Monday, January 05, 2015

Crazy Thermic

The title of this story is all I managed to text while I was flying, in response to the folks who were curious about conditions. You gotta be terse when you’re thermaling for your life! We had to scratch to get up and away from the knob, but once we got above the ridge, we were rewarded with the strongest and most organized thermals we’ve seen out there in a very long time, and we managed to score some rare higher and longer XC flights. Six of us flew from noon until dark, soaring and thermaling between the point and the monastery.

Matt flew first, after having hiked up with a friend. Don, Jayson and I flew next, thermaling up to three grand and connecting dots between the drop zone and the point.

For a brief period early on, the flow seemed to veer super east, right about the time poor Don was trying to scratch his way up. He retreated downwind to the end of the meadow and got super low before finally clawing his way up just in time for the direction to get sorted again.

Jayson had an exciting moment thermaling low at the end of the point, when he got a little too far behind his thermal and encountered some rotor on the backside. I was afraid he’d be landing on the other side, which didn’t look fun based on all the cats paws on the ocean over there. But fortunately he was able to push his way back to the front.

But those guys had to land after a couple of hours, leaving me to seek my cross country fortune alone. I thermaled my way all the way out to the monastery at the foot of Mt. Kaala, almost as far as I’ve ever been, and considered going farther, but I was worried about retrieve logistics, so I turned back while I still had some height to play with. Meanwhile Thom and Drew hiked up and flew the last couple of hours with me as the sun set behind the point.

What an exceptional day out there. Many thanks to Drew for the refreshments!


JaysonB said...

Great flying and great photos Alex!
As for my "exciting moment", it must have just looked that way from your higher vantage. I never had any height or rotor issues :)

sandy said...

Monastery? you mean the guys who worship the giant golf ball?

Alex said...

No, it's a real monastery. The only landmark I know in the foothills of Mt. Ka'ala. They produce heavenly thermals there as I found on an exciting mission long ago.

JK said...

Artful launch.

Thom said...

The thermals had diminished by the time I got there. Alex said,"The thermals are tired and weak just like me." He'd been flying for awhile and stayed up just to keep me and Drew safe. I still got to go further on the ridge than I ever did past the drop zone. So baby steps toward the goal of Kala.

Thanks for the pics Jayson it egged me on to drive up at such a late hour. Easiest solo launch ever off the knob, it was perfect. Even though I only hit 1800' with the earlier crowd hitting near 3K it was a relaxing flight.

Here's to the Dill/HDH may everyone get a flight there this year.