Monday, April 30, 2007

Mountain Travel and Rescue course

This past weekend I participated in the Mountain Travel and Rescue course, organized by the National Ski Patrol. The course began last month and included five three hour classes at the local REI. The course culminated this weekend with a three day backpacking trip to Albion Basin, which is just outside Alta Ski Resort. We began with a short but demanding two and one half mile hike into the basin. The objective of the course is to enhance a ski patrolers knowledge, as well as learn outdoor survival skills. Once we were at our destination, the first order of business was to build snow caves. After only three hours of grueling digging, our shelters were complete. We cooked dinner and promptly crashed in our ice dwellings. The caves were actually quite warm. If the caves are built properly, air that is warmed by respiration's and body heat are trapped in the upper part of the cave where you sleep. Cold air settles in the bottom of the cave and is carried out by gravity. The next few days were filled with mock searches, map and compass exercises and and a pretty cool rescue course. Anyway, great times!!

Matt, a fellow patroler, heads up a fixed line

Amazing amount of snow! Amy, on a compass heading

The spot we made camp was in a little mini cirque, as you can see in the background. Perfect for the high angle rescue scenarios

The last night we had an insane bon fire that left a fifteen foot wide by six foot deep crater in the snow, (we had to fill before departing the next day).

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday Chores

Today Greg Billow and I drove down to Inspo. We spent a few hours at the bail out LZ, clearing overgrowth. Later We headed up to launch and flew. Greg has given a great account of our flights at check it out. Anyway, the Heritage LZ is looking better than ever. We also spent some more time clearing the potential north launch on top.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Moma "s" is cookin'

It seems the Point of the Mountain's south side is always full of surprises, especially when flown in the mid afternoon. I arrived around two thirty this afternoon to find a couple of pilots already in the air. I set up and launched around three. The wind was averaging 20-25mph when I took off. I immediately climbed to 400ft over without a turn, and began trending toward the high tension wires to the east of launch. The air was burbling with little pockets of buoyant lift, nothing substantial, just constant 100-200ft per min lift. I flew upwind slowly until I was over the the freshly paved asphalt in the new residential area to the south. I found great lift over the asphalt and began working it. The thermal turned into a substantial core, as I drifted with it over the back of Blue balls (a set of towers on one of the westerly facing peaks). The drift was pretty good so I worked the thermal for a few more turns and headed upwind to the same spot over the residential area, again finding a substantial core about the same place. This time the thermal landed me 1400ft over launch, the highest I've been on the South Side. I continued to play for over 45min, never getting below 1000ft above launch. I decided to land after an hour, and soon after, the wind picked up to around 30-35mph so I decided to wait for a calm cycle. After a while, John Fitzgerald drove up and proceeded to drive his new 4x4 vehicle over the large burm in the LZ. He high centered his miniature SUV on the edge of the hill and teetered there helplessly. I came to his aid with my Tacoma. Looking forward to the up coming flying season!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Inspo Work Day (and play)

Greg Billow, Jeff Obrien and myself headed up last Friday for some flying at Inspiration Point in Provo, UT. Jeff and Greg ended up with great two hour flights and I ended up with an acceptable thirty minute thermal chase.
We drove back up to the top to retrieve Gregs truck and ended up working on the north launch for a few hours.

Greg paying some cleanup dues.

Jeff. Even sky gods must pay their dues.

A great place to cool off in the summer, located close to the bailout LZ - where I landed.