Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pemberton Canadian Nationals July 25

Today was looking like an epic flying day, light SW winds, high climbs to 3300m+, and a possible Whistler Express in Pemberton.  So we decided on a long-ish task of 84 km which would involve lots of valley crossings and a chance for pilots to see some of the bigger terrain NW of Pemberton Meadows.

Today's task: an exercise in instrument programming!
Initially climbs were to 2600m and it was all good, but a bunch of us got "low" (relatively speaking!) on the ridge about 20 minutes before the start, and we were starting to stress about the crossing to Miller.  But we managed to find a climb in time for the start, and the crossing to Miller and back was uneventful.  At this point it was game on and it was full-bar time for pretty much the rest of the course.

Crossing to Camel's Hump.
At yesterday's briefing we had told pilots how to go about crossing Hurley Pass, but despite our recommendation that pilots not cross low, or get sucked into the Pass by choosing to stop at the first lift they came to on the other side, we saw exactly that many times.  I saw countless pilots catching thermals too close to the mouth of the Pass, get sucked in, and have to push back out to the mouth in order to try again.  (The better lift is further to the west, skip the first lift you come to!)  I was able to cross from Camel's Hump directly to Zorah, bypassing the traditional crossing, and was able to catch up to a bunch of pilots who were doing the traditional jump and not finding good lift on the Goat side.

Zorah was zoom and boom as Jim, Jesse, and I climbed to 3100m in +6m/s climbs, yahooing all the way.  From then on it was easy climbing and zooming the rest of the course, and the final glide into goal was nice and boaty.

Looking up Hurley Pass.  You can see the forest fire smoke from all the BC Interior fires.
Goal was quite busy as pilots were arriving in 2's and 3's, some landing short of goal (the ESS was upwind of goal, and some pilots misjudged the headwind), and others arriving in orbit.  Very festive in the goalfield!

Recrossing Hurley Pass from 3100m.  Beautiful skies!
We did have 3 reserve deployments near the end of the day.  One (non comp) pilot tossed and landed up near Copper Dome, was OK, and relaunched to fly down to the goal field.  I watched one pilot toss just behind Owl Peak and come down softly into the forest below (he had a steerable reserve) where he reported he was OK.  And the 3rd pilot tossed around Mt. Barbour.  Last I heard Hawaii Pete was organizing a helicopter to extract those 2 final pilots.  Denis has an interesting landing behind Camel's Hump where he landed on the road...apparently he caught the entire landing sequence on his helmet cam!

Tomorrow is looking blown-out so we will reevaluate in the morning, but it could very well be a rest day, which some pilots would appreciate I think!

Results, when available, should be here.

Goal!  Photo by Alex Raymont

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