gravel slope
Wind speed and direction: W 0-10mph
Maximum Gust Differential: 10mph
Notes: There is also a launch farther up the road which is typically used by paragliders
Soarable: Yes, R/T
LZ Elevation: 2500 MSL
Type: Lake bed
Obstructions: Rotor turbulence from Hyak.
Notes: Lake Kacheelus level needs to be below 2468ft to expose the aircraft-carrier landing area, which usually happens by late July.
Additional Notes: There is a military training route that runs up the valley and it is not uncommon to see fast, low-flying jet come through the valley below you! These are scheduled training missions and you can find out when they will occour. If you’re going to fly here contact Whidbey Naval Air Operations at 1-800-360-3050 or 360-257-2877. Tell them you are a citizen pilot flying a HG/PG checking on scheduled flights on VR 1355 MTR.
Because this site sits at the top of a mountain pass the winds can become very strong, very quickly. Rule of thumb is to compare the barometric pressure of Seattle and Wenatchee. If it is less than 5 millibars (metric) difference (west to east), then the winds may be light enough to allow safe flying.
Kevin Cosley provides these notes on landing at Rampart, keyed to his photo/map below:
The majority of the landings are good and fun. It’s usually not bad but we are landing in the middle of the mountains in wind after all. Expect turbulence the last few hundred feet.
A: The standard LZ, aka Carrier Deck: Usually fine but it’s not uncommon to encounter big sink and rotor here. Lately more people have been landing o n the west side of the road here (to the right of the A). You don’t get a rotor off the road when the wind is cross and you have more directions you can land in.
B: “Gobi”: The smoothest air is here in my experience, and it’s huge. If you’re worried about landing at the standard LZ because of turbulence this is a good option. I do most of my tandem landings here. You will have to wade through shin deep water in the creek to get back to your car.
C: Truck Stop LZ. A landing option for when the lake is up covering the Standard LZ. The air here can be extremely variable in direction and velocity for some reason, especially in the middle of the afternoon, and there are stumps around the edge. I don’t think wheels would work here as the grass is a little tall and the ground a little uneven. The good news is the ground is made of Nerf, very soft. If you pound in you bounce back up 🙂
D: The Boat Ramp. We used to land here all the time. I can’t remember why now though is does become dry before the Standard LZ. Big sink and rotor are pretty normal here in my experience.
E: Pounder’s Field. Named for the quality of many of the landings there. This is the first LZ to appear as the lake begins to go down in the Spring/Summer. You need to hike your glider out through the trees to get to the road. Switchy winds and rotor. Many people get the rug pulled out from under them on final. The ground is soft, like the Truck Stop LZ, as long as you don’t hit a stump or other crunchy bits.
T: There’s a reliable house thermal here. When the ridge is not working one can frequently come here to get up and stay up. Sometimes you can find it just across the freeway over this end of the lakebed also.