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Walt's Point

Memorial Day Opener 2007
MSL 9,100
AGL 5,000
Glide to LZ
Rating/Skills H3/P3 (morning flights)

H4/P4 (mid day)

Wind Directions SW, W
Season Memorial Day until road closed due to snow
Site Type

<googlemap lat="36.519294" lon="-118.070755">

36.472737, -118.115162, Launch 36.513913, -118.100538, Postage Stamp Bailout LZ 36.556533, -118.053761, Lake Diaz LZ </googlemap>


Probably the most famous of the numerous launches in the infamous Owen's Valley is Walt's Point, located 9,000' up on the Sierra Escarpment. This site has been the origin of men's and women's world records, thousands of personal best flights, and hundreds of "there I was, thought I was gonna die" stories.


Hang glider pilots have been flying from Walt's Point since the mid seventies. Before the advent and popularity of flatland flying sites in Texas and Florida, The Owen's Valley was where you went if you wanted really big air. Since the mid-nineties the number of pilots on a given weekend has dropped off considerably - but Walts' is still the destination of choice for many seeking long flights and the incredible vistas available from high up over the Sierra Nevada range.


Walt's Point sits on the sheer edge of the Sierra's, a northeast trending fault escarpment that has elevated the mountains to an average height of 14,000'. Just a few miles north of launch sits Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S. at 14,505'. The valley floor far below averages 4,000'.

Walt's Point is a morning launch. As the valley floor heats up thermals start powering through launch around 9 am, usually the ideal launch time is 9:30 to 10 am. Eventually, typically around 11 am - 12 pm, the westerlies will start blowing over the back, and you want to be far north up the Sierras, ready to cross over to the White Mountains, when the rotor from the westerlies sets up.

Because of the topographic characteristics of the Owen's Valley, with it's relatively narrow valley bordered by extremely high mountains, weather changes here can be dramatic - and happen fast. Attention should be paid to cloud development, wind increases and changes in direction, dust devils, and all the other signs of a very dynamic weather system.


There is no club responsible for any of the sites in the Owen's.

Site Records

FW: Mark Gibson 252 Miles; FW(Out and Return): George Stebbins 207.6 Miles; RW: Tony Deleo 206 Miles; Women's FW: Kari Castle 200 Miles; PG: Dean Stratton 147.4 Miles