Thursday, July 26, 2012

Holy S.....

And then there is the Holy S.....

Pardon the French but the mix beer and oxi's are taking effect. So just a note for those who are watching - I quit paragliding today! - It happened at about 5 grand over Baldy. - It has been fun but I'm done!

Mer, Dave, Jeff Smith and I attacked the hill with confidence and solid team work. - We found a down driver who left early, so we were stuck on the hill or hike down.  - Conditions were obviously strong. - Yesterday report was of massive up in sweet smooth thermals. - Would today should be more of the same!.

Conditions on launch were solid N with the promise of a switch to the SW when the bowl started to cook. - Smith and Gene were late,  Gene so late that he bailed. - It was all their fault. - LOL - so anyway N with lulls at 12:15 - Clouded out as the big CU builds above the Butte. - It is going to switch. - And like a clock it does - the CU moves NE ant the SW flow starts but it does so with a series of  mega dusties that run up and over the W ridge. - Multiple jump on wings to keep them down.

 Where to set up. - Dave asked  "If this were a comp where would you set up?" my answer - W launch.  - so....  15 minutes later there I was in the heart of the beast!

Cycles were, well not cycles anymore just thermic flow with periodic lulls. - Jeff was watching as I set for launch. - LULL where are you.  I made two pull up attempts in lulls but the wing just spun, once to the West and once to the East. - OK no lull launch - lets try an end of cycle launch. - (this is not at P2 game), up over, stable, drive, and pluck, and 300 ft vertical in 2.5 seconds! - Wham bam thank you mam. - Series of 8s and I was coring up to 5k.

I made a quick call to Jeff recommending he do it different, like S launch which was firming up. I skied and found myself at 5200 in what felt to be the strongest Baldy Bullet I have ever encountered - the vario tape doesn't agree but I was convinced at the time and pushed out.

The others, intrepid or dense, launched without event. As they were launching I had determined that I was done. - I found a bit of nice sink just NE of the S LZ and lazily cored sink till my feet were on the ground.

Wheels landed in the N LZ  unwilling to do battle either. - Jeff and Mer finally had their fill at the end of the canyon landing near the truck stop. -

VERY BIG AIR TODAY -  ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! - my hats off to the other three, well done and well quit!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sky High

Dateline Chelan: Hot, Hot, very Hot. After a reasonable practice day the Open was underway today.

This year I have the honor and the anxiety of being “boy weather.” Calling the weather for a comp is more stressful than I had imagined. It is quite important to get many elements right so that the task committee can make a good task call. They have done their own weather but I had to dig deep to make wind calls and lift calls that help the task committee make their task call.

As the day progressed things were not working out. – Lift on launch was just not there. – It was hot and stable with winds out of the NE – The NE had been discussed as a likely dynamic but the stable nature of the day was a bit of a surprise. Top of usable lift was right on at about 12,000 ft on the flats but the lift was very slow at the Butte and didn’t top much above 7,500 which was meager at best for the river crossing.
Stinking High! - view from 12,000ft

A great deal of effort and skill was expended by those who made it up and onto the flats. Once established the reward of solid and enjoyable climbs to between 10,500 and 12,000 ft were common but not universal.

The challenge of launch was predicted and came to pass. – Many were challenged by the light and switchy cycles. – Hot and switchy – some spent more that an hour and a half trying to get off launch.

I determined to wait for the best of the day, likely just a bit late but I did climb out to 6,700 without much effort and then with a lifty line got deep on the rim above some very good friends who had found a little squeeker that was working. – I was able to center on them and boost out to well over 10,000 and slide up north and inland on a fine track that took me to lift gaining and passing 12,000ft. – Just lovely high.

I didn’t find the house thermal SW of Bridgeport so I ended on a terminal glide to a landing about 45k short of goal. – 2.75 hrs of nice clean work – much less effort than most. I made up by working hard at retrieve but from inside of the AC cooled van. Apologies’ to those who had to wait for us – it was a mega hot wait / hike for some.

All in all the weather turned out to be just about as predicted, (except the stable Butte climb) max altitude was dead on and the NE winds were challenging as expected on launch although the Strong S at altitude and late didn’t really quite manifest itself, though we did get a very nice task with 5 in goal and a good distribution over the coarse. – I scored 21st or so which is great for me. Much better than my stellar 60th at the Rat race.

Storms tomorrow?