Flying in the North Cascadwes

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The weather in 2018 has been so far (as of June 12) not very fiendly to XC soaring pilots except on May 14.  Ron Clark and Henry Rebbeck took some very long tows from Arlington and posted the two best flights so far in 2018 for Region 8 -552.79 OLC points for Ron and 492.76 points for Hanry.  And fairly late on the same day Phil Rose took the SSF DG-1000 from Arlington to Ephrata - quite a day!  Just for refrence, the best flight from Ephrata was made by Movses Babayan with 492.22 points.

So here is Ron's report. 


A flight of two across the North Cascades

Last month, Henry and I had a fairly noteworthy flight across the mountains, and at Fred's insistence I will attempt to tell a little about our flight.  


We both took a tow to the Mt. Higgins area.  I think this area often works better than the other release point  to the south, Mt. Ditney.  It's a slightly longer tow, but I think it offers a few more options for finding thermals during the critical phase just after release.  I may change my mind, but for now I think it's better. 


Henry towed out first and was still not too far ahead by the time I got out there.  We didn't really plan a pair flight beforehand, so it was somewhat spontaneous, but off we went.  Crossing the Sauk river, we flew along the Suiattle river valley getting a couple climbs at Hurricane Mountain and Green Mountain reaching 8,000 feet.  The conditions improved and we were able to keep moving southeast.  Upon reaching 10,000 feet and passing Glacier Peak, we were now able to find reliable climbs and changed our landout options to Stehekin and Lake Wenatchee airstrips.  Truly out in the great wide open.  Turning east at Rampart Mountain we flew toward Lake Chelan, getting a nice climb to 11,000 feet at Gopher Mountain.  Crossing the deep blue Lake Chelan we reached the aptly named Sawtooth Range and made a turn to the north, flying past Stehekin and along Highway 20 with Diablo, and Ross lake coming into view.  We turned around just south of Jack Mountain.  We could have likely continued along the east side of Ross Lake another 10 or 15 miles, but the clouds seemed to have less vertical development, and I didn't trust them enough to continue. 


Turning southwest, with Stehekin airport to our left, we needed a climb and found one at Bonanza peak. That climb got us over the divide and put us on course along the Suiattle river valley to Mt. Chaval.  A couple small climbs here put us in good position to close our triangles and glide home. 


I have to commend Henry.  While not familiar with the terrain he didn't let that spoil a good opportunity.  I did my best to call out notable landmarks and routes, but mostly just tried to keep up with a talented pilot flying a very good glider.  


It was a flight to remember.





  • Flying in the North Cascadwes