Columbia Trip 2015

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Mark Tulloch
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

Columbia Trip 2015

Postby Mark Tulloch » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:06 am

Day one started with a three hour trip from Medellin to Jerico, a beautiful small town around the 2000 meter level. Launch is close to town with a large valley below. Laura and Karen flew twice with most of the group, landing once at the designated LZ then later heading out into the valley to land. I flew once and had nice orientation flight around the area. Was setting up over the LZ and about to choose a path when I caught a low save and climbed out.

http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/1094377

Mark Tulloch
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

Postby Mark Tulloch » Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:13 pm

Day 2 high cirrus but light cycles on launch. We decide on a scratch (duration) contest with all landings in the small designated bail out landing field then to come back up in hopes for better conditions. The tour guides want to be sure everyone's landing skills for small field is good as not all areas, actually few areas, have nice big LZ's in this northern valley. Tour guide Manu is off first and shows there are small areas of lift along the way down the spine. I'm off next followed by Ron, Karen, Laura, Jean and Erico. Jean-Pierre decides to sit out and Monique goes last. Most of us find light lift and use it to varying degrees. I spot some smoke changing direction and leave the others as our lift is getting lighter anyway. No one follows me and I get lucky with some birds showing me where the lift is along a spine while the others land. The Uru's don't mind sharing but eventually a large hawk decides I shouldn't get too close to his area and makes a run at me. What a time to have not set up the camera! Laura's vario gets ejected on final but Karen saw it drop so a concentrated search party recovered it intact.
We go back up and Laura and Jean-Pierre decide to go to the gondola to the peak to see the botanical gardens up there while the rest of us fly out to the river. Manu, Jean and Erico find some lift in the valley and use it to get up on the other side of the river while the rest of us land alongside the river. Tomorrow we go to another site beside a coffee plantation.

Mark Tulloch
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

Postby Mark Tulloch » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:29 pm

Day 3 We check out of Jerico and head over the plateau to a coffee plantation for a quick tour. One hectare of land, one farmer, 2 crops a year, 60 tons of coffee beans that must be picked regularly as they ripen at different times, pick, crush, separate, wash, dry and sort to end up with 9 tons of coffee that net an annual income of $3000. Enjoy your next double-double, the dairy farmer probably made more than the coffee farmer!
The launch is about 100 meters away and quickly all the school children and their parents were all up there to see the pilots fly off. Today's goal was to make it as close as possible to the town at the south end of the valley where we will stay for the next 3 nights. The cirrus is supposed to lift tomorrow which should allow us an opportunity for triangles or out and returns. Today we are hoping for whatever lift the skies offer. The early launchers mostly get a bit over the top, a hundred meters or so although a few struggle. Conditions get lighter on launch. I'm third from last and don't like the lighter conditions as the launch are is essentially a washout on the cliff side and I don't relish running too far through some ugly terrain. After a few aborted starts I get the cycle I want and get off clean. Laura and Monique follow a bit later.
I head south right away as all the others left long before and none are in sight. There is nothing in front of launch and I find little but ratty bubbles with no real shape as I glide along the face of the mountains. The walls are close to vertical yet there are coffee plantations planted right on these steep slopes that a mountain goat would hesitate to climb. I see no one left on the range, they have all gone out to the valley after finding nothing usable on the east faces. I spot Karin and Ron working lift lower in the valley and start heading out, no sense staying on the range if it isn't working, might as well try the valley since it looks like it could be. As I get closer I see a small gaggle of birds between them, Ron being further north than Karin and a bit higher. I go to the birds, start to climb slowly and keep an eye on both. Ron looks to be climbing a bit better but is upwind. Karin looks low and maintaining. Ron joins me as Laura comes out too low below us to get our lift and chooses an airstrip by the river to land in. Karin joins her shortly as our lift also slows. I had seen Erico over on a green spine on the west side of the river climbing earlier but now only see shade. I decide to cross the river to a ridge there with an antenna and get get rewarded with a steady climb of a few hundred meters. Ron chooses the greener side and shortly I see him land in my planned bail out field. I have the town on a glide now and head to the next spine hoping to find one more thermal that will get me onto the range east of the town. I join a large gaggle of locals but only gain sporadically, eventually heading out to the goal LZ on the edge of town. Erico and Jean-Phillipe also made town, Jean landed before Karin and Laura and Monique came up a little short of clearing the last powerline and landed between Ron and myself.

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pecofly
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Hey Mark

Postby pecofly » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:50 pm

Nice stories but I don,t get all this Leonardo da Vinci stuff,, send some pics ((:
PeteR

Mark Tulloch
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Postby Mark Tulloch » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:19 pm

Day 4 New site today at the south end of the same valley near La Pintada, the town we flew to yesterday. Cordoncillo is a mountain east of La Pintada at about 1590m (valley about 600m). It seems many of the tour operators use different launches on the same hills, maybe professional courtesy or side deals with land owners? Another group was launching only 500m away as we were getting a site briefing. The launch only allows one at a time but has ample room to prep your gear. A decent slope goes down to a banana plantation. A spine runs down from launch all the way to a bail out and thermals trigger off all along it. The regular LZ is a 6:1 glide out. Monique was off first today, and got quite low on the spine before picking up a nice one and climbing out above us. Jean, Enrico and Karin followed in suit. I muffed a few launch attempts and let Ron go. He had a few tries and got off clean and grovelled down to the point he was out of his harness over the bailout when he got one and climbed right up! I was off next then Jean Phillipe, followed later by Karen and Manu. Jean headed off early and didn't find a lot along the route I guess as he was soon down along the river. Monique climbed up and went across the gap to the next hills and found something in the foothills. I shot across next going past her and hitting a nice climb near the cliff face. Laura launched and rocketed up to 2300, several hundred meters more than most of us would see this day. Next she found the associated sink and landed out. The others saw that Monique and I were doing fine and came across with more height and hooked something before getting to us. They stayed high in the plateau while Monique and I had to work our way back up. At one point I saw three different pilots get 40-60% collapses in the span of about 10 seconds. I headed out to valley to where I found a thermal yesterday but found only light broken lift and headed back. Monique had decided she had enough and had headed to the river field. Ron followed as did Karen while Jean Phillipe got a bit higher and made the crossing to find lift on the next mountain across the river. Enrico passed me as I headed back to the mountain and headed for the foothills in front of Los Farallon where he was successful yesterday and hit it again today, climbing out and being joined by Jean Phillipe. I heading over La Pintada and spent about half an hour maintaining over town waiting to get high enough to keep pressing. Despite being told Los Farallon does work I saw enough birds there to know it was working today! Then gliders from Jerico started arriving! I kept pushing that way and got around the corner on the first peak for my second best climb of the day. Much of the valley was ODing at this point. All our group was reported down with Enrico having pushed further north with limited success. I headed over to the second peak but came in a bit low to make the corner to get on the west side so crossed the Cauca river and glider out over the spine of the next peak to reach the river landing field the others had used earlier south of town.
http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/1095177
Yesterdays flight (extended glide) http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/1095059
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pecofly
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Sweet!

Postby pecofly » Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:00 am

That looks awesome Mark
My buddy lives in Colombia and has been trying to get me there for years
Gonna have to take him up on it real soon
Pete

Mark Tulloch
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

Postby Mark Tulloch » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:53 pm

Day 5 dawns cloudy and gloomy. What!???! After breakfast and some fresh juice we all meet back at the hotel and decide to put off a decision for a few hours, as the occasional raindrop fails to evaporate before reaching the ground.
I forgot to mention that yesterday at the the landing field along the river I met up with Dave Osborne from Ladysmith; he's on a flying tour with Jockey Sanderson!
We gather and discuss some thermaling technique theory and disseminate yesterdays flights and provide some valuable technical improvements that could be made to my launch technique (that others could also use I suppose)! After a few hours there is a hint of definition in the sky and we decide to head up.
Arriving at launch the skies are still quite overcast, a steady wind is coming in and few birds are visible. Within 5 minutes a few birds are soaring, within 15 the steady wind dies back and weak thermals have the local vultures showing up. Manu launches and scratches up. The French contingent all bails off and slowly drop out. Karen, Ron and Laura all launch with the same fate. I bring up the rear again and try putting into action some of the advice of the morning debriefing and am off first try and into some tight lift which I work over the top and climb out. Manu top lands on the lower launch so Monique can fly while the Jeep picks up the others. I do a run to the north end of the ridge and come back as Monique launches. We get to together for a while and later I head out to work lift in the valley as the others arrive back on top for second flights. Despite lighter conditions everyone again launches first try for a perfect day on launch. Everyone gets some light scratching action with the vultures and eventually divide between the main landing and the bailout. Nothing to write home about, oops I just did, but a nice day considering it looked like it should start raining any time.
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Juan Valdez and his dog Spot
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Loading up the Land Cruiser at the Hotel
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Mark Tulloch
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Postby Mark Tulloch » Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:12 pm

Day 6 and despite a clear night the clouds are back and look even thicker than yesterday. We meet at 9 for a quick debrief of the previous days flights and get into more theory on advanced thermal techniques and some very interesting insight into deployment situations and throw locations dependent on the reason for deployment. We put off a decision on flying today until noon. At noon it looks even worse and an occasional shower has been through. We decide to try to move ahead our vehicle booking as we are moving tonight anyway to Apia. No one wants to go up for a sledder.

https://www.google.ca/maps/dir/Apia+-+C ... 5.6!2d5.75
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Morning debrief
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Mark Tulloch
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Postby Mark Tulloch » Sat Feb 07, 2015 6:18 pm

Day 7 A long ride through the mountains last night, about 3 ½ hours. Arrived at Apia, a village high in the mountains. Stars, moon and lots of lightening! In the morning the cloud was low over the village which is quite common.
We leave for launch about 9:30 in another bright green Willys. Interesting track to launch and we arrive to more cloud. This is common here due to the moisture levels. Clouded in one second and totally soarable the next. We get a site briefing which requires a little imagination until the clouds start to lift and all is revealed. The cloud lifts and launchable cycles begin so Monique is off to show the way. Karin is quick behind followed by Ron, Laura and Mark. First time the North Americans are all off before the French.
The upper parts of the spine start working and I’m on big ears in no time to keep the ground in sight as the white room beckons. Everyone gets off, the second half finding the same lift higher on the spine than the first group. I glide out to the ridge to the south and pick up more there. I drift back to the lower spine a few minutes later and find much lighter lift. Three others glide over me on their way out into the valley and Erico stays behind, still high. I eventually climb out as Erico has now lost some of his height and I see the others that shot for the valley now low over the landing fields. Jean Philippe comes up short and lands in the bigger field closer to town. I cross back to the south ridge and find good lift and Erico follows. We get a radio call asking us if we want to come land with the others to go back up for another flight or stay up. Silly question!
Erico misses my thermal and keeps looking further along the ridge. I’m still climbing and start to wonder about his height. He heads back my way but then turns south again as he might not clear the ridge. He heads for a sunny spine and goes into survival mode. I decide to start punching upwind as clouds are forming with fairly regular spacing along the ridge that turns and runs south. I get along a few clouds and eventually see him land. A group of French pilots from Annecy and some others that arrived after I launched almost all head into the same valley as Erico and shoot for the mountain side to the west. One pilot comes along my path, shooting overhead as I climb. I see all but one that headed into the valley deck it. One crosses to our side and works his way back up to the top of the ridge. I’ve gone a few more kilometers south and reached the last cloud. The pilot that shot ahead is now trying to limp back at ridge height. Smoke from a distant sugar cane fire has reached us and the skies are getting very dark. The cu’s over the ridge are dissolving and the only sun is in the valley. I decide to head to the town closest to the planned LZ but find no lift at the tower and land in the big field on the edge of town.
The others on top found it clouded in and it only cleared when it blew down so they drove back to town. Erico caught a bus along with the other pilots in the valley and I walked to the city square, had a cold beer then caught a ride on top of a jeep back to Apia.
I would post more pictures but apparently there is a 5mb limit.

http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/1095935

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Postby ajb » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:42 am

Mark Tulloch wrote: I would post more pictures but apparently there is a 5mb limit.
Not anymore... keep posting.

Andrew

Mark Tulloch
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Postby Mark Tulloch » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:54 pm

Thanks Andrew! I'll try to keep adding a little flying content for those who must live vicariously through others at this time of year.
Day 8 and the forecast mentions and high possibility of rain sometime during the day. The clouds are higher than yesterday and so far it stays dry. We load up on a blue Willys in the square and head to launch along with another Willys full of local pilots. The road to launch has been rained on last night so it is too slick to go the last stretch with the truck so we walk in to find it straight in 5-8 but crest clouding in front. Very similar to yesterday. I get my gear out and set up my vario and radio and pack he harness bag in the harness while a tandem lays out. We go below launch for a briefing on the planned route and options to head south. Suddenly it starts spitting and as we move back up to launch heavier rain starts. We all run to get our gear under cover in the forest behind launch. Most pilots still had their gear in their bags. I scooped up all my stuff and huddled with Jean-Pierre under a poncho as the torrential downburst began. I'm not too sure the trees provided any protection at all! Three downbursts later and the wind turns tail about 15-20 and we all head for the trucks. It stops raining when we are back in Apia but the clouded in mountain top and tailwind remain until late afternoon at which point it is completely overcast and everyone has split off to roam the town. Karin, Laura, Ron and I criss-cross the town covering about 30 blocks, discovering some unique graffiti and some stores we missed seeing earlier. A forced relaxation day!
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Panoramic view of the town square from balcony at hotel.
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Mark over the north bowl at Jerico, photo by Manu
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Landing committee with launch in background
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Mark Tulloch
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Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

Postby Mark Tulloch » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:53 pm

Day 9 The heavy rains from last night have stopped but the cloud is very thick against the mountain. The main road from town is buried in mudslides and we will have to take the north side dirt road down the mountain for 20km then head south from the main valley. We can only head out once the rain stops which delays our departure. We head slowly down the mountain and head down into the valley. After descending about 600 meters we reach cloudbase! The valley however is sunny and we hope to find an open launch further down the valley around La Union or Roldanillo. After a few hours travel we spot gliders near la Union, most between dumping clouds attempting to stay dry. The launch is already in rain and the clouds are reaching over the back from the west. The valley looks nice but the earlier delay means it is unlikely we can get to a launch before it has turned catabatic. Instead we continue to Roldanillo and check into the hotel and make plans for tomorrows flying.

A primer for driving in Columbia, based strictly on my observations.
• What is considered in Canada to be tailgating, in Columbia is considered to be leaving room for someone to cut in front of you.
• Double yellow lines, stop signs, do not pass signs and speed limits appear to be polite suggestions for your consideration, not laws or guidelines.
• Walking on the side of the road facing traffic may mean you could get hit from behind by a car passing a car that is passing another car.
• Motorcycle riders must wear helmets in larger cities. Their passengers, however many there are, need not wear them. In smaller towns helmets are generally worn on the arm or left at home.
• The only place a pedestrian has any rights is in a traffic light controlled crosswalk. Being struck by a vehicle anywhere else is the pedestrians fault.
• Walking across a road with an oncoming vehicle, with plenty of space between, is a signal for the driver to accelerate.
• Motorcyclists and bicyclists expect cars and trucks to overtake them without changing lanes.
• The faint of heart need not apply for a drivers license.
• Passing a police vehicle that is chasing another vehicle with its lights flashing is normal.
• Weight limits for vehicles are often exceeded, grossly.
• Parking spots are at the discretion of the driver.
• In towns stop signs at intersections are non-existent, whoever gets through the intersection I guess had the right of way. Right of weight may be the best guide.
• As there are no seat belts on the roofs of the vehicles so you do not need to use them while sitting there. Note that sitting over the cab is most comfortable. Standing on the bumper or spare tire is also acceptable except in the city.
• Honking means thank you or hello, no one gets upset being honked at.
• Flats of eggs travel well on the hood of a Jeep on a bumpy gravel road, without being tied down, who knew?
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Jerico launch looking north
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Mark Tulloch
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Postby Mark Tulloch » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:26 pm

Day 10 Overcast skies at 6 but blue cracks form by 7. Low cloud is standard on the mountains with the high moisture levels around here and as usual cloudbase is below the 3 main launches. A light north is forecast switching to south as the day goes on. Everything looks perfect!
The plan is for the truck to be here and leave by 9 to get to launch early, get in a good briefing and be ready for the first opportunities. 9 arrives, the truck doesn't. 9:15 arrives, the truck doesn't. Manu calls. "Be there in 5 minutes!" The other 30 pilots staying at the same hotel have already left, so much for being early! Who knows how many more are in town. 9:30 arrives, the truck hasn't. Manu calls. "5 minutes! Be right there. 9:45 Manu finds another ride and we load up and leave. Halfway up the mountain, after 10, the driver calls from the Hotel "I'm here!" I'd have said "Be there in 5 minutes!"
We arrive on Pico launch where about 30 others are watching a tandem go off. We've seen several gliders laid out at the more southerly launch and can see many laid out at the World's launch about 2 km north. The tandem picks up lift at the first tower and disappears from our view in front of the low cloud during the site briefing. Later we see him low out in front close to the landing field. In the meantime a few others lay out and the rain starts! Everyone huddles under a small shelter, more worried about keeping their gliders dry than themselves. Shortly the rain stops and the launching starts.
Manu wind dummies and picks up lift down the spine and recommends ignoring the tower area and heading straight there. As he climbs out Jean Philippe, Jean, Ron and Laura get away. Erico is 3rd in the right line and I am second in the left. Erico is off before the guy in front of me and then the wind switches to south. A lull and one gets away and I'm next but it's over the back. There are about 12 already in line for the south launch. I decide to stay in place and hope for a lull or switch back. I go to power up the GoPro but it's dead! Several get off the south side. I get a lull and get away. By now the others out front are topping out and the group heads off on the planned journey to the south. I've missed the boat and Laura and Monique are still on launch. I get all the way down to the front spine before joining a few others at the only sunny spot left in a slow climb out of the gulley. Laura decides to not fly and I head to the next trigger spot before Monique gets away and joins the dozen plus pilots struggling on the last spine in the shade. I hit strong lift at the next point and reach cloudbase and head south on my own. One thermal later I reach Bolivar and spot Karin and Ron behind town where they landed after missing the lift at the end of their transition. I find weak lift here and have to decide between staying on the front in the foothills or shooting in deeper. The clouds are building big on the west side of the valley so the east facing slopes are 90% shaded and I decide to stay out front and head for the next antenna. Hitting the south side of that spine I find some lift but quite broken up. I see ahead that only Manu and Erico are still high and still quite far out of reach. The area they are in looks 100 shaded and I see no value in heading there low. I look back and decide to head to the end of the spine as it is in sun and there is a beautiful cloudstreet setting up across the valley. This is one of the wider spots in the valley and not usually crossed but the clouds say today this should work. At the point I find it and climb back to base, right on the end of that street. Manu and Rico decide to cross where they are as well and Monique is north of us doing the same. I don't need to turn under the first three clouds just slowing in the lift and gliding the rest. I make the third cloud before the last two start to dissipate so I am halfway and at cloudbase. I angle slightly south for the sugar cane factory at La Paila where I find steady lift that gives me a glide to Zarzal. The south end of Zarzal is working well and I drift into the hills to the east. I glide north and get low on the north side of town but it's lifting over the dirt fields and I gain a bit more while drifting north. The big corn fields mak ethe difference and I climb back to base at the edge of the rocky area south of La Victoria and glide the next 5 km without turning. I take a few small ones past La Victoria and have Obando on a glide. Coming in to Obando I learn that Monique was following the same patch ahead of me while Manu and Erico are still following me. I head east into the hills behind Obando and spot some birds over some pasture fields, join them and beam up to over 2300 meters. Going further north here can infringe on airspace so I back south into the headwind. The sky has gone blue and I'm not seeing any birds. I angle out the road and head over a cut cane field and pick up a small thermal about 150 meters off the deck. I gain 100 meters but I've drifted back over a few hundred hectares of sugar cane, not a place you want to land! I head back to the same field but don't find any more lift and land, just short of 4 hours. Monique sees me approach as she has snagged a ride and was driving by as I came in. Manu and Erico arrived at Obando as I left, climbed up and Manu made it a few miles past me while Erico landed close by me.
Upon landing my Compeo would not shut down. Eventually I removed the batteries since it wouldn't respond to any of the buttons and now it won't start again. Tonight I downloaded iVariometer so I guess tomorrow its a test and a fly by feel day. With the drying today there should be more sun, a higher cloudbase and maybe more wind on takeoff tomorrow!
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Street graffiti in Apia
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social time? No! hiding from from the rain.
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panorama of launch
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Mark Tulloch
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Postby Mark Tulloch » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:45 am

Day 11 The day dawns overcast but base is higher than launch. The cloud seems thicker than yesterday but things change quickly here and the instability is so great that it does not take much to get things going up. The moisture level is so high that there is always some sort of cloud. We head up at 9 am with the same truck we used yesterday. We arrive first at launch where the base has dropped level and the launch breeze is a bit stronger than yesterday. Soon others arrive although only about half as many pilots as yesterday. More have gone to the Worlds Launch today. The cloud base rises slightly over launch and drops occasionally below.
The first pilots launch about 10:45, go around the crest cloud and climb higher out front. Most from the Worlds Launch take a long glide through the shade to the bottom of the first spine where they get their first thermal. Monique leads out with Karin and Jean Philippe right behind then Ron and Mark. Jean and Erico follow then Laura and Manu. It’s quite bouyant all along the spine (since we are already at base) but then steady sink until we get out to the sun at the lower part of the spine. We get lots of company as the groups from the north join us. Most of the group climbs together with a few in separate gaggles. Monique leads out south with Karin, Jean, Ron, and Jean Phillipe, cutting over top the forested area. Erico opts to continue to the east face where he finds stronger lift that gets higher but the extra distance has him rejoin the group two thermals later. I top out then follow the group. They seem to be turning in several areas with no obvious best core. Jean and I head out in front a bit and find a steady core. Soon the others notice that we have something solid and join below us. We top out and I head south with several pilots low about 2 km ahead to use as spotters. Jean stays behind. I find lift at the south tip of the ridge and Manu directs the rest to head to me as he searches deeper in. Just before they arrive my thermal seems to dissipate so I decide to shoot across the Bolivar gap to the gravel pit where I have been watching several gliders who are now starting to climb. The group searches around the area I left until I get to the pit. I see the two low gliders are in the bowl that faces east but see smoke from the south. I can’t clear the ridge yet to get to the south side but choose the gravel pit itself instead of the bowl. I get steady .5 m/s and try to stick it. I notice the other two in the bowl are climbing a bit faster but are still lower and still tight in the bowl. I get enough height to jump across to the south face and am rewarded with steady lift as the others all arrive. Most get up but Jean Philippe and Karin miss out and land south of Bolivar. As we approach cloud base Manu suggests that with the high level of shading to the south we would have better options going back north. Jean has radio issues and misses the message, continuing south for a while then landing. Manu jumps back across the Bolivar gap first finding lift on the east face north of town. Ron and I arrive shortly after with Erico and Monique right behind us. We all climb up to base here, Manu leading out for the towers at Roldanillo. Ron and Rico are right below me as we approach cloud base and I need to pull ears and go full bar as we cruise under the street making quick time to the towers. Ron goes into the white room, doesn’t pull ears and relies on following his compass. He fortunately pops out a mile west of us heading for launch. Erico, Monique and I stick to the towers thermal but Manu leaves early, shooting for the foothills at the first ridge. We all climb well, topping out together and fanning out for the glide. I have the left flank and see right away the other two are dropping away quickly. I hit another steady core and noticing the clouds ahead in the valley are all dissipating decide its better to top up. The other two continue on. Seeing them dropping fast as I top out I decide to head into the foothills where I can see Ron a few miles over following the same line and Manu landing just before the foothills at the first spine. I decide to angle for the second spine instead but only find broken lift on arrival. Ron has found lift deeper in and is now about 500m higher than me. I shoot for the base of the third spine and find a strong core that rockets me up to hook up with Ron. Together we top out and shoot north. Erico and Monique struggle out in the flats but find a slow climb that gets them up and drifts them closer. Monique shoots ahead too soon and decks it before La Union. Rico stays with it and tops out at base over the mountains. Ron and I have shot ahead and seeing a blue hole ahead decide to turn at the towers at La Union and go back south to close off the out and return. Rico turns to join us but he stays behind as we press ahead and we get back to Roldanillo without him. We talked of doing another lap but the clouds were looking pretty ratty to the south by Bolivar and I saw nice development in the valley so I suggested we climb out at the towers again and go across to Zarzal. I hit a nice climb but Ron couldn’t locate it and went back over the city. I topped out and started cloud hopping across the valley. Ron got super low over the regular LZ but stuck it out and was rewarded with a nice climb back to base!
One thermal later and I’m gliding over Zarzal towards my trigger point from yesterday when I spot some birds just north of me. I divert there and take it up 500 meters then shoot north into the foothills in the same spot I hit it yesterday. Up we go! Looking north during the climb I see that there are no clouds left at all around Obando and just one big one over La Victoria. From the bus ride through there yesterday I know that landing areas around there are few and far between. I decide to make another valley crossing back to La Union. Ron now has worked his way across the valley to Zarzal for the first time! He doesn’t find much and glides back over town and picks a fallow field. I find lift in the valley and even spot a dust devil. I climb enough to reach the towers again at La Union and decide against going further north but instead head south. Ron calls on the radio to say that he has landed but is worried as the swarms of kids are making him anxious. I chat with him a few times so that they know he is in contact with someone. I’m getting drilled heading south as the sea breeze has kicked in and is flowing over the mountains and into the valley. I think about the ultralight airstrip but the flags are starched out and it has a large hill upwind so I move further south to a large fallow field. Five small collapses on approach, some major concentration and I am down safe for a nice 80 km route. Ron nailed 60km. After packing up I step out to the road and the first motorcycle waves asking if I want a ride so I pull out my helmet anyways (see earlier days comments on driving etiquette), hop on the back and he gives me a ride right to the town square where our hotel is!
The iVariometer worked pretty well. Few bugs to work out and no .igc file but it worked. Couldn’t read the map in the sunlight, tough to see figures due to the position I mount my stuff but I think I will ignore the map and just make the numbers bigger. Getting info off it seems to be a chore but it got me a 5 hour plus flight today so I say $10 well spent!

Mark Tulloch
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:10 am

Postby Mark Tulloch » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:26 am

Day 12 At 6 there is a thicker overcast and the smell of smoke in the air. By 7 the smoke is gone. By 8 there are cu’s forming and birds out. The overcast thins. The van will be here at 9:30 to take all our gear. This will be our last day in Roldanillo. Our goal will be to fly south towards our next destination.
The van is a 12 seat, 4 cylinder model with 10 people, 9 gliders and all our luggage. It’s a slow climb up the hill! We have to walk a little further today as the van won’t make it up the slick sections to launch. It will wait at the paved road to make sure we all get off before following the group to pick us up as we land. The clouds are well above launch today for the first time. A few dozen are already in the air from various launches and the climbs look slower. Everyone in our group gets off. The girls, Ron and the Europeans are all out between the towers climbing and Monique has headed south when I launch last and pick up lift right at the top. I take it up and watch the others head out as most other pilots have headed north this morning. I see some small clouds forming to the southeast and cut off the corner and head to the east face on the second ridge as I see the pilots there appear to be climbing much better than those taking the back route. I arrive in the thermal just as Manu and Laura are topping out. I see Monique and Karin lower on the back route searching for lift. Jean, Ron, Jean-Philippe and Erico have already gone ahead across Bolivar to the pit and are scratching around there. Manu and Laura have taken a line straight for the gap between the mine and the lower antenna, cutting straight across the valley and are getting a good line. I don’t go all the way to the cloud and follow as I see wispies forming along that line and get a buoyant glide, arriving about the same height as the rest already there. I have been watching a cloud form at the lower antenna which is where I found it the past two days so I head there. Boom, there it goes and I’m climbing strong and radio the others. Monique and Karin are struggling low and it looks like Karin will go 3 for 3 at Bolivar. Ron is climbing at the second antenna and I move over there to move further along the ridge. Laura is very low on the front of the ridge and perseveres and climbs back up. I shoot south across the next gap, again following a trail of wispies across the middle of the valley and only lose 400 meters on the transition before hitting the lift. I radio that info back and the group follows. I lose the lift and get impatient and go on glide again, getting low in a gulley further south. I head to the spine and find some weak lift and start drifting with it. The others couldn’t reach the clouds at the last thermal either as I see a group of them coming in below me. The thermal is getting better and an M4 comes in with me from deeper back in the mountains and Manu comes in below her and we all climb up. Laura gets low again and climbs out of that hole but Ron lands at the bottom. Erico, Jean-Philippe and Jean climb with Laura below Manu. As I top out the M4 pilot and I head off. She takes the right line closer to the mountain while I take the left line across the lower foothills. I seem to get the better line until she finds a thermal deeper in and I don’t like the distance back so I continue to the sunny side on the spine ahead at the base of the big hill before Riofrio. I find bits but can’t put together a good climb and get enough height to get anywhere but a nice field alongside the highway. The others work up at the last spot and find no better luck in the foothills and we all land with a few kilometers for around 40-45km.


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