Saturday, January 31, 2009

Desperation Launch - Saddle South

Glad you found my new Blog Site. - I just felt I needed a change in name. Newbeeskypilot was not only spelled wrong but some have been suggesting that I may no longer be a Newbie. Fair enough, the reflections of my first year will hopefully grow into reflections of flight in general and of renown if fortunes strike.
As to the new name "Preacher" some of you know the story and some may not. You will have to stay tuned for the explanation post. The story is worthy of a crafted blog so stay tuned.
I also hope to post a recap of Valle soon but life, work and flying seem to take more time than the sun allows. This blog is for flying so - After a week of terafirming Friday's clamor rang the bell.
Doc S made the call for Saddle and we hit the road by 10:00am. - The winds were just right 8 to 13 the only problem was that they were due south over the back. - A quick check and a move to the alternate site, the South Launch at Saddle.
South at Saddle you ask?
Yep there is a South launch at Saddle. It takes about 45 minutes from the normal LZ to get to the top. You just head east from Mattawa about 22 miles and turn left up the hill to Saddle ridge and then back West to the high peak Wahitas. The key to South at saddle is the retrieve. It is no man's(sic.) land - long hike to the road. Rick and I got permission from the local orchardist to park my rig at the far NE corner of their property making a glide from Wahitas to the rig a possiblity.
We got to launch about 3:30 and found it blown out and snowed in so down we went with tails between our legs checking lower level south facing bowls as a lark. The wind died off and our hopes were raised. Back we went to the launch and we found favorable "cycles."
Rick's truck got a scolding for not making it the final 1/4 mile up the summit trail. But 5ft snow drifts gave it a reasonable excuse. Rick stayed with his truck and launched from the lower eastern most point of the summit complex while I hiked up and west to give my glide hampered 1-2 a chance for the truck.
Rick's forward went without problem but the top launch almost munched me. Heavy sharp rocks and brambles between them made for impossible footing and challenging line management. - Of course just as I was ready to launch the winds pick up to 12 or better making precision imperative.
A quick pop and stumble and over I went, the wind picked up and I had to pop my beaners to avoid a drag over the back. This launch was not a good idea so I bundled and trundled down to a nice saddle near but not at the very top. This worked well and off I flew - Tight and small hoping to make each ridge that separated me from my truck.
I could see Rick hiking by the time I launched and we joined forces at the truck just as I was folding my wing.
Rick says this site has been called "desperation launch." - You have to be desperate to fly if you find your way all the way out here in the middle of nowhere for a 6 min. sledder.
But We FLEW.


DocRWS said...

Biggest problem with Wahatis launch is that the flats to the south, west of the powerlines, are off limits to launch or land paragliders due to designation as a wildlife refuge. If caught hiking there with your pack on I suggest you present yourself as a bird watcher.

Matt Thyer said...

LOL, welcome back Shepard. How was Mexico. Sorry I couldn't make it this year :(