A beautiful spring day and did the classic Bridal run from Ludwig to Elk. Strong south wind up high but as usual, not a problem for flying Bridal!
|RASP for April 29 @ Bridal|
After a very wet beginning to April we finally had a forecast that was looking pretty sweet, the kind of day you blow off work, if able!
|Woodside windgram for April 14|
|Crossing from Sasquatch back to Woodside. A very low Harrison River!|
Cloudbase was comfortable under the 1981m airspace limit, so as long as you remained out of the clouds you were fine! Crossing back to Woodside was also easy, but it took me a bit to climb high enough, once at Woodside, to glide to Agassiz Mountain. But finally made it over there and then the crossing to Bear, where some pilots were reporting it being a bit "rough". Personally I didn't find it any worse than usual, and after getting to 1600m crossed over to Ludwig.
|Hwy 7 with the November 2021 landslide still visible, and Hwy 1, looking east towards Hope.|
The Bridal side was shady in lots of spots, fortunately the Ludwig/Butterfly location was sunny enough to get high and then do the big glide to the other side of the shade, with a pitstop at 4 Brothers to tank up in a shady thermal. Despite the shade there was lots of lift and also several pilots flying the Bridal side already who had launched from there.
We weren't really feeling any inflow wind yet, but those who were attempting to cross back to Woodside from downwind (Agassiz/Bear area) were reporting significant west wind and landing short of Woodside, near Harvest Market or Harvest West. So it sounded like crossing from as far upwind would be best, ie. Elk.
|Final into-wind glide to the Riverside LZ.|
The weather conditions in the Fraser Valley were looking a bit overdevelop-y, but perfect for the north shore, and with a very low tide of 0.5m at 5pm, that meant a Tunnel Bluffs flying day!
I have only been up Tunnel a few times, it's a long hike for me so I don't do it very much. Many thanks to Guillaume who drove a bunch of us to the upper trailhead parking, and then drove back down, so we could get a 200m elevation gain head start while he hiked from the bottom (he's training as a supporter for the 2023 X-Alps!).
|A busy launch at Upper Tunnel|
This time of year there's lots of water available en-route, so no need to carry water, just a filter, saves some weight! And the launch still has a bit of snow in the back which is nice as that helps to reduce the chance of line-snaggage. When the snow fully melts it'll be time to add more grass seed to make the launch even nicer!
We had 9 people on launch today, which is a site record, and I opted to go last as I wanted to relax a bit after the hike and not feel like being in a rush. Plenty of lift in the skies, but down low it felt a bit rough, while up higher it was definitely smoother.
|Looking north up Howe Sound and the Brunswick Beach LZ.|
This time of year the Lions are still fully in the snow, and possibly top-landable, but with the always-there risk of sinking in up to your thighs and having a hard time relaunching :) Best to simply enjoy them from the air, and also the views of the Vancouver skyline, and of course the fjiord itself with the mountains dropping directly into Howe Sound. Some OD on Vancouver Island and also Gambier Island ended up with some rain coming out of a cloud that didn't seem to really justify it...just so unstable I guess!
Alex and I have been wanting to go on a southern California road trip, but unfortunately since many of the roads and passes in CA are currently (still) closed due to snow, flooding, landslide, etc, and since the weather on the Oregon coast was also looking iffy, we decided to head to the southern Okanagan instead to fly with the local pilots there.
It's still very much winter there with snow higher up, and the occasional snowsquall in the Willowbrook area. But flyable if you are willing to put up with the cold!
As usual Ottos was the call for most days (they have a ENE launch in addition to the usual S/SE launch), with the occasional McIntyre, Secrest, or Parker choices, depending on wind direction, strength, and whether it was going to OD or not.
As always, the trip was a success with several flights and also nice quiet camping listening to the coyotes at night. A nice change from the city!