Bridal June 26

Windy in the Fraser Valley so I think it would have been blown-out for most of the afternoon at Woodside, but Bridal was definitely flyable! When we showed up at the LZ Wally was already in the air and staying up, and it stayed flyable until at least 8pm (he got about 6 hours today).

In the air it was a bit windy, but totally flyable, and people flew the entire range from Elk to Ludwig. Cloudbase never got really high (1100-1200m), and it never got high enough to top-land Upper Bridal (except perhaps at the very end of the day), but there was plenty of lift despite the low cloudbase. I found the air at Elk a bit weird with it actually feeling more like north wind (instead of SW), and it felt like I was being pushed into the Chilliwack River Valley, so I didn't hang around there too much.

At the end up the day it was sweet flying and top-landing conditions, and I was able to top-land to drive Ihor's truck down. A few others also top-landed after 7pm and relaunched as it was still cycling up reversible even that late in the evening!

Mt. St. Benedict June 25

Well after several days of machine- and hand-work, we finally got to fly the new launch! Initially we thought it would only be 3-4 people, but in the end we gathered up about 10 pilots to head up, do some more work on the launch, and fly off when we were finished.

Cloudbase was right at launch (1080m ASL) when we arrived about 2pm so it was no rush to get in the air, so we worked on shoring up the ditch behind launch, creating a bridge over the creek and swimming hole, spreading grass seed, and generally cleaning up the still-muddy launch and surrounding area.

Then the clouds started to part so we convinced Al that it was his privilege to launch first from the new-and-improved launch; a couple of tarps on the fresh spots (until the grass grows in), and he was off!

As the clouds continued to lift we were concerned about the strong SW winds that were supposed to be manifesting in the Fraser Valley; however we also thought the Sylvester Valley would hide the wind a bit. After watching Al we decided it was OK to fly, and we'd try to fly north to Dewdney Mountain where we had parked all the cars. In the end it was Al, Rob, Robin, Alex, and myself that flew, while Derek, Martina, Jim, and a couple of FlyBC students opted to drive down.

In the air it was quite rough due to all the spines that stick out along the range. But if you stayed high it was much nicer and less windy. But despite that it was still a bit spicy in the lee of the spines so you had to be on your toes. Cloudbase was abnormally low for this area...only 1200m or so. Usually it's way higher!

Once at Dewdney it was both ridge soarable and thermic, and we had a nice field picked out next to the cars. But it was so nice we decided to stay in the air a lot longer, playing in and around the clouds, flying out to Hatzic Lake, and generally enjoying the view. We didn't land until after 7pm, and it was still thermic and flyable even then (and probably until 8pm). Tracklog is here.

So the new launch has had its first customers, and they were very happy with the results. Big Kudos to Al for getting this project finally off the ground; he really deserves a big round of applause for all the personal work he's put into this place and helping to develop a new viable site. We envision this site being suitable as an alternative to Woodside and Bridal on stable and/or windy days, especially in the height of summer when the FV cloubases are low, while the Sylvester Valley cloudbases are almost always higher. The road is still in rough shape, but Tamahi Logging is scheduled to fix the lower 2/3's in order to get their logging trucks up and down, so in the end we could end up with a Woodside-quality road for at least the bottom 2/3's.

Grouse Mountain June 22

This time cloudbase was higher so we were able to launch from the peak. But it was still low...1200m initially, then it got higher at the end of the day. Greg, Alex, and I flew NW up Capilano Lake towards Crown Mountain, where Greg and Alex were able to ridge soar up the NW face and get to 1500m and above cloudbase while I was stuck on the lower slopes at 1200m.

Playing with the clouds for about 1.5 hours and then out to land in thermic conditions. Apparently Alex heard Jim and Derek on 146.415 mHz...sometimes it's possible to talk to the FV pilots if conditions are right!

Grouse Mountain June 19

Cloudbase was low (1050m) and it was blowing from the SE so launched off the Cut (1010m). Nice flying for about 1 hour and then it started to feel a bit "big", so went out to land at Cleveland Park. A baseball game in the upper field meant landing in the lower field. Nice flying and only 15 minutes from the house to the gondola!

Lumby June 12

It was light winds and cloudbase in the back ranges was going to be high, so we had high hopes for a nice XC. Original plans were for a possible flight to Revelstoke but once in the air it felt a bit stable for the initial flight to Mabel lake (low hills for the first part) and the higher and more unstable peaks once up there. So instead Kevin, Alex, and I flew east to Rawlings cliffs where Kevin and I were able to find a weak climb which Alex missed and ended up landing.

Al joined us and to the Camel's hump, and onwards towards Cherryville but it was too stable in the main valley and Al and I ended up landing in Bear Valley. Kevin turned around and flew back to the Airpark.

The hitch-hike retrieve turned into a ride back to Cooper's launch (!) as the guy wanted to see us fly again, and wanted an excuse to get away from the wife and newborn infant :) So back up to Cooper's he drove us. Blowing down with the occasional up-cycle (it was 4pm by now) so launched lickidy-split and had another good flight to 2300m this time.

People were at Saddle so I flew over there and it looked like lame launching conditions so I was glad to have launched off Cooper's again (even though it was really late in the day for that site). Later on we heard that Glenn had dared to do what we had all talked about and actually flew to Revelstoke. It sounded a bit hairy with long glides out to no LZ's (Mabel lake is very high and the beaches are gone, leaving only cutblocks up in the alpine). But a good job Glenn!

King Eddy June 11

Showed up in Vernon late in the day and it was just starting to get good at King Eddy, so stopped there for a short flight. I wasn't feeling like flying so drove the car down while Alex and Jonas had a nice flight. Meanwhile over at Cooper's it was sled rides for the most part as it stayed OD'd for most of the day.

Woodside June 8

Swiss pilot Jonas Buchli is in town for a while, so Alex and I took him out to Woodside for a flight. It was forecast to milk over in the afternoon, and that's exactly what was going on when we showed up on launch.

It was very light winds lower down and north up high, but Rob S. sunk out on Sasquatch mountain so I opted not to cross west. Instead I went east over the back to Agassiz Mountain.

North winds up high so I took the north line to Bear Mountain, where I got stuck and couldn't get high for the traditional run to Hicks. After about 20 minutes of bopping around I said f*ck it and went for Hicks anyways (from about 800m), arriving on the toe of Hicks quite low (about 350m).

But the west wind had kicked in so it was actually ridge soarable on Hicks, so I was able to get high enough for the glide to Ruby Creek and landed in the LZ next to Alex. Didn't want to continue to Hope as the wind had arisen so quickly I was worried it would be windy there, and Ruby is the last real LZ before Hope (especially with the sandbars gone for the next while while the river floods).

Total distance 27 km and Jonas came and got us...he chose to stay local and landed in Riverside after a couple hours in the air. I'm not sure if anybody else went XC from Woodside (except Rob), and I saw pilots at Bridal staying up in the shady milk. Later on it got sunny again so it may have turned on again for those who stuck around.