Friday, May 11, 2018

Mt. St. Benedict May 11

Mt. St. Benedict is a great mountain to fly from, but the upper launch is too high for early-season flights as the road is usually still snowed-in until mid-July.  So a few years ago Al Thielman initiated a project to create a lower launch in one of the recently-created clearcuts on the same road up.  At that point we had a "burn party" where we burned the stumps and cleared the old brush from the spot he had selected, and then the area sat fallow while other projects came up.
This spring Al had the opportunity to finish the new lower launch and today was "opening day" for a few pilots to test-fly the launch and suggest improvements!

The new launch sits at around 600m and overlooks the powerline valley, and the dike LZ is an easy glide away.  It also sits at a known house thermal as we have often climbed out from this area while on other flights from the upper launch or elsewhere, and there are always birds thermalling there too.

Looking out from the new lower launch.  The dike and LZ is visible to the left of launch.
After setting up some temporary carpeting we got ready and then it was time to fly!  We had suggested that Al go first to christen the site, but he was sans glider, so Alex had the honours of going first.  I went 2nd and by the time I was over the road I was already climbing out with the birds!

It was north wind up high, but it was less rough than we were expecting and cloudbase was around 1400m.  Easy cruising around the peak of Benedict and over the powerline valley and then it was time to land in the dike LZ as we had another engagement.

Looking out over Stave Lake.
The new parking for the dike LZ is NOT the pullout on the side of the road, but rather at Cascade Falls Regional Park, which has a nice waterfall, washrooms, and picnic tables to hang out at while waiting.  To get there from the LZ, you simply walk along the same dike, but back towards Mt. St. Benedict instead (so the opposite direction from the old parking).  Danny Virtue has asked all pilots to park there instead, the walk back to your car is ~10 minutes, but well worth it to keep things amicable with the landowner.

The new parking situation at the dike LZ.









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