Willi Muller XC Challenge July 29

It was a really good XC day, not classic Golden, but close. However a bunch of us almost didn't get to enjoy it, because we almost launched too early!  A bunch of us spent a torturous 90 minutes scratching in the washing machine between launch and Willi's Knob, at 1600m or less, while the later launchers climbed out and started heading downrange.

Finally I got high and was able to get moving, catching up to folks around Parsons and Harrogate. Cloudbase was high...3600m, and getting higher the further south we went. Airspace was going to an issue!  It was almost due west wind, but starting to turn SW the closer we got to Invermere, with a significant headwind by Fairmont.

The view from 3600m at Harrogate.

I stopped my climb at 3700m at Windermere, cloudbase was somewhere around 4000m and in the restricted airspace, and decided to forgo the glide to Canal Flats due to the strong headwind plus the building cloud which was shading out Columbia Lake. It was the only cloud in the vicinity that was growing, but was parking itself over White Swan and starting to spit out rain and grow vertically.

Mt. Assiniboine in the distance from 3700m.
Landed at the north end of the lake for 144 km and was able to get a quick ride with Timmy et al who had landed in Canal Flats. Meanwhile a few pilots had gone over the back at Fairmont and were shot down in the back range and the strong SW wind. Al landed in a remote area short of Premier Lake and had to hike and Ford a river before Vincene found him; Simon had the pleasure of landing at a back woods gun range near a logging road.

In the end there was something like 45+ pilots south of Radium and a dozen personal bests. Best PG distance of the day (in the comp, Will may have done more but no track from him yet) went to Peter with 192 km... he did a mini OR in the middle of his flight to rack up more points ;). And Ross flew partway down Columbia Lake before returning to Invermere for something like 175 km.

Some clouds are starting to grow by Canal Flats!
Pilots were scattered all over the place and littering the road from Fairmont to Parsons, but everyone was picked up and accounted for and returned to HQ before midnight, thanks to the live tracking devices!

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