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New Nut House Record / Open Distance from Launch
To Goleta, 30 mi, (Paterson & Queen Anne Lane)
2 flights, 10 minutes & 3:40
High Pressure, but prefrontal with mid level winds from the South, SE, and East. The wind was localized and different at lower altitudes. Strong in places ( Debbie was consistently gusting into the mid 20s from the SE ) and calm in others. A little SW on a few occasions. The wind backed off later in the afternoon. Started out with some questionable high clouds, but by noon they had thinned and good sun was getting through. The lapse rate was average, better later in the day due to thicker high clouds early. The Forrest Service had the road closed, so the Nut House was an easy call.
Small turn out for the hike. 5 pilots; Tom P (of course), the only local; Chris Paul for his first Nut House experience and his second Ojai flight; Adam form Malibu for his first Ojai flight; and last up, but not least, Christian, back from the Olympics.
We got an early start to beat the heat and hoping to get on course. On launch at 10:10 am. The high clouds were still fluxing. Despite seeing hawks early, it wasn't heating good enough. I took a try about 10:30. Climbed a hundred over 2 or 3 times, but was stuck and couldn't climb up the spine on several attempts. Searched out front for nothing but smooth air. Finally had to plant it on the face to avoid flushing. Back up on launch in time to see Tom P give it a try. Still early, he got off in a bad cycle and went to the parking lot.
I punched off again about 11:35. The high clouds had thinned and it was cycling in more consistently. Easy climb up to 35 without much drift. Headed for Spine One and encountered increasing wind from the east. Climbed to 39, but the east wind coming around the corner was gusting over 15 and it blew me off. I took what I had and ran for the river crossing.
Mostly down wind, but a lot of sink on the way. Encountered some west down lower, and picked up a couple hundred in the convergence. Speed bar to the lower east end of the middle ridge. Came in even with the ridge line, and found a sweet spot. It was mostly south, but since I had the SW draw into the gap on approach, I thought it had SW in it, so I continued up the spine trying to get around the next point. Once around the point, I realized it was SE and I was now below the ridge on the wrong side of the point. Came back to the spot that was working, but I was too far below and had to run back across the river.
Came in between cycles on the west spine about 600 below launch (400 off the road) . Searched the face over to the SE spine, but didn't find anything worth a turn. Down to about 200 off the road, I snagged a small bubble to break even. Got it mapped out and started to climb. The cycle got better and I was able to drive back up to launch.
Christian was up, but everyone else had flushed. He made a run for Spine One, hit the east wind and got whacked in the lee. I tested over that way also, but was gun shy and gave up early. There was a wall of wind over toward Spine One, but back toward launch it was sheltered and the thermals didn't have much drift. I got to 36 a little in front of launch and gave it another try. There was some south wind coming into the gap, so it was more upwind along this line. Couldn't reach the mid ridge so I tried the low point on the back ridge. Not working and had to fall back again. Came in 100 higher this time and climbed back up easily.
I was thinking about trying a downwind run up Matilija Canyon, but Christian was climbing over 4K at launch. I finally got to 42 and headed across again. Had a good seam with extenders most of the way and got on the bar toward the end. Was able to drive over to Bump 2. A lot of south wind, so I was cautious about getting too far back. Plenty of lift out front and I was able to move over to Bump 3. Climbed to 45, but let the thermal go because I didn't want to drift too far back. Debbie was reporting gust to24. Ran uphill, but I seemed to be out of the wind, so I needed to angle for the back ridge. Went in as close as I had to, but if I got near the top of the ridge, I'd move out front. Took it all the way up toward White Ledge and topped about 48 short of the gap. Ran for it and cleared with 50'.
Went around the corner, down to 45, and had to scratch. There wasn't any wind in the back. Got over toward East Divide, but never got back to ridge line and had to come out and try to get around the flutes. Down below 4K on the second flute, I found the SE wind and was able to work it back up to the main spine. Climbed to 56. Easy going west bound with a modest tailwind. Dolphined all the way over to the west end of Power Line Ridge.
Picked up a little here and there, but mostly continued to dolphin along with the light tail wind. Came in on Ramero below The Road Cut. It was SW on the beach, but we still had light SE in the mountains. The good lee side thermals were coming off the sunny west faces. Tracked back up above the Road Cut into the mid 3s. Montecito was working, but I floundered and had to run for a low intercept on the SE finger of Parkers. Found a week thermal over the power lines (~ 1,600' msl) and was able to work back up to the top. The protected thermal on the west side got me over 3 and I glided to the Holy Hills. Followed one back up to The Tit and topped about 4K. Thought of trying to get to the training hill, but could only get into the high 3s at Cathedral.
The late day air was getting nice. Debbie had backed off to about 10 from the SE. Some NW below San Marcos Pass, and SW at the airport. Back up over No Name, and spotted some hawks climbing out in front of the VOR spine. It was getting late and I didn't want to deal with potential south wind funneling through San Marcos Pass, so I angled out for the hawks. Picked up a few hundred and continued on toward the airport. Good line, but started picking up some light NW approaching Old San Marcos Road. The north part was ok, but the west was hurting my glide. Tom P was reporting light south on the deck.
Got over a residential neighborhood past Patterson Ave and weighed my options. I was looking at a west bound street, but I dropped into light south below 200 agl. Queen Anne road look wide enough and the landing was smooth. 3:15
We stopped at Frank's for some fuel, and Tom P got me back to my car at Nordhoff. Home about 5:30
Good team support from Edward, John, and Tom P on lead chase.