I was working downtown today and got off at noon, and the winds in the Fraser Valley sounded like it would be blown out so I opted for a late-day Grouse flight.
Bob Hannah was in town with a group of about 8 guests so the launch and skies were busy. In the LZ it was still quite thermic as I watched Miguel have a bumpy approach (it was about 2pm), so I decided to hang out and fly a bit later when it quieted down. Eventually went up to launch with the Seattle pilots and arrived on launch to find mostly cross cycles (which were wreaking havoc with everyone's launch, even the tandems and locals; there had already been an accident with the chairlift earlier in the day).
Very challenging launch conditions, cross from the right even though the windsocks said otherwise; I think we need to add another windsock on top of tower #5 to let us know what the wind is doing further down the slope. I think Grouse will accomodate as it's a safety measure. I didn't feel like launching when it's like that (similar launching conditions to when I broke my back at Grouse a couple years ago) so I waited until 5pm before laying out, as the cycles had straightened up by then.
Punchy lift over the gondola tower and very turbulent so after I got high there a few times to about 4400', I went over to the Cut for some not quite as high lift, but smoother overall. Got low a few times but scratched my way back up a bunch of times, then went out to land. As it was 6:30pm the thermic action that I had seen earlier in the day was absent, which made for a nice landing. The Seattle crowd and I then went to the Memphis BBQ in North Van for some vittles and then they were off to cross the border.
I find Grouse is a nice place to fly later in the day, especially if it's forecast to be windy everywhere else. Of course if it's light winds then flying earlier is preferred as you can go XC (as Fedja demonstrated a couple days ago). But if it's gonna be windy, then I don't bother flying Grouse much before 4pm.
Word from Pemberton (where Greg and Veronica are for a few days) was that it was blown out as of 12pm, and I think the FV would have been pretty honking too. Maybe Bridal was flyable later in the day?
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