The Nut House to The Pyramid to Cate School
~ 2 + 14 miles
1 hour 20 minutes
Got excited about the clear skies and good lapse rate. Met Pipkin and Brendan at Nordhoff about 10:15. We would have been earlier, but a little slow going in the morning. A chest cold kept me up hacking during the night. It was NE above so the Nut House was the call and I figured some heavy breathing might be good. It was blowing down canyon about 5 to 8 at the trailhead, so we looked back up the road a bit and it was coming up river. Climbing uphill about 10:30.
Good hiking conditions; not too hot and the bugs were minimal. I got a head start on Tom & Brendan, but Brendan passed and left us huffing and puffing. Tom usually passes me about half way, but I was able to hold him off today, a small triumph. About 50 minutes on the climb. Launch look clean, and the cycles were solid and consistent, with peak gust up to 15ish. By the time I got ready to pull up it was lulling to zero. Got off about 11:40 at the beginning of a good cycle after a lull to zero. Was 200 over after the second turn.
The thermal tracked up the spine a ways. Got maybe 6 hundred over. When I left it the bottom fell out and I was drifting away from the hill. Lee side. Pressed on and got to the next little face. It had some convection coming up and I climbed up over 3K. Dolphined over to Spine One and got there with 35. Climbed to 4K, but it was NE above. Didn't like the ratty edges. Considered taking my altitude and drifting out for a crossing attempt, but it looked like a long way. I opted to head toward Nordhoff Ridge, thinking it may block better over there and we might go to big altitude. Got the Pyramid about half way up and it was blowing down. Had to flush out and back to the low point in front of Spine One.
Worked up the spine and got to 44. Followed the drift out for a crossing and kept finding buoyant air good for a few hundred here and there. It was blowing down on launch by now. Pipkin had gotten off, but plummeted in the lee and was on the ground in short order. He reported gust down the river into the upper teens. OJ reported south wind about 10ish at his house. Brendan had to hike down. I worked the bulging convergence as the out canyon flow plowed under the valley air and got to 64 over the river.
The convergence over the river was smooth, but further west it was a bumpy ride in the lee of the ridge up to White Ledge. The wind was from the NNE. Not too strong, but I wasn't willing to push upwind and try to get established on the ridge. Perhaps a faster glider like Diablo's Atos would have the horsepower. Got 6 just south of Taft's Valley. Down into the upper 4s on the south side of the foothills in front of White Ledge. Probably had enough to run for Laguna Ridge and bail to 150 if it didn't work. Didn't think I had enough to keep going west for Chismahoo so I turned upwind and got on the bar to press uphill toward the lee of White Ledge.
Thought I'd get up over the pastures on top of the foothills, but no joy, so I continued on into the saddle. Seemed to have a tailwind at the lower altitude, but as I approached White Ledge low, I was in the lee and got spanked off by a NE wind. Looked like a possible landing in the pastures on top of the foothills, but I blundered into a sweety that pegged the vario. Went west with 54 on a buoyant line and got to Chismahoo with 56.
I was drifting too far out front. I had Carp made on the glide, but if I wanted to connect into SB I needed to drive back into the mountains. Considered running uphill for East Divide. It looked like it would work but if it didn't, I'd be hiking. Opted to go for West Divide instead because it has a fire break. Didn't fight the drift hoping it would work out front. Got there with 43. Plenty high to head down wind toward home, but not high enough to continue on half way between the back ridge and the lower front foothills. Went right and got on the bar heading north up the spine.
I was approaching the relief hoping to get below the north, but it started getting ratty and it was still upwind into the lee. Seemed like if I just pressed a little further it might work, but my spanking at White Ledge was still fresh. Looking over my shoulder, I was about to go below the slope I needed to get out. Having home made a few minutes earlier, I wasn't willing to land out so I turned around and headed back down the spine. Got out of the north right away and was plugging against a light SW headwind.
Was hoping to boost back up out front but it as a little hazy lower (crystal clear up higher). Nada. Cleared the Gobernador Hill with a hundred plus. It's usually soarable at the Gobernador, but not today. Not much wind so I reached upwind across the canyon for Cate School. Came in with a few hundred to spare. Land at 1 PM
Packed and hiked down to 150. Brendan and Pipkin boosted me back to my car. Home about 2:45.