Saturday, April 25, 2015

Woodside April 25

Very active skies in the Fraser Valley today.
A very unstable day with lots of rain cells around.  The Bridal side was actually looking drier (all the cells were on the Woodside side of the valley) but it was also in shade, whereas Woodside was (mostly) in the sun.  All the cells were centred on Sasquatch and were bypassing Woodside for the most part as they moved east.

Raining over the peninsula.
It was quite late however by the time I got up to launch; Martin and Gary had already flown and landed at Harvest as it was raining over the peninsula.  Another cell was forming in the same spot but it was much less menacing than the earlier one so Kevin, Gary, and I launched into nice smooth air.
Rain over Mission.
Despite it being a weekend, Woodside was very quiet and we had the skies pretty much to ourselves except for the eagles who came out to play.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pemberton April 18-19

High pressure and forecast to be somewhat stable in the Fraser Valley so it's time to head to Pemberton!

Upper launch in a milky Saturday.
Unfortunately the forecast for Pemberton was somewhat stable as well...just not as stable as the FV.  Saturday was WNW winds and difficult to get high until past Owl Mountain, where we finally got to 2400m.  The zipper on my outer jacket had blown so I was quite cold!

Doing the milkrun with Andrew.
Andrew and I turned around at Goat (I wasn't liking the lift enough to want to continue NW) while Peter kept going until just short of Spindrift Mountain.  Alex had headed over the back at Mt. Fraser and was circumnavigating Birkenhead Peak (where he was getting to 2700m) and made it back out via the Birkenhead/Anderson valley for a nice figure-8 tracklog.

Oops!
Sunday looked to be more of the same but it was more stable down low; it took a bunch of us 1.5 hours to get from lower to upper launch (and those that launched from upper sunk down to lower anyways)!  By the time I got to upper launch height I decided I wasn't enjoying the air in MacKenzie basin anymore, so I was considering going out to land.  However everyone at Goat was reporting a lot of north wind (it was showing up at MacKenzie too), so I thought it may be better over at Mt.Currie.  Patiently waited for a climb which took me to 2300m and then headed over the Currie where it was indeed nicer air compared to MacKenzie, but not much north wind at all.  In fact it was light SW.  So instead of ridge soaring as I had hoped I ended up trying to thermal up in the lee and in the shade...not the ideal combination!
Both LZ's: the new primary (the oval) and the secondary (field immediately left of the oval) when the primary is in use.

I did find a lee/shady climb to 2300m and then had to decide what to do with this altitude...use it to go to the Currie summit, or use it to recross to MacKenzie or the LZ.  I opted for the Currie summit glide since getting high on Currie is so rare; as I glided next to the summit I was able to watch small avalanches and rockfalls as I passed by the numerous cornices.

Majestic Mt. Currie
About 5 pilots heard I was over at Currie and came over to join me but I don't think many got high as they experienced the same lee/shade issue as me.  In the end some of us landed at the airport while the rest glided back to the LZ.

Heading for the summit of Mt. Currie
All in all, a rather average weekend at Pemberton; it was too stable and
the funky north wind kept us from doing really interesting XC's.  But it was fun nonetheless and very hot on the ground!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fraser Valley Easter Weekend April 4-5-6


LIttle Nic launch after the hike up under grey skies on Sunday
After a very rainy March it was finally good weather for XC in the Fraser Valley!  Saturday looked very promising and I was test-flying Martina's Cayenne 4, so I took it for a spin over the back and to the Bridal side of the valley.  Lots of clouds in the middle of the valley so it was a Green Hill crossing and the usual sandbar thermal to get me onto Butterfly along with Peter, Andrew, and Al.

Kevin and I heading out towards Mt. Thom.  Cultus lake in the background.
There was a big cloud shading out the western part of the Bridal range; Andrew and I ended up at the Bridal LZ while Al hung out at the knob for 40+ minutes until some sun came through and he was off to Elk and back home to Woodside.  Peter had turned around and back to Ludwig before recrossing to Green Hill and back to Woodside that way.  So Andrew and I had a nice hitchhike back to Agassiz until Claudia came by to pick us up; thanks Claudia!

Big cu forming over Woodside later in the day.
Sunday was pretty lame, lots of high cloud was shading things out despite the cu's and it was very scratchy at Woodside.  I didn't fly long, maybe 30 minutes, before I decided to head out.  Others landed at Riverside after an hour or so of similar scratching.  Since the day was so lame a group of us decided to salvage something by hiking up the new trail to Little Nic (without gliders).  I hadn't been up Little Nic in years but it was much cleaner than I remembered...maybe the washed-out road and recent Club activity has kept most of the rednecks away?  It was beautiful view regardless and it was nice to see a launch that we normally just fly over when flying XC from Mt. St. Benedict or Woodside.

Robin and I heading out to land at Brad's.
Today was a completely different day...lots of huge development despite the high cloud (and maybe the high cloud was actually a good thing in that it kept the thunderstorms away) and it was easy to stay up.  Today we opted for Bridal as Woodside was looking a bit too strong and blownout; I think we made the right call as we flew for several hours and had a fantastic time playing in the clouds at Elk around 1400m.  There was a bit of wind in the air and reports of windy landings at the Bridal LZ (one pilot almost missed the LZ due to setting up a bit too far back in the wind), so Kevin suggested we land at Brad Henry's place in Rosedale (nice big fields) for a change of pace.  BTW the Bridal LZ is looking fantastic; it's been freshly mowed and is now ginormous.  We just need some new lawn furniture as the old stuff is looking pretty UV'd up!

Big development over the Bridal range after we landed.
Meanwhile back at Woodside it sounded quite "industrial" and many pilots left Woodside to come to Bridal instead.  Reports of a student in the trees in the gully between launch and the south knoll (they were OK) after getting turned downwind after launching.

Helping Brad out at his place.

Robin's new glider (Norm's old glider!)
After landing next to Brad's house the skies really got interesting as towering cu'd were going on all over the place with virga, snow, and rain over Dewdney, Black, and behind Woodside.

Love those grins!  Photo courtesy of Kevin Ault