Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pemberton March 30

50km Hurley-return flight.

Launch still has snow but drying out quickly.
After yesterday's flight at Woodside several of us decided to head to Pemberton to escape the stability in the FV.  The snow is melting rapidly, and you can drive to within a 25-minute easy hike of lower launch.  Launch itself still has snow but it's drying out quickly too.

It was remarkably stable-looking even to the north, crystal-blue skies, no cu's, and outflow glacial winds.  The Pemberton valley up near Hurley Pass still has snow in the fields; this is the earliest in the season I've been here flying.  Eventually around 2:30pm we figured we may as well fly, but weren't very optimistic about actually getting up and away (many comments along the lines of "maybe we can get 10km's so it'll count as an XC flight" etc).

Still snow in the valley!
It was certainly a struggle to get away from launch, and most pilots were stuck in the south bowl at 800-900m.  I was able to get to 1100m and occasionally to 1200m, but was unable to get above upper launch.  Finally as the afternoon slopes heated up I broke though to 1500m and was in the game, started heading to Owl peak with Alex and Peter behind me.

Lots of tracks down to Tenquille Lake.




The lift just getting better and better, and by the time I got to Owl I was at 2100m, enough for an easy gap crossing and the snowfields on the other side.  The Copper side was just amazing... snow everywhere...perfect for close-by flying since all the trees and rocks that normally stick out were covered in meters of snow.  Watched several avalanches in action as the snow warmed the SW slopes and even startled an Easter bunny with my glider's shadow as he bounded away to the nearest shelter.  Oodles of snowmobile tracks, snowshoes, ski tracks around the Tenquille Lake and around the Copper Dome.

A fantastic flight with all the snow still in the mountains and the fact it took some work to even get high enough to try the flight...we're the first to the do the Pemberton "milkrun" in 2013.  If the nice weather continues, the road up will be clear of snow shortly and the hike will be even less!

Copper Dome with Goat in the far right corner.
It was so buoyant that I decided to do a more-or-less straight glide back to launch from Copper, just to see if I could do it, just in time to land as the shade started to cover the valley floor.  PS the trail horses in the Alternate LZ are totally unconcerned with PG's landing nearby...unless you actually land on one they will completely ignore you, just keep an eye out for manure piles!
Mt. Currie in the late afternoon sun.

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