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Flight Articles from Friday, 3/15/2002 [Weather Archive] [Craig Warren] [Sundowner] [Diablo]
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Tom Beidler
Friday, 3/15/2002

Big Altitude Hike / Snowball from Hell

Well I'm still not sure, after reading Chris' post, whether I did the right thing or not.

At launch saw a couple of sledders and one Rattle Snake Canyon landing and thought, missed it!  Luckily this didn't deter Kristi who launched and skied out.  A number of others followed and I was last.  Actually got below launch before finding it and making the beeline to the Thermal Factory.  Climbed to 8000' in lift that was unlike anything I've seen at the Skyport.  At one point my vario was chirping like a throttled canary consistently at 1,400 to 1,600 fpm for almost two minutes.

Started chasing Chris who was chasing the gaggle.  The first time I jumped in my speed bar my line snapped.  Oh well, with the tailwind, I didn't think I would need it.

Chris and I soon found ourselves jumping from peak to peak.  Always hitting it low, trying to work the ridge soaring when we were ultra low, which was often the case, not trying to get caught on the lea side of the ridge where you couldn't tell if your butt or your stomach was sinking faster, and waiting to find that thermal that would get us high enough to the next peak.  Most of the time I was pretty tense but at one point when Chris and I work doing some creative ridge soaring, he yelled out "This sucks!" At least a little levity.

I almost through in the towel on the peak before because I didn't want to try the Ojai thing the way we were going.  I started trying to glide out but had second thoughts and headed back.  Chris was working the top of the range on the next peak and didn't seem to be doing that good.  I got in front and worked some mild ridge lift.  After a short while I noticed Chris was gone.  I tried to head back to see if I could see him but I got on the lee side of a ridge and had that "sinking feeling."  Got back in front and tried to get high enough there to see if he was ok.  I soon saw him climbing up over one of the peaks.  I tried to give him the thumbs up asking him if he was ok ( I lost my radio on the Brazil trip).  He looked ok so I thought I'm gonna go land and let everyone know that we were both ok but Chris had a nasty hike out.

I thought I was doing good on the glide out but came up short and landed on snowball.  As I packed up I saw Chris had relaunched and looked to be doing ok.  Made a wrong turn hiking out, went West but talked to Ron F. on the phone and he said "Go East young man!"  Overall it took me two and a half hours to hike out to Linden Ave in Carpinteria.  Turns out I had the nasty hike out.

Oh well, it was fun.





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