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Saturday, 12/8/2001

Nordhoff Peak to San Antonio School

High clouds again.  The Santa Anna brought some old timers out of the woodwork, but the cirrus were thicker than expected.  I was planning to do the Nut House climb, but it was blowing about 8 knots down the river at the mouth of the canyon.  With multiple vehicles going to Nordhoff Peak, I'd have to be pretty stubborn to spend an hour hiking to a launch that was probably OTB when I could take a ride to a higher launch that should be blowing up.  It was pretty stiff out of the NE on the ride up, but launch was a mellow 0 to 6.

Airborne at 11.  Buoyant cycle, and a figure eight to a bit over launch.  It was calm on launch, but the air above was 10 to 15 out of the NE.  I was leery about being behind an upwind ridge, so I kept a defensive posture and moved down spine to get away form the back ridge.  On the front ridge I was out in front of, or below the north drift.  Benson marked the first workable thermal and I took it back up to 46.  The action out front was weak,  but when I tried to go back up the spine,  it was north and edgy.

The middle point seemed to be the most consistent.  There were thermals coming out of the SE bowl and converging with some NW at the point.  Down below 3K it was calm to light out of the SW, NE up above on the east side of Nordhoff, and NW on the west side.  I think the peak was splitting the north flow and it was converging over the middle point.  Probed once to the west with no luck.  Kept enough to get back to the middle point a couple hundred below.

With only one good spot, and minimal altitude, the traffic piled up.  Everyone seemed to be flying well, biting into the cores and avoiding the upwind edge.  After an hour, I got impatient and took 44 over to the Stooges.  Got there above and searched the whole thing.  Nada.  Left 500 below and cleared the wires into San Antonio with 30' to spare.

Thumb back to the High School and called it a short day.  Home by 1:20.