Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wenatchee take 4 - kinda.
1hr 45 minutes of battle at Baldy left three pilots on the ground and one lucky bugger still flying. - It happened that I was the bugger. Many times I have been on the other end of this crap shoot but today - well after the battle, not clearly won but ready to stop fighting I gave in and left on a frizbee at 5,000ft.
I have never left the butte that low, but there was lift, strong in places we just couldn't break through the inversion. I knew that if I kept fighting the butte had a better than average chance of ending my day as well so I figured take the frizbee and roll the dice at exit 11.
There are a couple of tricks that I know on the way to 11 and they were working and the low trigger just South West of the exit worked as expected. The problem with that lift trigger is that the thermal goes right into the firing range airspace.
Thanks to Wheelers maps I could track how close I was and play the corner. - I took the low trigger up till I had enough to push deeper. The second lift step really took me close to the corner but it worked and I scooted around and up. This gave enough altitude to push back to the ridge to the primary house. This took me up to well over 6,000 but I decided to wait until it developed more or I got to at least 7,500ft before leaving for the pocket glide.
This came sooner than expected and the glide cross the pocket had a nice surprise, a thermal mid pocket. Up and out with now easy glide to the Boylstons. A couple of sniffs and then I hit it. - What a Rocker. This was the first mega lift stream of the day. Entry into this thermal was the most dynamic and frightening I can imagine.
My inside wing lifted so high that I pendulumed way inside then swung back to the outside as I entered with a big pushback of my wing behind me then a surge forward as I snagged it. And add 50% to that description. I had at least 3 events like this during the flight from that point forward. The lift was so sharp and strong that it just gave me the willys.
Cloud streets set up at this point and they drew me back over the dreaded tiger country. Lift was so big I had to stay to the West of the clouds and it was a real battle of will between going deeper onto the Clockum(sp?) which meant going back into battle with the lift and clouds or giving in and sliding into Eburg. Each lift and cloud made me more committed. Mer was on the radio and kept track of my progress as she headed first toward Quincy then on the Wenatchee.
At one point I had an easy glide cross the Columbia NW of Crescent Bar but a cloud street was setting up back up into the hills just south of the Wenatchee air space. The line was lifty and I pushed back into it but it wasn't strong enough to grant me the clouds so I had to abort but that killed my slide to the easy retrieve side of the river.
I made it back to roads but way south of Wenatchee on the West side requires a bit of a drive for retrieve. Landed nice and had a quick pickup. Good fun but lots of work.