The forecast was looking quite light for the Pemberton Valley so we arranged a crew to drive and hike-n-fly from Miller Ridge.
Bring your bug net! I brought mine and used it immediately. Wear long sleeves and long pants! Otherwise you will be eaten alive during the entire 45 minute to 1 hour hike, and the only relief will be when you arrive on launch and there (hopefully) cycles to keep them off! For some reason the Miller side of the vallye is worse than the MacKenzie side for bugs, it may be because the Miller side has more water/late-season snow/glacier melt nearby to nurture the mosquito larvae.
Most of the group on launch were planning to go to Whistler and them perhaps the Wedge-Lilloet Lake jump, but I wanted to fly to Athelstan via the Miller side of the mountains and return via the MacKenzie side of things. Getting up was a bit of a chore since there was quite a bit of south wind scrubbing along the side of the ridge, but I eventually got high and then set off to the NW.
Things were going great until I crossed the Ryan Valley to Mt. Morrison. The south wind was manifesting as a SE and sucking into the Ryan Valley (usually is is blowing from the NW) so my plan to get up on Morrison was foiled by the wrong wind direction and I was flushed down (quite violently, I might add!) to the Camel's Hump.
Not wanting to land out so early, and in so crappy a spot, I recrossed the valley the base of Copperdome and arrived *very* low, basically over the bridge that crosses the Lilloet River to the Hurley Pass, and proceeded to spend the next 55 minutes scratching in the heat and stability a few hundred feet above the ground. It was not fun! But I was able to eventually scratch my way up to Copper Mountain, and when I had enough height to get back to the Beer Farm, I flew back immediately so I could land, have a cold drink, have a swim, and get out of my sweaty flying clothes!
Meanwhile the boys who had headed to Whistler were experiencing some scratching conditions as well and some south wind, but were able to make it work and eventually get to Wedge, where they were able to get high enough (3500+m) to make the jump over the Wedge pass and down to Lilloet Lake. It did sound a bit hairy in spots with lots of south wind down low and scratching in not-very-nice spots. By the end of the day I think there were a bunch of 150+ km triangles by the Whistler-Wedge-Lilloet lake crowd, good for them for sticking it out on a rougher-than-forecast day!
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