Thursday, March 8, 2007

Williams Wave Feb 20

The forecast was looking good for some wave on the Sierra, but I was interested to see if the wave would also work on this forecast for the Coast range out of Williams:

Tuesday morning Darryl and I woke up to fog, but I was still enthusiastic about the day as the forecast showed good lower level winds with moisture picking up by early afternoon. No need for a dawn launch!

The fog cleared and I self-launched first, thermalling under a cu near the airport up to 4500ft then headed west. The clouds to the north clearly had a laminar look to them giving me confidence the day was progressing as expected. As I was fighting a headwind and the 26E climbs best at about 48 knots, I wasn't going very fast over the ground. Darryl aerotows well after me but catches up and passes me. I want to ensure I'm in the wave before shutting down, so climbed to 8500 north of St. John. Darryl was well above climbing in 4 knots. I eventually saw him and we headed north, as he reminded me to turn on my transponder so he could see me on his Zaon device. We both went up toward Alder Springs up a cloud canyon. Darryl turned south, while I headed north a bit further. I found a good climb and went to 15.4K. Winds at that height were 50knots+ with a great view. (Click on image for movie. Requires Quicktime 7 and a broadband connection.)

I'm able to head south following the pattern of the wave bar clouds below:

past Indian Valley Reservoir then west to Crazy Creek. At this point I've caught up with the cirrus band overhead, a spectacular sight:

giving an unusual depth to the sky.

The undulations in the clouds stop south of here (Calistoga) so I head north, but now having sunk to near cloud top level. Not too much of a problem, just surf the upwind side of the clouds AND always have a decent sized hole within reach. Back on the NE side of Clear Lake I climb back up to 11K with the wave bars now clearly in a laminar mode.

I hop east to Rumsey gap and pull the spoilers to drop down to the ridgeline, per Peter's suggestion. I check for ridge lift and it's there, so it's a fast run down the ridge. (
Click on image for movie. Requires Quicktime 7 and a broadband connection.)

to the gap west of Williams. A pull up and a downwind glide to Williams puts me on the ground a few minutes before sunset. What a great day. Thanks to Darryl and Peter for the company, and to Stan for getting them off the ground.