Skyport to 3 miles short of I5 on Hwy 126
LZ [Topo Map] [Aerial Photos]
about 59 miles
4 hours 45 minutes
Chris Paul was kind enough to collect me on his way through Carpinteria. We picked up Frank for crew, and loaded Benson and Art at Parma. Trying out my new duds from Eagle Paragliding. On launch about ten after ten. Weak but coming in. Airborne about 10:25. Had to go down to the Antenna Farm to get up.
The east faces were working for the first hour. Stepped up to The Factory and reached cloudbase a little under 4K. Took the glide all the way to the east spine of Montecito Peak. 32 from there. 35 above the Ramero Road Cut. Down to 25 at Castle Ridge, but once established, it worked ok, getting into the mid 3s. 4K at the Power Lines, and 45 right away above Noon Peak's Trapezoid.
I proceeded to ignore my objective judgment and make all the wrong moves going through The Pass. I thought for sure I was landing out a couple of times, but managed key saves. I love The Pass. It's a pristine wild place without trails, well suited to our mode of transport with varied routes and views. And it has the highest costal peaks in Southern California (I think). I like being down in it, 3D, low and committed. It's like there are real consequences, risk and reward, something to loose, but a prize on the other side (I don't have to spend the rest of the day getting out)!
There were clouds above both West Divide, and the lower spine in front. There was also a cloud above the knob in the back of the canyon midway between Noon and Divide. I should have taken my 45 hundred and cut across to the lower spine in front of West Divide, but I opted to head to the back ridge and try the back bump in the canyon. I could maintain over the bump, but couldn't get up. My plan B was to fall back to the front of Noon, but I went left instead, knowing that I didn't have enough to get to Divide above the saddle. When I couldn't clear the saddle, I had to limp back to the SW and try to get around to the front of the lower spine. Fortunately, there was some lift along the NW face, so I was able to ridge soar up and get on top. The lower spine worked fine, and I got back to 42 (Divide Peak is 47).
Couldn't connect to the upper peak, so I looked out the SE spine. Finally went off the end for East Divide with 41. The conservative move would have been to backtrack and get to 5K over West Divide. Got on top of the East Divide spine down lower and searched down hill. Came up behind a rocky point and had to go around. Since the east faces had been working all morning, and there hadn't been much wind, I opted to try left. As soon as I veered left, I realized that there as west wind funneling over the lower saddle. I tried to go back right, but it was too late. I was caught in the lee and had to run for White Ledge.
Came near the bottom of the SW spine at White Ledge, well behind the dirt road crossing Coyote Creek. Fortunately, the west wind was pushing all the way to the SW face so I was able to ridge soar up to the lowest bump. Searched back up the spine toward the main SW Bump, and found a strong core. Back up to 45. No more action on the SW white ledge, so I had to go around the front point below the top. Worked back up from the SE over the rock field to the front point and connected up to 48. Tom Pipkin and Chris Grantham spotted me from Ojai, and they both offered chase.
Came in on the Nut House with 500 over. Climbed into the low 3s and pressed upwind for Spine One. Gained 500 on the glide over. Tried to skip Spine One, but was lower coming off the east side and had to back track. Up to 45 and on course. The lift was strong and swirly. Kept leaving the thermals because I didn't like them, but would get low and have to dig in for some rock and roll. The lift on the spine up behind Boyd's was nice, and I got my highest for the day into the mid 5s.
Came in on Santa Paula Ridge about half way up, and was easily able to ridge soar up the high ridge. Got into the low 5s. Got a poor glide leaving Santa Paula Peak for Fillmore. Up high, there was light wind from the north. Once I got lower, I picked up the tailwind from the west and the glide got better. Down to 1500 msl at Fillmore, but connected back to 25 near Jack's Place, and 48 on the drift from the "F". No tailwind up high again. It was blowing 10 to 15 up the river, but less at altitude.
2K on the low ridge east of Piru. Tracked some scraps up to 25 that finally merged into a good zone. Nice smooth climb up to 4K. Flew over the last peak (2290'), nothing but smooth air. Could have reached for the road straight downwind, but opted to angle out. Land next to 126 about 3 miles short of Interstate 5. About 3:10
Pick up and walk to Tom Pipkin's Jeep. Home at 4:10. Pack up in front yard.