Pemberton Vol Bivy July 5-6

With a stretch of nice weather coming up Alex and I decided to do a vol-bivy at the Copper Mine site, about 23 km from MacKenzie launch.  But we planned to do a big flight before then, to Spindrift or Athelstan, and then topland on the way back.

Toplanding party at Copper!
However it was quite stable on launch and took me ~30 minutes to get over the ridge and starting along the Owl ridge.  Many other pilots who launched were also "stuck" or landed after an extended scratch session.  But eventually I managed to get away, and as per usual, once at Barbour, the flying got better (although not as much as I anticipated).

It was weirdly SE at Goat, and thermalling I was drifting into the Hurley Pass but not getting very high, and didn't want to cross the Pass on a SE, and the air was feeling not that great, so I bailed on flying to Spindrift.  Flying back to Copper there was already a crew who had top-landed, as well as a bunch of pilots trying to get down within the abundant was quite strong on top and a few pilots were dumped or landed in the snow in the rotor behind the bivy spot.  Ideally, we would have toplanded a few hours later, after flying XC and it had calmed down a bit.  Toplanding during the strongest part of the day is not recommended for those trying this spot for the first time!

Vol bivy crew watching everyone else relaunch for Pemberton.
After being patient and allowing the pilots in front of me multiple attempts to topland, I was able to make it in with little drama and enjoy the views.  Those who had toplanded but needed to relaunch for work the next day etc, had to wait a few hours for it to calm down enough to relaunch safely.  Alex and I were quite happy that we didn't need to relaunch until tomorrow morning ;)

The clouds meant we could sleep in without being awakened by sun at 5am!
Also vol-bivy-ing were Jim Orava and Alastair Collis, so we had a nice small group to watch the sunset.  As there was still snow behind launch we didn't even have to hike down to the lake for water, and the early-ness of the season at 2000m meant the bugs were still nonexistent, unlike camping in the Pemberton valley ;)

Breakfast while waiting for the cloud to lift. 
Surprisingly we awoke to being enshrouded in cloud, so even though it was blowing in we had to wait for VFR conditions.  And when it did eventually clear, it was a beautiful sight with the sun shining through the mountain peaks!

Flying back to Pemberton in the clouds.
Flying back we anticipated gliding to the beer farm, but since we had waited for it to clear, it was late enough in the morning that the south faces were already working, so Alex, Alastair, and I eventually made it back to the Pemberton LZ (Jim landed at the beer farm).  It was a bit of a challenge since the Riverlands No-Land Zone was en-route and it was barely thermic enough to get high enough on the south ridges to make it past this section.  But it was very satisfying to make it back to the car!

Flight to Goat and then toplanding at Copper.

Flight back to Pemberton


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting all of these stories. I'm thinking about coming up this year to vol biv, if the border opens, etc.