Friday, February 10, 2012

High Diaphanous Clouds and the Ohulehule Triangle

I drove around the corner to see Alex above Hidden Valley behind Swanzys, and knew it was a bay crossing day. The cloud base was so high that, later on, even when I reached 4,000 feet I could not tell how high base was. 2,000 more, I thought: those diaphanous little devils were so high it was hard to discern.

Up to North launch to see so many visitors. I thought I was in another country! It's excellent to see so many returning and new faces. Alex came back to top land, and off he went again. After Gaza launched, I asked Kaaawa Larry if he was going next, and he said no, so out I laid as no one else was looking ready, then into the north wind abyss I dove, and luckily up I ascended and around the corner I went for better lift.

Knowing well that Alex had a head start, I dove back to Puu Piei, the back peak, as the lift in front was minimal in the early morning. Then it hit me -- the first thermal of the day, and up to 3,500+ feet as I drove forward to the front, in zeros with a nice cloud high above, then across the bay and into the wind which was now turned well more east. But from this altitude, the crossing was easy, and Alex was soon to follow as we both got stinking high in the now more well formed thermals.

As I was drifting back from behind Kaaawa school in a fatty at 3500+ feet, I was chatting with Big Al about the conditions, which were looking EPIC for an attempt towards Makapuu, with the super high base and decent 10 mph forward penetration. But Alex was coming up with dozens of scary reasons he thought why it was not looking good for him, so off I went to Triangle Peak (Puu Ohulehule) alone without my buddy "Cold Feet", as he had four thousand reasons. As soon as I made it past the rotor of the front Kualoa ridge, I hit a screamer up to 4,000 feet, and although I could not tell exactly, still the cloud base looked another 1,500 to 2,000 feet above me! It still scared the bejesus out of me how fast I was climbing and not stopping my skyward progression, so I got out of the thermal into zeros and felt better about the climb stopping.

Not having any company for the trek to Makapuu, I took some pics while dropping to 3,500 feet, then on bar I went forward around the front of Kualoa's front ridge! I have never done that before, so I knew that the beer would be on me after the flight. As I climbed up now in front over Kualoa, Alex came across the front side to join me. Topping out a couple times at around 3,800-4,000 feet, I finally went back across to the Kaaawa side and completed the Ohulehule triangle I have always wanted to score! Alex joined me again, and we both scored a drifter so high that when I lost it I was over Kahana Beach LZ, and went on glide straight over Puu Piei, still well over 3,000 feet, not even stopping. Off to the peaks above Sacred Falls straight away! Amazing this day truly was!!! Big Al joined me at Sacred falls, and we played till we caught another fatty to the heavens.

We drifted slowly toward Hauula, till we both lost it, and off down the coast we both went. On the way I just missed another big one behind Hauula, but Alex snagged it big time, and went back up to probably 4,000 feet again. Then behind Pounders I found a little help on the front line out, while Alex went deep with his amazing altitude. Cruising out to dirt at the far end of Malaekahana at the edge of Kahuku it was a fun flight. Alex, with altitude to reach Turtle Bay now, pressed over a half mile forward to the coast to join me. Now that's a friend! Big Mahalos to Kaaawa Larry who drove down to pick us up and back to the Kingdom of Kahana we rode, to enjoy the late evening with the remaining pilots and barley bevvies. That's two firsts for me in one week's time! I love 2012 so far! We had so many pilots out today it was spectacular!

Mad Dog


firedave2 said...

Chris, Jorge and I had plans to head over to join you and Alex. The changing conditions left us struggling down low, but it seemed to make a stellar day for you. My neck was sore looking up at you far overhead. Nice link up.

sandy said...

Wow, what a spectacular flight!

So Al, could you give us a sampling of those 4000 reasons?? They must have been VERY compelling as I know the thought of a MPU-bound aerial journey on such a magical day must have been (at least to MadDog). Nah, you don't have to give the reasons; I'm just jealous. Sounds like a fabulous flight anyway.

Ka'a'awa Larry said...

Sounds like 4,000 cold feet to me. (But diaphanous has a good ring to it, too.)
Nice flying and inspiration to you both.