The gods must have been appeased as the hang gliding
Saturday was incident free. Rich, Kurt and I went back to Elk. We are still
trying to repeat that illusive journey to the Central Valley from here. We were
set up and ready to go by 12:00. The cycles were coming straight in the south
launch, but to me they seemed more like wind gust rather than thermal cycles.
By 12:30 Kurt was itching to go. He launched by 12:40 and I launched at 12:45 with Rich a few minutes later. We were early. This time of year the sunrise is so much later that it takes a later launch before conditions get better. After 20 minutes Rich and I were on our way to Horse at only 5,500 (last weekend we were getting to 7,000 at Elk).
Prior to launch, at Richs suggestion, we had set a waypoint at Hull for 4,000. We then set our GPS to go to this waypoint. We could then tell exactly what we would need at Horse to make it to Hull. Over Horse, I climbed to 6,600. My GPS said it was a 19 to 1 glide to my waypoint. With the tail wind I figured I could easily make it, so I headed on my way. Rich was having trouble with a head cold and congestion and was having a more difficult time getting above 6,000 at Horse. With the tail wind I averaged 22 to 1 for the crossing.
I made it to Hull with plenty of altitude to spare but made a major mistake. I flew through lift on the way to the house thermal. I figured I would find better lift ahead. I was wrong. I was down to 3,000 over the knob at the end of the airstrip before I found lift again (the airstrip is at 2,000). It took almost 30 minutes to climb from here to the top of Hull. As I crossed over the timberline launch I saw 7 gliders set up waiting to launch. I yelled down that conditions were good and they should start launching.
Rich had a climb to 6,400 at Horse and figured he better head to Hull on that since he had been try to get up for most of an hour. He made it to Hull and soon joined me over the top. The only place we found lift was in very rough air. There were many times when I asked myself if I really wanted to circle around through that again. At 2:30 we had our best climb to just over 10,000. We made several attempts to fly toward the Central Valley, hoping for just one more thermal that would get us across the mountains. We could see clouds forming just 6 miles away, but were never able to find enough lift to continue.
Kurt finally made it to Hull and joined us in our attempts to cross to the Central Valley. After three and a half hours of this, each time topping out at a lower altitude, I gave up and headed for an aerial tour around the lake, heading first toward Snow, then around the lake. The landing conditions in the LZ were the norm for Hull and we all had easy landings. I did not realize how tight I had been gripping the base tube until after I landed. My fingers were numb and it took a good 10 minutes to get my feelings fully back. It was the longest I have been in air that rough for quite some time.
Vince's IGC file.