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Friday, 8/14/2020 [Weather] and [Flight Articles] by [Sarah] [Logan] & [Sundowner] [JPG]
Leg 1 ~ 12.6 miles / The Nuthouse Launch to Hines Peak
Leg 2 ~ 34.2 miles / Hines Peak to Westmont College
total distance around 1 turn point ~ 46.8 miles
~ 4 hours 44 minutes airtime, Launch at 11:15 and land at 3:59 PDT
Niviuk Icepeak 7
Reference: [IGC Text Data File] and [Google Earth KMZ File] or [Ayvri Web Animation]
Sundowner's Flight Report, see also [Weather Archive]
Chris Lorimer and Logan alerted me to the potential for unseasonable weather later in the week so I took notice on Thursday and was on-board when Logan checked in. Chris Garcia had Edward lined up for a Pine trip, but I was leery about potential wind from the south and was lobbying for Fillmore because I didn't want to hike up to the Nuthouse in the heat. Nordhoff Ridge road was still closed for some unknown reason? Edward didn't want to crew from Fillmore, so Logan and I opted to hike up to the Nuthouse. We left the 91 Corolla at the base of the hill. Andrew Byron pulled up just after Logan started up.
The hike started out ok about 8:30, but midway up the sun was hot and I felt like I needed an IV. Fortunately, Logan and Andrew came back down to sherpa my gear bag and we were on launch around 10ish... We were a little early, so spent a some time cleaning launch.
Good launch at 11:15. Had to claw a little, but mostly an easy climb to ridge line then bobbed over to Spine One and connected up to a little over 4K. I was going to wait for Logan and Andrew at Spine One, but they took awhile too get off so I went fishing east. Only getting into the low 4s along Nordhoff Ridge. Did a little better (46) over Bruce's Point on the way to Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks was an easy climb up the spine to Chiefs Peak. Getting higher than over at Nordhoff, but still not much over the Peak. Opted to continue fishing toward higher terrain. Low 6s at the Repeater and only a few hundred over at the Topa Bluffs.
Despite the impressive lapse rate on paper, the thermals were only climbing about 500 over the terrain. Searched the length of the Bluffs with no luck so I came back to the high point about the same time that Logan and Andrew were arriving from the west. Since the max altitude seemed to be limited by the terrain height, I made several attempts to step back up on top of the high terrain behind (east of) the bluffs. Finally connected and got and extra thousand to 76 and went fishing toward Hines Peak.
Hines Peak is the highest spot of the front range, a little over 6700. I've flown over it a number of times but have never climbed up from there. Having worked up from the Nutnouse I was confident it would work good enough to get over the top, which it did, but the best I could do was 600 over (73ish). Considered continuing eastbound toward Turner Point and Devils Heart, but wasn't willing to do a multi-day hike if I couldn't get back, so I opted to top out and pull a glide around the SE side of the Bluffs.
Long (9+ miles) downhill glide back to Spine One from the Bluffs. Andrew and Logan opted to land by the vehicles and go for a swim, which made logistics easy for me but was also a dash of disappointment knowing that I wouldn't be flying with teammates. Topped at just under 43 for the glide across Hwy 33 against a light headwind. Came in marginally OK on Bump 1 and wiggled over to Bump 3 which is reliable. Got a little over 53 at the Back Step and 54 behind White Ledge, which was my highest altitude crossing over Casitas Pass. Fished around near the top of East Divide looking for better, but finally gave up and continued westbound. Almost flushed off Noon but was able to get up a little out front and dive back in for a 2nd try which worked better than the arrival cycle. Still working OKish along Castle ridge, but SB looked hazy and stable ahead.
Was able to wiggle up on the west side of the east spine of Montecito Peak. Might have been able to get a little higher but thought the west spine would work better late in the day, but I flushed off the west spine. Choose the main soccer field at Westmont knowing we aren't welcome but no one was there except maintenance staff. No wind on landing. The approach is downhill with some trees on the east side. I was a little high and long so I did an extra zag and missed the grass by a few feet. Ended on on the rubber track, but packed up on the grass, which was manicured like a golf course green with plenty of TLC and no usage. Couldn't let it go to waste...
Logan collected me and we had a sandwich in the grassy shade at Pierre Lafond Deli. Sweated off all my sunblock on the hike up, then over an hour on launch before almost 5 hours cooking while airborne. Never put on my gloves. I ran out of reachable water to drink with about an hour left in the flight and felt pretty dehydrated on landing at 4 PM.
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