The North-East Wind is Awesome!! Plus- The Thermals are back!!

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Yesterday was great!

Kind of weird though, as it was very windy everywhere EXCEPT Mammoth Mountain! Normally it is the exact opposite- everywhere else is usually flyable, while Mammoth Pass is just being hammered by the wind. But yesterday was the exception- Mikey called me from Bishop, saying that it was super windy and gusty down there. The weather stations in the area were telling me to go skiing or climbing, and don’t even think of trying to put a wing in the air. But the summit of Mammoth Mountain was reporting only 20 t0 24 mph on top, and down in town it felt only about 10+ mph. Yeah, this is borderline flyable; So I grabbed my fastest PG, the Omega 8, and headed for the gondola!

mammoth mountain ski

I called Mammoth Resort for my daily flight clearance, and they asked me not to fly until after 3pm because it was a busy weekend with skiers everywhere up top. I agreed, and by 2:59 I was on top and strapped in! It was kind of intense launching into wind that high with a snakey EN D glider, but the Omega chewed up that wussy wind! Before I knew it, I was almost a thousand over the top, in a mixture of strong ridge lift and yes- Thermals!!!

Since last November, the thermic activity has slowed down to almost nothing. The winters here, for many reasons, do not produce good, flyable thermals. Towards late Fall, the XC season slowly dies out, and winter sets in. Sometimes we go down to the White Mountains to fly, as the High Sierra is kind of asleep under a bed of snow for a few months. Then sometime in late winter/early spring, the thermals start to return to the higher elevations. Yippy!

mammoth soar

Yesterday was nice because I expected to soar for a bit, then go land down by the golf course. But immedietly after launching, I noticed that there was more lift than just the upslope breeze- Thermals!!! I soared and thermaled the summit area for about a half hour or so, until I was about a thousand over. Then I stomped the speed bar and pointed it for the Sherwins. I crossed over Twin Lakes at 10,500 feet, but the Mammoth Pass Venturi started to work me. The wing only now decided it was pist off, and that flying in this wind might have been a bad idea. I fought my way south, and tried to head for the soarable NE side of Sherwin Ridge.

After leaving the vicinity of Mammoth Pass, the wind was back to normal, and I could thermal freely. I flew to the southern end of Sherwin Ridge, down towards Mt Laurel, before turning around and coming back to town. It was a pleasantly surprising flight- I expected high winds, turbulence, and only some ridge lift; but found only great conditions!

The NE wind is still in place…..


-Dave Turner




One Response to The North-East Wind is Awesome!! Plus- The Thermals are back!!

  1. Beatrice Turner says:

    David Lee …… WOW !

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