Pine SS x2
Tandem with Randall McCormick to Gorman ~ 28 miles ~ 3 hours
Tandem with Mike Paul (Chris's brother) to Oak View ~ 18 miles ~ 1½ hours
Needed a kitchen pass to get out, so I went fishing for a tandem victim and pulled Randall on board. We met Diablo & Rotor at Rite-Aid in Ventura just after 9:30. Loaded Edward on our way up. Cumulus were forming and Tony was joansing. Got to launch about 10:45.
Launch cycles were long, about 3 to 12, but built by the time Randall and I go airborne about a quarter past 11. Took 3 pulls. Seemed real cross once airborne. Finally got up from 65 out in front of the Knob to 92. Looked good just over the back, but fished around looking for more altitude. Finally went OTB with 85.
Found some lift right away, and climbed to 10½. Chris Paul was smoking us on the climbs and he headed off toward dry canyon. We looked a little further to the north and ended up fishing around for 45 minutes. Not really getting low, but couldn't connect to cloudbase. Diablo was acting as our probe, scouting around and giving us a look. Finally got up from our low point over the badlands short of the 50/50. Since the lift had been weak, I took it higher than I should have and got caught in the suck.
The vario was pegged for a few minutes going straight ahead on a SE heading. Got real cold and we topped about 14K. Used a bit more avoidance cushion and made our way over to the SW spine of Frazier Mountain. Crossed the towers in the high 12s. Considered turning around for a run at Ojai, but played the bad odds instead.
Down to 75 over the VOR above Gorman and was heading down the ridge toward Booster Junction. As we got lower, we encountered NE wind and fell off the ridge back toward the Freeway. It got stronger lower, and we ran downwind toward Hungry Valley hoping for a convergence. Tried one high bump, but didn't want to get behind anything low in the wind, so we threw out the anchor. I was worried about potential turb, but the field was open and it was smooth on the deck. We had walking speed penetration. Randal got unbuckled and stepped out at touchdown. I went for the long slide plowing down the grass and light brush.
We were near a dirt road, but there was a locked gate out at the entrance so we had to walk about a half a mile. Edward and Rotor were waiting as Diablo reported climbing through 11 K over the military base half way up the Tehachapis. Edward was anxious to get on course. Our options were:
We opted to hitch from Gorman toward 126. We last saw Chris Paul climbing on the SW spine of Frazier, but hadn't been able to reach him on the radio. He landed in Hungry Valley, and just happened to drive by as we were getting our gear out of Diablo's truck. The day was looking better. Collected Chris Grantham in Lockwood. Sharon had landed up a fork of Ranch Canyon and the rancher gave her a ride out to the entrance of Scheideck. A bit crammed with 6 and gear in Chris's 5 passenger SUV, but we were glad to be mobile.
Got to launch about a quarter till 5. We were concerned about possible north wind. It was shaded in out to the shelf and cycles were zero to 2. There were a few condors flying overhead, but they opted to roost. The sun came out by the time we were ready and it started to cycle in a little better. 6 people, 5 pilots, and 4 aircraft. The first 2 caught the sun cycles before it shaded in again. Taliban got up right away and left for Ojai.
Mike is 190ish, and it was getting weak. We didn't seem to have the sink rate to make it work. Looked all over; Rayes, out front several times. The best we could do was the low 8s in the smooth air. Got below launch a few times, but was able to hang on. Finally got over 9 and it got better. Light NW above the ridge. There was a good cloud off to the west, so we kept looking west when we lost a core. Eventually got to 12K, just below cloudbase, about a quarter past 6.
Pulled a good long glide (half hour plus) to a sweet no wind landing at Sunset School in Oakview.