Lower MacKenzie April 3-4, 2021

 I was in Pemberton to cat-sit over the weekend, and brought my glider although early April is very early for Pemberton XC flights.

I decided to do the hike to lower launch on Sunday, and it's so early there are no bugs yet...yay!  The hike is snow-free, and the front part of launch is also snow-free, with maybe 6" remaining in the back top-landing area.  The actual parking lot is still fully snowed in however.

A fairly large crew showed up during the afternoon (both hikers and drivers) and the cycles started up around 1pm, with the occasional strong one coming through.  There was lots of clouds around, and I could see overdevelopment around Mt. Sampson, Birkenhead, and the Duffy Lake area.  So it was not to be a big XC day but rather stick locally.

OMG it was cold!  The air at cloudbase (2600m or so) was -10C, so I could only stay up that high for a few minutes at a time before sinking down to find some slightly warmer air to thaw out.

I did pop over to the Miller side of the valley (it was north wind up aloft) but no joy, so I had to limp back to the MacKenzie side.  Upper launch is still completely snowed-in with the hut buried under meters of snow, and the road to upper won't melt out anytime soon!

View of Squamish and the Chief from the Tantalus Lookout on a stable blue day.

The following day I opted to get a ride, and you can drive to ~10 minutes of lower launch.  Unlike the previous day, it was stable and blue, no cu's at all, a big change!  It was tough getting through 1000m, and many pilots kept around the lower launch, although I believe a few later pilots managed to get past Owl and out to the Barbour area.  I eventually landed due to the cold...

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