Monkey Business- Kia’s account of a winter adventure

kia ravanfar

“Kia, there is a 30% chance I might throw my reserve tomorrow.” As soon as Dave said those words, in my mind I was thinking- “OK, that means probably more like 90%.” His plan was to try some new acro moves. My plan was to survive flying my 9.5m fluid.

At 4am the alarm goes off, and Dave, Brett, Haytham and I are out the within 10 min. “Did anyone sleep last night?” Dave asks. We all say something along the lines of, “errrrr….hmmmm.” We slip out from Dave’s place, leaving Tawny sleeping quietly with little Inyo.

It’s still dark as we leave the car and begin skinning up the mountain. And it is COLD! I want to cover my mouth with my balaclava to retain some of my body heat but it makes me smell the alcohol on my breath from last night- and makes me want to puke. So I breathe in the frigid air and let it sting my lungs. Even my headlamp goes out from the biting cold. Dave and I hardly exchange a word but we know exactly what we are both thinking, this is SUFFERING! But we both are all too familiar with the word so we just put one foot in front of the next and continue up the mountain.

The sky begins seeing traces of light and I decide to pull out the iPod and crank up Glitch Mob. Dave sees me put in music and soon after, he’s yelling out versus from gangsta rap. The mountain was calm and peaceful but now we are riled-up and disrupting the silence with monkey calls coming from the pit of out stomachs.

By 11 am we find a good place to launch. Dave opens up his wing, and within minutes he is airborne with a celebratory monkey call. I watch as he flys out over the LZ. After some crazy manuever, I watch his wing buck around in the sky like a raging bull. But he can’t get thrown off. He’s harnessed in. The wing balls up and I watch a small blob begin falling. I know that’s the point I should see a small white cloud appear, and within a few seconds it did. The reserve parachute greets him, and takes him down. I began laughing out loud until I see him drift all the way to the ground. I call him immediately to make sure he’s not stuck in a tree or anything. “The helicopter turned into a wobbly copter!!”

tree flying

My turn! Soon after I spread my wings, lock into my skis, and wrap my toggles around my wrists. No wind- perfect! I’m riled! But then I stop and take a deep breath. I can’t get too excited about flying fast close to terrain. I could pound in, and chances are it could be disasterous. I don’t want that.

I point my skis down the mountain, and my wing greets me with a perfect inflation. I launch into the air and come back down to touch my skis… back in the air…. Touch down again. This time I put my arms up and put my wing into a dive. I’m am now skiing faster than I ever have at what feels like 60 mph. I can feel the air pressure straining my cheeks back before I pull on my toggles lifting off again. The last thousand feet I come around buzzing tree tops within a couple of feet before landing.

I allow myself to breath and count down. I descended about 3500 ft in less than 3 min. Once I caught my breath, I let out a mandatory monkey call and was soon greeted by the rest of the monkey tribe. Walking back to the car with my wing in one hand and a beer in the other

Happy birthday Dave Turner!

 

-Kia Ravanfar

monkey call

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