Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fun, Flap & Fly

Thursday through Sunday non-stop.

Thursday I got a buddy to go up Baldy with me and then on retrieve. I am new enough that I still have friends that haven’t done this yet. Conditions were perfect. Nice light cycles out of the SW on launch and at 3:30 things were calming down so, as he was a firefighter and knew how to dial 911 if needed, I broke the flying alone rule. (Sorry Rick.)

Scratched down the hill in it seemed like more than usual sink but stuck to the W ridge hoping and praying that my analysis of other's successful tracks would pay off. It did, little bumps and then lower, little blipps then lower and then ping, ping, ping and off to the races cranking an easy up to 8200 non-stop. (new personal high)

Nice big cloud over head just sucked and sucked – I ran South to stay out but made little head way, just enough to stay clear the cloud.

Then I made the dash for 82 and got there @ 5500 or so. Then head wind cranked in from E-burg and I was stuck. I landed going straight down to maybe 4 mph backward soft in the sage.

Friday was also great.

Started with breakfast and local site orientations with Steve Rupe from Reno. Steve’s USPA card reads member since 1973. He treated me to great stories as we covered local flying options for when he is in town on business. With your help we were able to scrounge a wing and harness which he enjoyed on Saturday at Chelan (see below). Thanks to all who made that possible.

Plans were now full on for Baldy with Steve Pieniak, Snuffy, and Heather, Steve from Cashmere, and Chris Culler on hang with Martin and Curt coming up later if it was working, all hoping for some big air. At the rock at 12:30 we had foolish hopes that the winds that were cranking North in the valley would magically dissipate at altitude. LOL

Down we go for an afternoon in search for airtime. First stop Selah Butte, great older site not flown much at the southern end of the canyon. – Winds a bit better, the site really wants West, but not good enough to fly.

Off to look at Bob’s bump which we never got to because it was now north in Yakima. Now on to the Gap and the West end of Rattle Snake Ridge. Winds lighter and promising finally low enough to think about wings when the Elephant called. I pointed down range and said if we wanted a bit stronger cycles then I would go East to The Elephant. At the time a really nice lifty looking cloud was forming over the Elephant and as I pointed to the hill Steve said, “you mean that hill with that great little cloud over it? That was all it took and it was back in the car and up the Elephant.

Winds on top were great but as usual for the Elephant in North they were a bit west so not the best angle for the hill. Steve and Heather went to para-wait on the West end of the ridge and Steve kited for two steps. I was on the air with Yakima Control seeking permission to exceed 500 AGL as Steve is hooking a shredded rocker that gave him a 50% dead center frontal. I tell him he is cleared above 500agl just as he is thinking “this leaning over column of ratty lift is not what I call fun.” Steve bugs West and down and we re-group, if Steve wanted off The Elephant then the rest of us all just returned our tickets to the carnie and looked for some cotton candy.

Chris, our token hang, was a different story. He locked in to a great ridge/lift/thermam/whatever flight for about an hour before the ground crowd started talking about finding some Mexican for dinner. Short retrieve and take down and off to Santiago’s for great food and fun. Gail, my wife, was just off work and joined the party.

Saturday's initial plans for Baldy shift north for Chelan as the weather God’s want to avoid the wind. Funny how, in fact, most stayed West of the mountains, wonder how they knew. Chelan was fun but weird. Got up there with Randy with Dianna on retrieve and hopes for big air.

Only 6 bags on top with a bakers dozen of Hangs setting up. One by one they would throw themselves into a sacrificial sea of sink. What caused these manic fools to keep up their suicidal ritual is beyond me but one by one they went over the lip between the rocks. – Finally by 3:30 we were running out of sacrificial wings and it began to look like lift might arrive. It was as if there was a cap on any lift right at 3 grand. – One hang finaly got up and a Bag was working it so we began to suit up.

I launched the Monster with a real long run. Randy went rocks and caught a great cycle straight up to 7400. My work was cut out for me as I cruised cross the South face for 3 trees. It was working like Rick said it would and I milked it to 6600. A real nice 50 minute flight with lots of rocking and rolling.

We put Saturday to bed with a visit to the Ranch where 10 newbees and a few old faces were just wrapping up a long day. Doug and Dennis were in usual good form. With stories in hand we all headed down to the Mexican restraunt for more food and beer before the trek home.

Sunday arrives with more hopes for Baldy with drivers and more new friends in place for after Church.

The Dad's day afternoon is Dad's choice. Mine was Baldy. - Up the road and light light flow from the north gives a very easy North launch. - Down along the east ridge no real lift until Bang a bullet. Turn tight hang on round and round we go. After droping well below the sumit it is now 5K now 6K and top out twice round 6800. - Which way to go. - Declared Goal was North and back but North wind might be too strong and my car is in the south LZ so South I go. Sink sink sink until the leading edge of Selah Butte. - Little lift should have been able to work more but sink sink so where to land - not in the steep canyon so I picked the big bowl and had a landing in switch. I called it right and landed to a south wind bout 7 to 10 lifty air as gentle as a baby's bottom.

Big smiles and the owners grandson gave me a ride back to the car and I was home in time to log the flight before work started up at 5:00.

This Game Is Sooo Fun.


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