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Sunday 9/14/2014 [Weather]
and [Flight Articles] by [SD] [Chris
Scott] [JD] [Dizzy]
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Plus 2014 Mid September [Photo Sets] and [Track Logs]
Nuthouse to the Bluffs to Home
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Posted by brendanpegg » Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:02 am
Well, I had a nice flight. It was neither stellar nor record breaking,
but I still had a good time.
In discussing the possibilities with SD he was suggesting altitudes of 15K over the Topa Topa bluffs. I figured that would be plenty to push across the Sespe to I-5. Of course even with 15K possible, that didn't mean I was going to get to 15. I set my own minimum altitude at 12K. Hiking out of the Sespe is not something I wanted to play heavy odds with.
At launch SD said if he could get to 10K over the bluffs he would probably go with that. I made no promises.
It was pretty straightforward from the Nuthouse to the Bluffs. Lots of strong lift. Easy to get into the 6s as I worked my way across. I didn't see SD, and all I got from him on the radio was static, so I didn't know his situation. I saw Chris Paul limping back to the Repeater from low at the Bluffs as I was making my transition over there with about 7K. I also got a good look at the expanse of the Sespe. Endless. Very dry. Very brown. And very hot. Definitely wanted more altitude.
The chase situation was unsettling to me as well. We had no dedicated chase. Tony Deleo was chasing hang gliders but he was already on his way through Lockwood Valley when I got to the Bluffs. And I had not been able to make contact with him on the radio or on the phone that morning. And he certainly wasn't looking for me. So I figured I was pretty much on my own on this 107 degree day. No, I did not want to land in the Sespe.
I yo-yo'd a little at the Bluffs, but the highest I got was 9400. Not willing to go at that height. As I was fizzeling back down I saw Chris head north from the repeater and wished him well. Major cajones even to head for Thorn under the circumstances.
My fizzle on that round took me below the Bluffs, so I slid back over to the Repeater. That was the scary part of the day. The wind was blasting along the ridge. Penetration varied from low negatives to low positives. As I approached the antennas, the odds were about even that I would either get blown over the back or I would be top landing with zero penetration on the ridge. Odds I would not have accepted earlier in the day.
But I got lucky and kicked the bushes as I squeaked past the antennas and got in front of the venturi. And that was pretty much the end of my gusto. I eventually thermaled back up to 7 or so but now my challenge was getting home. It took a little work to get back over to Chiefs, but once there I got plenty high enough to pull the glide to the LZ next to my house.
Flight time was about 2.5 hours. Glad to be on the ground. Glad to be home.
Congrats to Chris and SD. You both took some very bold lines and I'm glad it worked out so well for you!
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