Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bridal Falls July 18

East wind today, which is always good for high altitude gains at Bridal Falls!

Hard to go XC on a strong east day in the FV, but Bridal works well if you just want to get high and enjoy the view.  Got over Cheam summit quite easily as we were getting to 2600-2700m, and Peter flew over to Lady Peak.  But he didn't make it back and ended up landing at Spoon Lake where he got a ride down with some hikers.  Meanwhile Simon and I were enjoying flying over the summit and waving at the crowd of people on the peak.

Went over to the Butterfly and found not much, but enough to let me get back to Cheam and where the only lift seemed to be.  But the really high lift had died by then and it was more standard flying as the east wind died and the west wind came in.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

More epic flying in Pemberton July 1

Looking west up the Ryan River Valley.
Another light north day and this time we had a gaggle to fly up to Mount Meager, about 60 km up the Pemberton valley.  Because of the north wind, we decided the Miller side was the better side, and flew up past Sugarloaf and the Ryan river valley, Camel's Hump, and further west to Mt. Morrison and Overseer Peak.  I had never been this far on the west side of the valley before, and we were getting to 3000+ m, so we had fantastic views of the Pemberton ice cap as we flew west.

Leaving Overseer Peak, looking down at Capricorn creek and the 2010 landslide.
The north wind was light-ish, and only really noticeable above 2800 m.  Below that it was the typical valley flow (SW) but also light, which meant we could fly in the lee of mountains and it was OK, although the air was spicy enough in general that everyone was staying on their toes.

Crossing to Mt. Meager.  Pebble creek fire in the distance.
When we got to the junction of the Meager and Lilloet rivers, at the 50 km mark and Overseer Mountain, we decided to jump the Meager complex.  Flew directly over Capricorn creek and the site of the 2010 landslide (the scars from where it splashed up the sides of the Capricorn valley are still pretty obvious) and soared up the west side of Meager proper.  There was a constant plume of dust from the slide area (at first I wondered it was leftover Mt. Meager volcanic action like steam!), and I saw a small landslide in progress at one point.  The entire mountain seems to be ready to fall down at any moment: the rock looks really rotten!
Approaching the landslide, looking at Mt. Meager and Plinth Peak.
Amazing views to the west and north, we could see the Lilloet Glacier ~20 km further north and snow-capped mountains as far as the eye could see to the west and the Pacific.  We also saw a new forest fire which had recently started up in Pebble Creek on the east flank of Mt. Athelstan; fire crews were already working on it with helicopters and spotter planes.

Passing over Mt. Meager and soaring the dust plumes from the constant rockslides.
After tagging Plinth peak I decided I wanted to return to Pemberton so jumped over to Spindrift and headed back SE.  Despite the entire east side being in the lee of the north wind, down low it was SW so as long as I stayed below 2800m I had a tailwind.  Every so often I would poke my head above 2800m to double-check the north wind (yep it was still there!), and cloudbase was getting higher and higher.  I pulled out of several climbs at the 3400 m point, just because there wasn't really a need to go any higher!

Looking NW to Lilloet Glacier.  Plinth peak lower right corner.
It was a fantastic flight with awesome views, over 7 hours in the air, and it was fun to have a group to fly with.  I actually had the skies to myself for the run home because everyone else in the group was talking about top-landing for an overnight bivy, so weren't in a rush to return by dark, and only at the last minute bailed on the idea and realized they had to still fly 65+ km to get back home :)

132 km out and return.