Monday, April 22, 2013

Awesome Bridal April 22

44km OR at Bridal

Too much north wind at Woodside...only Al and Alex got away before it started blowing over the back, and they got as far as Durieu School before landing.

Heading for Cheam after getting to 2400m at the Butterfly
The rest of us headed to Bridal as we thought the north wind wouldn't be so prevalent there and Bridal is generally easier to launch in N/E winds vs. Woodside.  Yup, up on launch it was straight-in cycles and Peter and Greg were already climbing out above launch.

It was a bit rough right over launch, but once higher it smoothed out and I was able to climb right out to Archibald in that one climb.  With such high climbs my goal for the day was to fly over Cheam since that opportunity doesn't happen that often, so I headed east.

Coming up to the cornices on Cheam


Not quite able to get above the summit at Cheam itself; the best lift actually seemed to be closer to the Butterfly or Ludwig, where we were getting 2400m.  Using such altitude, Peter pushed into Laidlaw before returning, and Alex pushed on Barr Mountain before returning as well.  Meanwhile Kevin and I had returned to Cheam for try #2, and we got a bit closer, but still no cigar!

Alex joined us and then, instead of trying to thermal up and glide over Cheam, we decided to try ridge soaring up the north side and get over the peak that way.  In the end that didn't work (getting over the summit I mean), but we were able to ridge soar *really* close for 15-20 minutes in very light north wind, practically scraping our gliders against the snow, the lift was so smooth.

Kevin's new D2
 It was extremely awesome to be able to fly so close to the terrain; we were dodging around cornices, and the late afternoon sun was causing mini-avalances all along the north side.  One such avalanche from above came down on me just as I was passing underneath and I heard the patter of chunks of snow on my glider as they bounced off and continued down the avalanche chute.

The wind finally died off and we were ultimately denied the summit (it seems on the best altitude days, the best altitude is actually *not* at the summit, but elsewhere!).  But the soaring of the north face was very satisfying and we weren't done yet!  Off to Elk for some very-late evening soaring and it was photo time of Kevin's new Delta2.

It's getting dark...time to land!
By this time it was approaching 8pm and I was getting kinda hungry, so we all headed back to Bridal for a nice touchdown in light winds.  Of course the grass was already dewy so there will be some glider drying going on tonight!  It was a spectacular flight; we don't often get the chance to get so high on regular inflow days, and the ridge soaring of Cheam was an especially nice treat!

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