There were several XC plans discussed on launch today...our original plan was to do the MacKenzie-Goat-Birkenhead-return triangle, but the Russians were talking about flying to Harrison Hot Springs so some of the other boys got fired up for that instead. But I wasn't interested in that kind of flight so opted to stick with the original plan along with Curtis, Gary, and Dave.
I was ahead of everyone heading to the end of Owl Ridge when Alex and Peter and James radioed that they would be chasing Igor and Vlad down Lilloet Lake and onwards to Harrison Lake and the Fraser Valley. So I guess I would be driving back the car to Vancouver!
When I got to Copper I realized the air wasn't that nice and didn't have a great feeling about plunging over the back to Birkenhead Peak, so I decided to just return to Pemberton the same route and go to Lil'wat Peak that way. Curtis/Gary/Dave, who were behind me, had just jumped over the back at Barbour and were on their way to Seton Portage and Lilloet, so I was on my own. Getting back to MacKenzie I was getting to 2900m, which is easy to cross to Lil'wat Mountain, but the air was rough and not very pleasant, so after tagging the shoulder of Cassiope I glided over to Mt. Currie for an eventual landing by the car.
Meanwhile the boys had gotten to the south end of Harrison Lake and were (finally) encountering the inflow wind that is typical at the Hot Springs in the afternoons. Since we had all gotten a late start, they were especially late getting to the end of the lake and were racing the sunset at the same time as the strong headwind. They were able to get a final climb and sneak through to the Fraser Valley via the "back way" at Hicks Mountain, landing in Laidlaw in 20+ kph of wind and a retrieve vehicle already organized by James.
The other XC group had gotten to Lilloet and landed in various spots and also had a retrieve lined up, so they were taken care of...so it was an easy decision for Claudia and myself to drive our respective cars back to Vancouver and wait for the boys to get home from their XC flights.