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Chiefs to the Nuthouse to Chiefs (Top Land) to Fillmore
Doubling up on the weekend for Sunday sunshine. The high pressure had settled in with mild Santa Anna, but not enough east to push through Ojai. The Lapse rate was ok with the 6K temp forecasted to be 5C climbing to 6C. The altitudes were good enough with pilots getting into the low 5s over the high ground. Light wind from all directions depending on the draw, drain, cover, and exposure. Early going was a little weak with sharp edges. Good lift in the middle of the day, with smoother edges later on.
5 vehicles with close to 20 pilots; 1/3 - 2/3 mix of HG & PG.
Airborne about 11:15 behind Art and in front of Tom P. Fun launch. Up over 5 at the middle bump and on course to The Stooges. Still early and stuck for about 5 minutes. Back on course with 4+. Art made the connection with 500 less. The lack of west wind was letting pilots transition low. Nordhoff was working ok out front, but the edges were sharp. Topped in the mid 4s a couple of times. Wanted 5+ from The Pyramid, or 45+ from Spine One for the crossing, but was 500 short. Rounded the Nut House Launch Turn Point, and headed east with 32.
Back to the mid 4s at The Pyramid, and on to The Stooges. Got there several hundred below the peak and topped out at 49. Took the spine up from Twin Peaks for a top landing at Chiefs. 25 minute break and watch the HGs launch. Off again just before 1 and out to Twin Peaks due to limited altitude. On course with 45.
Left West Repeater with 42. The east bound glides had been sub par due to limited tail wind and some localized headwind. Got to East Repeater a couple hundred below on the west spine and found some convection to work up to the peak. Centered one up to the lower 4s and headed over to Boyd's. Found a weak smooth thermal in the middle and tracked it back up the spine to 43. Over to Puckers. Was able to connect on the high ground with a hundred to spare. The thermals were coming off the west side but drifting from the east. Worked up the spine to The Tit, maintaining a few hundred terrain clearance on the way. Topped about 45 and headed east down the SE spine toward Santa Paula Ridge. Flew into a bonus smoothie about a mile out and got back to 49, plenty for the connection.
Got to Santa Paula Ridge with 4, but had east wind at altitude. Pressed upspine / upwind. At lower altitude it was SW below the protective cover. Easy going down on the west ridge line, so I stayed low and worked up to the top of the high ridge using the convective ridge lift. Once on top, I tested the upper limit a couple of times, but kept finding east wind above the cover. Cautiously worked over to the SE spine of Santa Paula Peak, and topped in the low 5s for the glide.
Gave The Pratt's a cell call to check the wind. Chris said it had been east earlier, and Mark went up the hill to fly Oat. I figured the west was starting to push through and I was right on time. Got across on a good seam with convergence thermals mixed in. Arrived over the Fillmore Foothills with 32 and climbed to 35. Thinking the west was pushing through, I pressed deeper into the hills looking for a stronger core. Started getting some north, then ran into a wall of east wind.
Turned out to the south toward town, but the east got worse as I got closer to the Santa Clara River. Now low enough to see the wind in the tree tops, I was concerned about being lee side and turned downwind. The wind was less the further west I went. Flew back across the Sesepe, but couldn't quite reach the convergence with the altitude I had left. Landed between the two bridges at 2:50
While packing up, Mark Pratt and another pilot launched from the main Oat launch. They were working the west side, apparently protected from the east river air. Mark thermaled up about 500 over launch.
Tom P and Edward collected me and I connected with Craig in Ventura.
Back home in good time. Caught the sunset from Bret and Jerry's new place on the old airport mesa. Craig made the Spaghetti.