Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mt. St. Benedict May 27

After getting Al to drive our gliders up with his students, we hiked up the trail.  Light north wind all around and I was thinking of flying into the Norrish Valley while Alex wanted to go deep.

Kevin and Brad were with me when I decided to go into the Norrish but they bailed on entering the valley and flew back to Woodside via the conventional route.  At Rose Peak it was not that nice, in fact it sucked!  And the only place to land at that point was the water reclamation plant next to Norrish Creek.  But I was able to find a climb in the lee of Big Nick, enough to get high enough to cross over into the Fraser Valley, where the air was much nicer, smoother, and lots of LZ options then.

Crossing back to Dewdney was easy in the light east wind, and there is a new cut block on the east side of Dewdney with road access.  But the bottom of the cut block may have too-tall trees in front, not sure if it could become a morning site?

Flying back along the Miracle Valley was actually a headwind in the north wind, and not a gimme.  But landed at the LZ and then it was time to chase Alex who had flown the back route and then crossed Harrison Lake to the Bridal side.

A bit of an issue as Tom G landed behind Archibald and had to hike down to the end of the Bridal FSR where Bev was waiting for him.  Fortunately it was an uneventful landing for him and he was back in the LZ within a couple of hours, no in-the-dark-hiking for him!

Mt. St. Benedict to Rose Peak and return flight.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Pemberton May 18-19

A couple of sunny hot days in Pemberton!

Hiked up again via Reid Road and lots of pilots at lower launch this time, many are using the front trail despite reports of a bear sow and cubs near that trail.

Started going down Owl Ridge but turned back since it was getting shady that way, and looked to be for quite some time.  Instead it was sunny over by the Duffy Lake pass so a bunch of us went over the back to Lil'wat Mountain and then the Duffy pass entrance.  I saw some pilots flying deep into the pass and not sure what happened to them, it wasn't very sunny in there and I was guessing there was plenty of "canyon suck" for those low and deep.  I stayed out front and connected with the front of the various Duffy peaks, easy to get to cloud base at 2800m and surf along the ridge there along Lilloet Lake to Twin Goat Peak.


Crossing the Duffy Lake Pass with Lilloet Lake below.  Mt. Currie to the left and the Pemberton airport airstrip visible at its foot.

I turned around at Twin Goat although some others went a peak or two further before turning back too.  At the entrance to the Duffy the wind had indeed picked up and it was a bit of a slog to get back across the pass, and below 2000m it was quite windy from the SW and rough.

Since the car was at Reid Road I decided to cross back to MacKenzie via the Coyote launch, also we weren't getting high enough for a direct crossing to MacKenzie.  If I landed short, it would be near th car anyways ;). But I found lift along the Coyote ridge all along to Ivy and Mosquito lakes, enough to get me around the corner at MacKenzie and back up high.  Several pilots crossed back via the Mt. Currie route, and Tom landed behind MacKenzie in the rotor, in one of the various gravel pits lining the road to D'Arcy.

In the end I landed at the school LZ to get Tom's car and it was getting a bit Whistler Express-y with lots of lift over town, but only mildly.  Just enough to keep me on my toes!

MacKenzie to Twin Goat and return flight.

The following day was much mellower, I flew out Goat Peak and return after a slow start (it took about 40 minutes to get to upper launch height!).  Coming back the Whistler Express was just starting up so a bunch of us opted to land at the old Festival grounds.  When I landed it was still a nice 10 kph breeze, but when Alex and Pete landed it had picked up quite a bit from the Pemberton direction.  Good thing the field is huge and lots of room to land!

MacKenzie to Goat Peak and return flight.

Sunset from our campsite near Mt. Currie.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Dewdney Bench May 15

That was a long and bushwacky hike up to the Bench!  I won't be doing that route again anytime soon... :)

And then when we arrived it was blowing very west, almost 90 degrees cross from the right.  After drying off in the sun the clouds came in and it was getting shady, and Alex managed to launch in a very cross west cycle, and actually launched to the west instead of the SW.  I had to wait about an extra hour for a straight in SW cycle, and by that time it was overcast, but I just wanted to get off launch and didn't mind if it turned into a sled ride at that point.

Drying out after a bushwack hike.  Photo courtesy of Alex Raymont.

But it was unexpectedly lightly lifty over to the west side over the gravel pit, and I was soon at cloud base at 1500m.  Flew over to the Steelhead side and it was nicely lifty over there too, easy to stay up over the houses on the bluffs overlooking the NW end of Lake Hatzic.  There were a few gliders in the air from Mt. St. Benedict but it looked much shadier out that way, so I was happy to be at the sunnier end of the Miracle Valley.

The LZ next to the greenhouses was chest-high grass, fortunately it was dry underneath and easy to pack up in, and then it was a wade-through-the-grass-fest out to the gate.  And it was still blowing NW in the LZ (opposite to the usual south direction), so it was rather an unusual wind direction day overall.

Dewdney Bench flight.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Pemberton May 7

With Covid-19 making rides up difficult, Alex and I decided to hike up via the Reid Road way, to shave off the first 200m or so from the gravel pit.

Took us 1 hour 20 minutes, going at my slow pace, and arrived at Lower Launch to a few pilots already hiked up ahead of us, and more following later on.  

Nice launch cycles and and easy climb out to upper launch, which is still in snow along with the road.  Cruised out to Goat Mountain and almost 3000m several times, which this time of year is really cold!

Since our car was at Reid Road, logistically it was easiest for both us to top land and drive a truck down, rather than land at the LZ and risk our agreement with the SLRD during Covid-19 times.  Coming in to land, there was unexpected sink on my final and I landed a bit short by maybe 20 feet with not much energy to flare, not a big deal but everyone coming in was experiencing the same thing.  Need to practice my energy generation and retention for those no-step flare landings!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Woodside March 19

A rather "meh" day with lift barely to 1000m.  After a while of bobbing around launch I decided to fly out to land, and found an unexpected thermal just east of Kilby beach.  Gained over 100m in that light bubble!  When going out to land I noticed the property just short of FlyBC was being sprayed, so I needed to not land short, made it with ~80m of altitude to spare!

March 19 flight.

Contrail casting an interesting shadow in Agassiz!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Mt. St. Benedict March 18

Hiked up the new trail after giving our bags to Al, who was driving up with students.  The new trail is very nice, easy to follow and cushioned needles underfoot, which was nice after the first part of the hike on the old gravel road.

Got up to 1800m+ and stopped due to the airspace at 1981m, didn't want to bust!  Flew down to Dewdney Peak, partway back, then crossed over to the Steelhead side to fly the small hills over there.  Not much lift over there but as per usual, there was plenty of valley lift to get me back to the LZ and no retrieve needed!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Mt. Woodside March 9

First flight of 2020, time to dust off the cobwebs and get the gear ready for another season!

Cold at cloud base and flew around launch for an hour and a half, not quite high enough for me to want to cross west to Sasquatch.  Top landed to drive a truck down.