The RASP was looking epic for the Pemberton region, so lots of pilots were playing hooky today! And with the light winds aloft, with an easterly component in the morning, that meant Miller Ridge, so I was up at 5am in order to get to Pemberton in time for the shuttle ride to that site!
|Yummy RASP for Miller!
This late in the year the mountains have really dried up so there is less moisture, which means less mosquitos during the hike to Miller, a far cry from hiking there in May or June!
A lot of pilots were planning on flying to Whistler and back, but I wanted to try for the 200km OR, which is doable when the days are long enough to allow for 7 or 8 hour flights. And the first part of the flight was indeed relatively straightforward...run the east side of the mountains until North Creek, jump over to the afternoon side, and continue to Spindrift. But at Spindrift it felt quite windy, and I was hesitant to continue to Athelstan in that kind of wind, since if you land out, the only retrieve is via the old FSR, which I'm not 100% sure is gated nowadays or not...
Anyways, I decided to go for it, and getting to Athelstan was indeed easy, but coming back was slow, and cost me time (that plus the hesitation). But once back on the familiar terrain it was a straight shot back to MacKenzie launch. It was getting later and the conditions were "smoothing out" so the jump over the back to Lil'wat was uneventful, and I saw several pilots coming back from their trek down Lilloet Lake, so I knew going and coming back was still doable. But it was getting late enough that I didn't want to risk getting caught down the lake, so I turned around early, cutting off a few kms in order to close my flight successfully.
Now, doing the return from Lil'wat back to MacKenzie can be challenging, especially in inflow conditions which usually set up this time of day. So I made sure to top-up to 3200m in order to make it across with no issues. Good thing since a Whistler Express had set up and the pilots lower down were starting to get in it, the regular LZ was becoming not very nice to land in. So closed the flight by recrossing back over to Miller and then landing at the Beer Farm in light winds.
In the end it wasn't quite 200km, I cut the corners a bit on both ends in order to make it back, had I been faster and less hesitant about the Spindrift to Athelstan and return portion, I may have had more time to get the extra 30km. Will have to try again next year when the days get long enough again!