Upper MacKenzie Pemberton July 18, 2021

I have always wanted to do the Pemberton to Goldbridge run, but due to the fact the retrieve is a bit inconvenient, haven't actually done it.  It actually wasn't the *best* day to do it, there was quite a bit of wind about, but the advanced members of our group decided it was still doable so we alerted our retrieval team of our plans!

Hurley Pass RASP for July 18

There was quite a bit of cloud about, too much to really feel comfortable going over the back at Goat into the backcountry, so most pilots top-landed below Copperdome to wait out the sun.  I opted to stay in the air and enjoy the abundant lift and watch the sky.  Once the skies cleared a bit more everyone relaunched and off to Goat we went, where we eventually got to 3000m and committed to going over the back to Chipmunk Mountain.

Our LZ is the Gunn Creek river delta where it spills into Carpenter Lake.

It was windy up high, and with the Hurley FSR below us in the venturi, we figured it would be very windy on the ground too.  A bit scary, frankly, especially since there are essentially zero landings (at least nice ones) for the entire trip to Goldbridge.  There are cutblocks, and wide areas of the Hurley FSR, but nothing that would be entirely comfortable to land in, especially in wind.  However the terrain behind Goat is spectacular!

Looking west to Downton Lake.  Carpenter Lake is behind me. 
Our flight path from Chipmunk Mountain was on the left side of this photo.

Basically to get to Goldbridge you just have to follow the Hurley FSR, but you can either follow more-or-less right next to it, or go deeper into the higher peaks.  Most of us opted for the deeper line over the Waterfall peak complex, but Tyler opted for the next-to-the-Hurley line, and got shot down midway through the flight, landing on the road in not-that-nice conditions, and eventually getting a ride back to Pemberton via a returning car back down the Hurley road.  I actually returned to the vicinity of the road after getting to Mt. Noel since it was obvious we were going to make Goldbridge no problem, and I wanted to get some photos of Downton, Gunn, and Carpenter lakes, as well as see what was available for LZ's if you landed short.

Downton Lake with the dam, Lajoie Lake, and Gunn Lake

As you approach Bralorne and Goldbridge you have to pass over/by Brexton Dome, and in the amount of wind we were experiencing (we were doing 60+kph downwind at this point), you definitely don't want to be in the lee of that chunk of mountain!  I veered well west of Brexton Dome, leaving Mt. Noel at 3000m, which incidentally puts you over the marshland between Downton and Carpenter lakes, a nice emergency bailout zone if you are having issues reaching the LZ.  I estimate you can actually leave Mt. Noel around 2000m and still reach the river delta LZ since you are approaching continuously-descending terrain to the lake.

Packing up in the 30+kph winds was difficult, so we had to use this tree to hide behind.

The LZ in this case was the river delta on Carpenter Lake, about 10km past Goldbridge where Gunn Creek empties into Carpenter Lake.  Here is the best-looking LZ, plenty of sand and also plenty of room if you get dragged in the wind, and it's right next to the main road leading from Goldbridge to Lilloet.  We actually had oodles of height and could have continued flying east, but there are no/not much LZ's further along Carpenter Lake, and we wanted to have a safe and happy landing!

James and Peter and Richard were already ahead of Bill and I, had landed already, and were reporting 30+ winds, so setup my approach well upwind and landed with lots of dragback room (but didn't need it).  The LZ is actually a bit soft with the piles of sand which was a bit unexpected...if you land here, prepare for some sinking in!

Celebrating our flight at the Gunn Creek LZ!

It was definitely windy in the LZ, and we all agreed that the flight was spectacular but quite burley.  Doing the flight on a less-windy day would definitely be more fun and allow you more time to enjoy the scenery and relax a bit more.  But I think Goldbridge/Carpenter Lake is always going to be windy, so choose your day wisely!

76 km flight Pemberton to Goldbridge.

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