Thursday, March 17, 2011
So, - this was the deal, - 1:00 P.M. - As Jeff and I got to launch we had light cycles inbound from S to SSE - There was a light to medium light cirrus layer and a fair Cu development at around 5,500 to 6k. As we arrived there were three nice cu and 3 corresponding shadows between Baldy and exit 11. - By the time we were set to launch - 5 - 10 min or less the full flats between Baldy and 11 were totally shadowed out.
In front of Baldy we had a small blocking/shadow creating set of Cu-s - Timing was the trick -- there looked to be an opportunity in 5-10 min. with openings expected as the clouds in front looked to slide east for a bit. - This was the case - We both launched into nice easy cycles and pushing right out front caught 100-300 up 1/2 way out to the airport.
Lift wasn't super solid but was regular enough that we didn't go down. - Winds were S not SW and that effected the lift / thermal shapes.
After a few minutes of play we were up and over the towers and as the core took us up the clouds over the flats to the NE were very dark. Nothing was above us directly but at about 4500 to 5000 I took a whack on the right and felt my wing dragging me up and to the left. - Looking East the clouds were obviously very lifty but not friendly looking - we would have had to go lea side as the windward side of the street was in firing range airspace. To the West we had verga and snow between Uptanum ridge and Mt. Clemmons.
The combination of dicey potential - a windward wack aka rowdy air - rapid changing conditions and being between fronts on the day was enough for me and I pulled in my ears and headed west to clear sky. - I continued to climb for a 2-3 minute or so which confirmed my decision. - Jeff followed my lead and we landed by his rig.
Fun stuff - Bigger balls than mine were needed to make the run - I am sure it could have been done - but I keep hearing Gordon's words: "I could have died" and Mer's "That wasn't any fun" when I look at making runs at big ass streets with certain but rowdy lift.
Spring time is energetic and changes very quickly - It all dropped out by 3:30.