Pine SS x 3
Short flight and top land ~ 5 min
To Thorn Point and back to top land at launch ~ 11 miles x2 ~ 4 hr.
To Frazier Mountain and back out the airport ~ 18 miles ~ 1½ hr.
Last day of the monsoonal moisture, and Diablo had crew. Early go due to potential OD. Met Tony and Carolyn on Olive Street about 8:40 (avoided Rite Aid due to the Fair). 10:15 at launch. and ready to pull up at 10:30.
Had to wait on a cycle. It came in smooth and buoyant. Everything was going up in the mellow air, but I had a knot in the lines that wasn't coming out. Forced a side hill landing with a slight downwind component. Ron cleared the line and I was off again about 11ish.
Not as good of a cycle. Had to look out front. Finally got up into the 8s. Took my time scouting for better altitude, and ended up at Thorn Point (11 miles east of launch). It's pretty easy getting to Throne, but you often get stuck, not high enough to go OTB, and it's upwind back to Decision Point. Climbed into the low 8s right away at Thorne, but couldn't get high enough for a run at Grade Valley.
Wanted to head back west, but it typically blows west past Decision Point. Tried several routes. Took the back ridge west and tried to run south toward the Splitter, but sensed draw into the tail of the Chute, and lee side sink behind the Splitter. Had to retreat north to the back range low and ridge up. Back to Thorne again, but 8ish was the best I could do. Headed west on the ridge again to try the rim along the tail of the Chute. The base flow is from the SW, but the Chute was drawing from the SE. Hit some strong lift over the middle of the rim, but I was backing up into the Chute without much altitude, so I held my ground. Got spanked around quite a bit.
Limped back the back range again, and dug back up to ridge line. Back over to Thorne and got to 75ish. Took it out front and cut across upwind to the west for the SE spine of the Splitter. Came in about half way up, in the lee, but it was drawing up from the SE. Above the block it was SW and spanky. Got around a couple of flutes, and finally to the SW side. That was good for a few hundred over, but the Splitter is in the lee of Decision Point, so it was not nice outside of the thermals.
Ran upwind for Decision and came in about a third of the way up. Repeated the ride up the SE spine in lee side draw, and the nasty sheer above the block. Had to run south to get around the next flute, and repeat. Finally around and on top of the SW spine. Headed back for launch, wanting to take a break from all the low altitude twisty air scratching. Got to 9 at Haddock on the way. Came in with the right altitude for approach, but it was letting off in front of launch, so I had to go back east a couple hundred yards to get out of the lift. Missed the approach, but I wanted down so I stuffed it into the brush just below the road. 3 pm
Clouds were forming nice above launch, and almost half way out to 33. I though the north would push through, hoping to get up and out to Ojai. Took a break and tried to get off just after 3:30, but went on the back end of a cycle and had to abort. Finally off at 3:45. All the clouds had pushed back to the north. Could only get to 85ish, so took it OTB and up to cloudbase. Climb from 65ish to 11K at the 50/50. Lockwood was real dark. Tried to stay south and pick up some sun. Got to 12 and pointed for the SW spine of Frazier Mountain. There was more sun further south, but there isn't retrieval and cloudbase was down at 9ish in places, so unless you were willing to walk, the working altitude was poor.
Picked up a few scraps along the SW spine of Frazier, but got low and had to run for the road. The lower level wind was from the ENE, so I angled back toward the airport. It was blowing about 15 at touchdown. Couldn't quite make the road, and had to walk about a hundred yards. Edward pulled up as I was getting to the road, but for some unexplainable reason, he parked a another hundred yards away and insisted that I walk?? Chris Grantham helped with the gear.
No luck in persuading the crew to go for another, so Ojai bound. Dean gave me a ride back to Ventura. Packed up in my front yard.
Flew with too much ballast on the first flights, so the break pressure was heavy, and my timing was off. Did have a lot of energy retention.
Fun day exploring the tail of the Chute, but would prefer to avoid the upwind legs into the lee.