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9/29/2001, Saturday

Nut House, Laps
54 miles around 4 turn points
7 miles from the Nut House to Chief's Launch (Top Landing)
12 miles westbound to one peak east of White Ledge
13 miles east bound to East Repeater
14 miles westbound to the SW spine of  White Ledge
7 miles back to landing in a field at the corner of Rice Road and Meyer

4:45 airtime plus a 15 minute social break at Chief's launch
Max altitude: over 9,400' (7,300' higher than launch)

It was almost Santa Anna without upper subsistence support.  The onshore flow was week from the SW down low and the upper wind was from the NE, increasing with altitude (10 to 15 knots above 7K).  The midday air was a bit more rock and roll than usual.  There were a few sharp edges, but without wind turb, it was manageable.  The valley started clear, but a haze build and the temp climbed at all altitudes throughout the day.  The forecast was calling for 95 in town, but the signs read 102.  It was still 98 at 5:30.

At least 3 trucks with crew went to the launches.  A gaggle of PGs off Nordhoff.  5 HGs plus Diablo on his Flame off Chief's.  Needing some exercise, I opted for the climb to the Nut House.  Started up at 10:20 and took an hour.  It was hot.  The trail is hard and loose this time of year.

Airborne about 11:45, climbing all the way.  A couple of 360s and I was 400 over.  There wasn't much wind, so the ridge lift thing didn't work.  Had to find a patches of convection on the faces, and thermals over the spines.  Went by Nordhoff Ridge in the low 4s.  There was a gaggle higher up in the east wind, but it was a down wind run eastbound at the lower altitudes.  The plan was to stay low in the SW for the eastbound leg, and climb up into the east wind for the westbound run.

Got to Twin Peaks kind of low, but worked up the spine ok.  Diablo launched when I was climbing out over the middle bump.    I felt like I could climb up over the point of the road, but I wanted to drop in on launch.  Took three approaches to get down.

Airborne again about 1 pm.  Found a thermal half way between the |Back Bump and Middle Bump.  Stepped up the spine and found a good core over the road in front of Chief's.  The rate got better above 55 and I took it to 82.  The wind was out of the east above, so I had drifted  SW of  the peak.  Stepped upwind and was back down below 7, but found a stronger core with better trajectory.  Took it to 87 and left downwind toward White Ledge Ridge.  Came in over the Third Bump with 42 and took one back up over 5.  Worked up the back ridge to the peak west of White Ledge, but couldn't hold it and fell off into the lower SW.

Took the low route downwind back to East Repeater.  Climbing good over East Repeater, I started picking up drift from the east in the low 4s.  I climbed into the low 5s and tried gliding toward Boyd's, but the wind was too much, drifting out of the NE, away from the Mountains.  I turned around and ran uphill toward the repeater.  Fished around and found a lee side thermal on the west side of the Rock Garden.  I got me high enough to run for a high intercept on the main spine at Chief's.  Got there half way between the Road Cut and the Back Bump.  Stepped up to the Road Cut and found a strong core.  It was drifting from the SW down lower, but above 55 it started leaning from the NE.  I took it to 77 and stepped upwind looking for a better anchor.  Found a stronger one and topped a bit over 9,400' (3:30).  Nice panorama.

Ran downwind all the way to the peak west of White Ledge.  I could tell the day was starting to fade.  Smooth air all the way on glide.  Got there with 46 and wiggled over above the saddle.  I was just under the peak, but again, I couldn't hold it .  Had to look out front on the point  (just behind the saddle).  The drift was still out of the east, and I found a weak core that got better.  Got over 5 and tip toed up the spine.  Cleared the saddle behind White Ledge with a hundred to spare, and ran SW along the north wall of the SW spine looking for convection boosters.  The spine was getting sun, and I only had to go about 500 yards down the spine to clear it.  Once on top, I climbed from 42 up to 52.

It was about 4:30, and the day was trending mellow and weak.  It was light downwind toward SB, but with only 52 hundred, and the day shutting down, I thought it best to try for Nordhoff HS.  Got back to 5ish out near the SE point, and headed upwind toward the east.  Never gained another 50 feet.  Final glide.  Down low it was light SW, and I needed the extenders along the lowest ridge to get back to the river.  Crossed by the Diversion Dam, and stretched as far toward Nordhoff as I could.  Came up a couple miles short and landed at 4:45.  Packed up and thumbed a ride back the HS.  Home by 6.

Sundowner