Sunday, March 27, 2011

Woodside March 27

The forecast was a bit iffy but lots of people were out anyways.  In the air it was a bit leeside and the thermals were a bit punchy, but once you got established in a core it was easy to stay up.

Alex and I eventually went over the back to Agassiz Mountain, with Robin and Greg following.  Alex turned around at Agassiz to fly back to Woodside, while I opted to keep going and crossed to Bear once I got to 1500m.

Over at Bear it was kinda north up high, although Harrison Lake looked dead calm (see photo).  The thermals were sliding across the west face and it was hard to get up, but Robin, Greg, and I each found a thermal core, which eventually coalesced into one giant Cerberus thermal which took us to 1550m.  We were trying to decide what to do now...continue to Hope, or cross to Bridal.  Due to retrieve issues and a potential headwind to Hope (it was still outflow up high) we opted to cross to Bridal via Ludwig.

The crossing wasn't that great...we left at 1550m, had a tailwind for the first half, but then encountered a south headwind the rest of the way, to arrive at Ludwig at 800m.  It wasn't as lifty as the Woodside side of the valley and we weren't really able to get high (we never got back above 1000m), and scunged along to the Lakes to arrive around 500m.  Greg had landed on the highway median below the pumphouse and Robin and I were trying to reach the Popkum interchange, and the Lakes provided us with the crucial 150m we needed to make it that far.

Several pilots flew to Green Hill and landed at the base, while Rob was able to make it almost back to Harvest Market to meet up with Alex.  

It was shading over and shutting down on the Bridal side, so we landed at the Popkum interchange in light west winds and the occasional spit of rain.  Alex was able to retrieve us, and on the way back to Robin's car we could see it raining in Chilliwack.  Flight was just over 2 hours and 29km.  I think we would have been OK flying to Hope, as that side of the valley stayed nicer for longer, and with the abundance of sandbars we would have had plenty of options if we had gone down between Ruby Creek and Hope.

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