Pemberton May 22-23

Alex and I went for a 2-day trip to Pemberton to enjoy the sun and heat and get away from the city for a bit.

Upper launch is now open, but this time of year it's often unnecessary to go all that way, lower launch will do just fine ;). Winds aloft were north so not much chance of a Whistler Express, but this time around there was a bit too much instability in the airmass so the skies clouded over and it was quite overcast.  Fortunately Alex and I were able to get off launch while the sun was still out, but the climb out was slow.  It took about 45 minutes to climb out to upper launch where the upper-launch-pilots were waiting for cycles.

Lots of shade came in to shut things down on Wednesday.  Photo courtesy of Alex Raymont.
It was still lightly soarable in the shade and I went as far as Frasier Peak before turning back and heading for the LZ.  Alex made it a bit further before turning back as well.  There was quite a bit of Meager wind that came though the LZ later on in the day, I think a cell in Pemberton Meadows was pushing some wind out from it since it was very episodic.

One Mile Lake, I'm sure it's still cold since it's only May!
The next day Alex and I hiked up to lower launch while we got our glider bags sent up via the shuttle.  The hike is very nice with lots of open views and can be done in a very leisurely 2 hours (although I think the regulars do it in 1.5 hours).

Overdevelopment and rain near D'Arcy.
Once on launch it was just getting "on" and pilots were laying out, another unstable day with possible overdevelop although we didn't see any from launch itself.  However once I got high enough over launch I could see the OD back at D'Arcy and along the Duffy Lake Road, so it was another "not go too far and get stuck" kind of day.  There was as cell dumping rain at Wedge Mountain, and cells dumping rain to the north and east, but to the south and west it remained OD-free.

There was a nice cloud street set up from Goat Mountain all the way to Athelstan, but I wasn't too enthused to fly underneath (or alongside) in case it decided to go kablooey like some other clouds and already done, so I turned around at Goat Mountain.  We were keeping a close eye on the OD but it was staying nice to the SW (and where the upper wind direction/weather was coming from).

More OD and rain east of Lilloet Lake.  To the SW it stayed nice though.
I got a super-high climb to almost 3600m right over upper launch, and I pulled out of the climb since cloud base was still way above me and I didn't want to stray into restricted airspace above 3810m.  I could see into Gates Lake and Birkenhead Lake easily, and it was still stormy back there, and there was some nice storm clouds brewing down Lilloet Lake/Mt. Matier, so I opted to land.  However it was going off over the valley and I spent about 30 minutes bopping between 1100 and 1300m, before finding a patch of sink and coring the sink to land.  Alex came in shortly afterwards and then on the drive back the Sea To Sky Highway we saw all sorts of OD behind Whistler and to the east (it sounds like the Fraser Valley OD'd as well).  Some awesome lenticular spaceship clouds came in later on as the next front moved in from the West.
Dusk at Porteau Cove.  Photo courtesy of Alex Raymont.

Bridal Falls May 19

Didn't time this day very well; got up to launch very early (1pm) and I figured I'd wait for a bit while some others launched, then the clouds came in from behind launch and shaded everything out.  By the time a sun patch came through and I got off launch, it was in the process of overdeveloping behind the Bridal/Cheam range and raining at Jones lake and the Butterfly.

Scratched around for a bit until finding something substantial, then it was all of a sudden too good and everyone was wanting to land.  So it was a short flight although the rain held off on launch itself, and Tom Clarke was able to do another round with this students later on.  Later in the afternoon it also overdeveloped over in the Norrish Valley.

View of the clouds brewing over the Norrish Valley from the Bridal Falls LZ.

Mt. St. Benedict May 5

This weekend was the Woodside fly-in but the flying was looking better at Mt. St. Benedict so a bunch of us went there.  The flying out to Dewdney was a bit bumpy but the air at Dewdney itself was lovely, with lots of immature bald eagles to fly with; they were very inquisitive and would come up close to check us out.

Peter went to Hatzic Lake while a bunch of us crossed over to the Steelhead hills, but it was very lee side over there (the west wind had kicked in) and several pilots landed at the Durieu school.  Claudia and I managed to make it back up in the lee and back to the Virtue LZ, where it was very lifty as it usually is in the afternoons.  Nice dip in the Cascade Falls Park river and then back home before dark, very civilized!