As you fly the ridge, you must pay attention to how the mountain is changing ahead of you. One important change is if the elevation of the mountain is increasing or decreasing. If the mountain is getting lower ahead, be careful!
The solution is to maintain a constant altitude over a low section of ridge. If you’re able to maintain a selected altitude, then you’re doing well. If you start settling down, be ready to turn back on a moment’s notice.
The downhill trap occurs when you drive along the ridge while maintaining constant altitude in relation to the crest, but you are in fact sinking down along a descending mountain. The lift could be pretty weak, but yet you could maintain high speed down on the tree tops.
When you run out of mountain ahead of you and turn around, you will instantly find yourself low and slow. You will see the mountain extending way above you. At best, you will limp along in weak lift trying to climb along in the increasing elevation, scared out of your wits. At worst, you will promptly fall off the ridge.
The Blairstown ridge extending from Sunfish Pond to the Delaware Water Gap is an example of a section that has this trap. As you build experience and prepare to fly the local ridge, pay special attention to this area and don’t make this mistake!