Kepp's Crossing Near Idaho Falls 2009 - RC Groups
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Jan 10, 2009, 10:16 PM
I DS slower than I build!
Cory's Avatar

Kepp's Crossing Near Idaho Falls 2009

Believe it or not, it's time to start the Kepp's Crossing thread for 2009 already. Today I went snowshoeing with Emily, my 5 year old, up on the foothills. Unfortunately because of the recent warm temperatures, where we tried first there was a lot of open ground. When the winds blew the last little while, it put a lot of dust on top of the rest of the snow. Rather than snowshoe in brown and tan snow, we drove over to Kepp's Crossing Road to give it a try. The last time I had been there was Christmas Eve. There was a large drift, probably about 4 feet deep, across the road then. The county usually plows out about 400 yards of the road and makes a parking area for snowmobilers. I was planning on parking there and snowshoeing. To my surprise, even at that higher altitude, there had been a lot of melting. Also, somebody, I'd guess one of the ranchers who owns land up the road, had plowed past where the county stops. Honestly, I think that most of the road would have been passable even if it hadn't been plowed, except for a few drifts across the dugway. Yes, I was able to drive past the DS hill and all the way up to the cliffs flying site! There is almost no snow on top of the cliffs or on the front side of the DS hill. The road is open past the cliffs, but I didn't check how far. Hiking up to the DS ridge from the shooting range looked like it would be pretty easy without snowshoes. If I had realized it was this open I would have been up there flying yesterday! Unfortunately there wasn't much wind while I was up there, and it was late enough in the day that I couldn't have ran home to get a plane and made it back up before dusk anyway.

Back in the 90's I did a lot of coyote hunting in the hills east of the cliffs, even during the winter. I usually was able to get quite a way into the mountains most of the year, even back when I just had a Celica. I hadn't spent much time up in that area during the winter for several years, but based on that history I thought we'd have a lot more access last year than what we ended up with. Of course there's no guarantees what will happen, but right now the access is very similar to what we had up there through much of the mid 90's. The really nice thing is that our snow pack levels are pretty good, even though we don't have much snow at the lower elevations of the flying sites. It's like we can have our cake and fly too!

Right now is not forecasting any snow through next Wednesday. As long as that holds I will be up there next Friday or Saturday if we have wind. Who wants to come?
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Jan 10, 2009, 11:27 PM
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Jan 10, 2009, 11:34 PM
U down with EPP? Ya u know me!
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Originally Posted by Cory

Back in the 90's I did a lot of coyote hunting in the hills east of the cliffs, even during the winter...

How do they taste?
Jan 11, 2009, 06:20 AM
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Jan 12, 2009, 12:45 PM
Fly Smooooooooth
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Subscribed also

Guess I better finish my JW and put some more ballast in the Mach Dart.
Jan 12, 2009, 07:01 PM
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Happy New Year

Pete in Idaho
Jan 12, 2009, 07:46 PM
hot air rises...
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ohh, that reminds me. I better get humpin' on my JW too!
Jan 13, 2009, 01:07 AM
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I hope to visit this year for the first time, so I'd also better finish my builds. See ya soon.
Jan 13, 2009, 12:11 PM
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Right now is not forecasting any snow through next Wednesday. As long as that holds I will be up there next Friday or Saturday if we have wind. Who wants to come?[/QUOTE]

Absolutely subscribed, and Happy New Year to all Keppsters!

I was up at the snowmobile trailer parking area S. of Bone (S. of Kepps) on Sunday and the wind was fierce, est 25 g 35, from S-SW, but the tops of the wind turbines were in cloud. On the way out I realized that if my hat or gloves fell off, they would be so gone, that I might succumb before getting out to the truck. I was extra careful and glad I had a spares of each. Also, even though there was very little loose snow, it was drifting anywhere the wind was concentrated by the terrain. We made it out with the Subaru, but only because we were following a 3/4 ton pickup pulling a snowmobile trailer. Skiing was OK as there was a bit of new on top of the crust, but the crust was very firm, nearly enough to walk on in many spots. It was extreme post-holing in the shadows or drifts. The Eagle Pass road was totally drifted in and blocked with a barricade. Barely any snow from the landfill clear back to town.

Did not get to check the main Kepp's road, but I could see the DS hill and I did not notice any planes flying at 1 pm or 5 pm. It would have been tough to stay out of the overcast, in my estimate. Also, pretty brutally cold with ice particles beating on our faces going in and coming back out.

Jan 15, 2009, 11:17 PM
I DS slower than I build!
Cory's Avatar
So far the whole weekend looks like a bust. Martin Luther King day has the best forecast and it's not very promising. I'll be watching the windmills from my house. If I see them moving much I'll give it a try.
Feb 09, 2009, 05:58 PM
I DS slower than I build!
Cory's Avatar
Murphy strikes again. The whole three or four weeks the road was open I don't think I saw wind speeds over 5 mph, so I never attempted to fly. The road is now impassable again with a car or truck. I snowshoed about half way in last Thursday just for a quick workout before it got dark. Weatherunderground is forcasting winds in the low teens tomorrow. This is the best I've seen for a while. I think I may need a flying fix! It's been almost two months since I've flown. I'm probably going to snowshoe in with my Speedo Thermo in the last half of tomorrow afternoon. I won't be on the hill very long, but hopefully it will be worth the trip.
Feb 11, 2009, 08:15 PM
I DS slower than I build!
Cory's Avatar
Yesterday afternoon I snowshoed in to the Keppís Crossing DS hill with my Speedo Thermo. I had a limited amount of time. I couldnít get away from work very early and needed to be back to the truck by about 6 to get to a meeting across town. I started walking at 4:30. It was a bit chilly but not bad while generating body heat. Temps were 20į F when I left the truck and 17į F when I got back. It was almost twice as windy as forecast. I donít know what the windchill was but it was a bit icy. I showshoed in approximately 1 Ĺ miles to the shooting range. This took about a half hour. I followed the road all the way in. The road surface is pretty crusty from all the snowmobiles. It was an easy walk. I didnít see any snowmobiles, which made the trip nice and peaceful. Next time Iíll cut up on to the plateau that we drive in on. I think it will cut a bit off the trip, mainly because I wonít have to descend into the canyon and then have to climb back up. A week ago when I drove up to the snowmobile parking area, the whole DS hill was blanketed in snow. Yesterday the front face was mostly bare dirt. I left my showshoes at the beginning of the bare dirt and hiked up. To my surprise the hill was muddy, despite the cold temperature. I guess that just goes to show how much terrain-to-sun angle affects how much heat is absorbed. I should have taken my snowshoes with me, because half way up I ran into snow that I couldnít see from the bottom and was post-holing up to my knees some times. I heard two coyotes bark at me while I was climbing. I saw a pretty well used deer trail with coyote tracks on it where I stopped to fly. Next time maybe I should bring my 22-250 and snow camo.

I did not have enough time to climb all the way up to our normal flying area. I stopped just above where the unauthorized hill climb road from the shooting range meets the normal road on the main pitch of the climb. I had enough clothes in my pack to keep warm for an extended stay, but by the time I got up there I knew I only had about 15 minutes flying time if I wasnít going to be late getting back, so I didnít bother putting anything on except for my fleece over my shell and my face mask. I was pretty sweaty even though I was hiking with minimal layers on, so when I went up to the lip to measure the wind I got pretty chilled. I didnít end up getting an accurate measurement because I didnít want to get chilled to bad in the stronger wind at the very edge. I got 15 mph, which Iím certain is low. The plane flew like it was blowing about 25. The lift was good, but the Speedo Thermo is light enough that it doesnít carry a lot of energy into that kind of wind. It only penetrates adequately because it has such a small frontal area. I had a fun flight for about 10-15 minutes. I didnít try to DS. The back side didnít look safe to attempt a recovery on, and my skills are such that my chances of needing one are pretty high. As is my habit, I took several purposeful high passes to explore the air in the LZ, gradually getting lower each time. On my final pass, I got the plane down to about 4-6 inches off the snow, but it just wouldnít settle in. Ever since I adjusted the CG back it just wants to keep on floating! Since the plane was so low and it was only snow I thought Iíd push the nose in and do a one point landing. I should have gone around, because by the time I pushed I had ran out of snow and had gotten to the bare earth. I broke the wing bolt, but no other damage.

As I descended the hill my ascending tracks in the mud had frozen solid. I donít think it could have been more than 40 minutes later, but the sun was pretty much down. I made it back to the truck at 6:15 with adequate daylight. Next time Iíll probably bring my P-40 and/or Reaper. Both would have flown well this trip, but the forecast didnít look strong enough for them. Next time Iíll be better prepared.

Iíve got to get back up there again with a foam pad to sit on, thermos of hot chocolate, put my coveralls and shell pants on, and enjoy an hour or so of flying one of these winter days. Anyone want to go with me next time? Any Cali guys who think it's ever cold on your hills? Iíve got a second pair of snowshoes. I think that to go all the way to the normal flying area and fly for an hour would require 3 Ĺ -4 hours round trip.
Last edited by Cory; Feb 11, 2009 at 08:21 PM.
Feb 11, 2009, 08:26 PM
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prplgoat's Avatar
i'm going to keep building for a couple weeks!
maybe go to california for some flying time in nice warm +40 deg temps! wow that looks cold.

Feb 11, 2009, 09:08 PM
Registered User
Nice pics Cory, thanks. It's nice to see that place in it's winter dress. Hey, you should get all your building done soon so you can maiden those hard to dial planks in the forgiving snow cover.
p.s.-you get the hardcore award for flying late in the day in that cold.
Feb 12, 2009, 12:01 AM
I DS slower than I build!
Cory's Avatar
It really wasn't all that cold for most of the trip. I had light synthetic long johns on with my nylon hiking pants that I use in the summer and a polyesther T-shirt, my coat shell with the pit zips and chest pocket vents opened, thin windstopper gloves and hat, and a spandex biking belaclava. I wouldn't want to wear less, but I was plenty warm and had worked up a bit of a sweat by the time I got on the hill. The only thing I added was my fleece coat and windstopper face mask for flying. Thicker layers would be needed for a longer flying session. A dry pair of gloves would help for flying, too. I had them but didn't use them. My face got a little cold around the edges on the way out since I was going into the wind, but other than that it wasn't bad at all.

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