Friday, April 8, 2011

Epic Woodside April 7-8

Looking back at Harrison Lake during the glide to Ludwig.
Well we had a good couple of days!

Yesterday we weren't sure it was gonna be any good with all the north wind around, but we gave it the ol' college try.  When we showed up on launch there was 1' of new snow and blowing super-cross.  It was deep and wet, which made it hard to run in.  But we were able to get off launch eventually and decided to try some XC.

Alex flew to Agassiz Mountain and almost back, landing on the logging road behind launch and hiking up for flight #2.  Al and I headed west.  It wasn't looking very good at Sasquatch; Al was low and eventually landed at the end of the bay, so I opted to try Harrison knob.  Got up over there to 1200m and then pushed west, flying over the river and nowhere near the mountains since all the good lift was over the sandbars and the thermals leaning away from the mountains.  It worked until I hit a blue hole at Deroche, and was shot down by the west wind which had kicked in at the lower levels.  Landed at the crescent field in Deroche. 
At Bear, looking at Ludwig and the Butterfly.  

Kevin was driving in from Abbotsford and picked me up and then back up to launch for flight #2.

It was now getting late in the afternoon, but cycles were coming straight in so we (Kevin, Alex, Al, Tom Chromy, and myself) opted to fly over the back this time around.  It was still very north at Harrison Lake, which is never great for Bear, but we were able to get super-high (1700m) which made the glide over to Ludwig easy (especially with the tailwind).

Lots of new snow on Cheam!
The Bridal run was uneventful (there's tons of snow on Cheam, and the road to Bridal looks snowed in too) and Alex opted to glide back across the valley from the Upper Bridal area (1400m), landing at Harvest Market.  Al got to 1700m at Elk and glided to the sandbar just short of Riverside, walking the rest of the way.  Tom Chromy landed at Mt. Thom where his sister picked him up.

(I should mention that Tom had never flown over the back of Woodside before, let alone a Bear-Ludwig crossing, so it was a day of firsts for him.  Congrats, Tom!)

Kevin and I couldn't get high enough for a glide back across the valley, and Tom's ride was coming by to get us, so we opted to stick around the Bridal side and play around for another hour, exploring all the areas we hadn't been able to since last fall.  Landed at 7pm and it was still working!  For me, it was a 50.04km flight, and a nice treat, coming so late in the day, and after my earlier XC to Deroche.  Al was super-happy with his flight and almost-landing at Riverside.  And of course Tom was over the moon with his inadvertent epic over the back from Woodside!

Today (Friday) was less epic, but only because a bunch of cirrus came in early and shut our down plans for a big XC.  It was certainly soarable all day at Woodside, and later on the cirrus dissipated and the cu's popped and it got windy from the west, which all combined for an epic late-day ridge/thermic session.  A bunch of us got high and flew west, although I eventually bailed (I was test-flying the new lines on the Aspen3, and hadn't adjusted the speed bar lines from my customary XC3 setting) and turned around, after getting an epic thermal over the Harrison bridge (it was super-windy so it drifted us back over the Harrison river).

Al, Alex, and Matt got up at Sasquatch and then flew back to Woodside, eventually landed at Harvest Market.  Claudia flew to the foot of Agassiz Mountain, landing near the road to Harrison Hot Springs.  And I heard that Nickolai went over the back (and perhaps some others too) and was last heard in Laidlaw, after crossing to the Bridal side.  And the hang gliders looked to be having a very fun time and got high too.  Once again, this all happened late in the day, with Woodside working until late in the afternoon and possibly into the evening hours too.

On the Bridal side, cloudbase was just over the peak of Cheam, so it was at least 2000m over there.  Had anybody flown that side of the valley, it would have been sweet!

The next few days look wet, so I'm glad we got our 2 days in, and it looks like a bunch of others played hooky today too (don't any of you people work?!).

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