Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sun Valley PWC August 25

The last day of this comp and the winds were still supposed to be westerly but a bit less.  Time to get off the hill before it starts blowing over the back!

Final task was to the east via a couple of control turnpoints and theoretically close to roads. But that's not what ended up happening...the westerly winds were there of course, but we weren't able to get higher than about 10,900' which makes it really tough to get going on courseline, especially when you have to clear the Hailey airspace which is anything below ~7800'.

It looked like everyone got off launch, although one pilot crashed below launch, and as a safety precaution, was back-boarded off the mountain.  But in the end he was fine.

As I was (very gingerly) transitioning the Hailey airspace I saw 2 pilots who had top-landed on some remote peak and I was wondering if they were gonna relaunch or hike down from there (they ended up relaunching and flying back to SV).  We were all flying deep in the attempt to clear the airspace but the climbs weren't allowing us to really get going, so people were dropping out of the skies into the deep remote valleys to the east of Hailey and Bellevue.  I was one of them :)
My LZ in the middle of nowhere with steep hillsides to either side.

I wasn't able to make a certain transition and get a climb on the next peak and ended up low in Slaughterhouse Canyon (I don't know why it's called this!).  The wind was probably 20-25kph so I made a landing in the only available LZ...the dirt road.  I was actually quite proud of my precision landing right on the road and even kept the canopy on the road and not in the 4' high sage on either side.  I ended up right on the edge of the Hailey airspace as I touched down: about 600m on the legal side of it so I was happy to not be getting 0 for the day.

About a 10km hike to the main highway but I was helped along by a series of hitch-hikes:
1.  Dirtbike to a nomadic sheepherder's setup, complete with sheepdogs and a broken-down RV that he was living in.
2.  ATV to a subdivision and civilization.
3.  Pickup truck to the Bellevue gas station.
4.  Passenger car to Ketchum.

As you can see I kept moving up in the world, from 2 wheels to 4 wheels and to more and more spacious vehicles.  It's a good thing I was able to get these rides as the official retrieve was busy going after stray pilots and it would have been a while before they got around to getting me home.

I didn't hear it, but the task was stopped shortly before 4pm due to level 3 conditions on the courseline.  Around this time, during my hike out, I noticed the sky was changing and cu's were starting to form.  It looked like the inversion had finally broken and the upper level winds were now mixing down, making it even windier and prompting the level 3's.  Two pilots made it into goal before the task was stopped, and several pilots were very close.

An equally large number of pilots had landed early, essentially after the first glide from Baldy, so I actually did fairly well to get as far as I did.  (I felt much better to see excellent pilots like Farmer and Josh landing sooner than me.)  Whether it's enough to bump me into the top 3 women is uncertain...somehow I'm thinking I may have achieved 4th, but not the podium :(  We shall find out this evening.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the detailed posts on this comp... been enjoying reading them, despite the fact that the comp didn't seem to go all that well. Good luck at the next one.

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