When we got up to launch today it was light winds all over the place so we decided to call an out and return so that people could land at Nicholson LZ and not have the multiple hour retrieve like yesterday. We called a 78 km task out to the 25 km mark, back to launch and across to Moberly Peak, over to the other side of the valley by Nicholson, and back to Nicholson.
As the afternoon went on it looked too stable for such a task (smoke, inverted, just as hot on launch as on the ground, etc.) that we decided to shorten the task to 57 km (replace the 25 km turnpoint with a closer one, and leave everything else the same).
My ankle was still quite sore so I had borrowed a brace and had it laced up as tight as it would go, and made sure to wait for a nice reversible cycle. I launched OK and then it was time to thermal. It was more unstable than the sky indicated, and pretty soon cu’s started popping and we were getting to 3000m over Mt. 7. Obviously we could have stayed with the original task!
At the start I crossed to Pagliaro along with the lead gaggle and then over to the first turnpoint. Winds were light so going there and returning wasn’t a big deal, and the lift was getting better all the time. Crossed back to Mt. 7 and got high for the crossing over the Kicking Horse canyon and Trans-Canada highway.
There are several ways to go at this point…you can cross over to Table mountain (only if you are stinking high since there are no LZ’s back there and it’s often windy), you can cross over to Sugarloaf/Breadloaf (whatever it’s called), or you can cross direct to Moberly (a long glide if you are not high). Most people chose the crossing to the loaf and then to either the mountain next to Table or Moberly after that; I saw Will cut the corner and cross straight to Moberly to catch up to the lead gaggle (he had launched late and was trying to catch up…a bold move!). I crossed to the loaf and then to the peak just behind Moberly, got high, and crossed to Moberly itself. It was kinda windy from the north at this point and getting the turnpoint was a challenge since it was out in the valley. I was forced to ridge soar for about 20 minutes until I tagged the turnpoint and then turned tail back to the other peak next to Table, where I was able to top up to 3000m and the glide back to Mt. 7 lookout launch.
The crossing back was uneventful…I got to the tits, climbed up to launch height, and then went on final glide for the last turnpoint (which is just past the goalfield…if you make the turnpoint you can make the goalfield no problem). I noticed a lot of people attempting to make the last turnpoint direct from Moberly (flying over the town) and not getting high enough to get above the bench on the west side of the valley, and being forced to turn around to avoid the trees for the glide back to the LZ. I made sure to have lots of height for the last turnpoint and came into the goalfield with plenty of altitude. My flying today was a bit slower than in past days (only about 17th out of 34 people making goal), but I wanted to make sure I made the goalfield as I didn’t want to chance an outlanding and have to walk out on my ankle, so I was flying very conservatively this time!
There were lots of people in the LZ but not all of them had made goal. But everyone had a great time, flying to the north for a change, and the last bit (the Mt. 7 to Moberly, and back to Mt. 7) was quite technical which appealed to a lot of people. There were lots of tactical decisions to be made during this part of the flight, and depending on how high you were, your glide, and which route you chose, you were either making goal or not.
No epics today, no reserve tosses or tree landings, and everyone had a great time. And there are still 2 days to go before the end of this comp!