750m ASL, WSW facing, Medium size, 2-3 wings across
1250m ASL, WSW facing, large size, 5-6 wings across
Pemberton Community Sports Field 220m ASL, *many obstacles on field, groomed
MUST NOT be landed in if there are ANY other activities being done with MORE THAN 5 NON-PILOTS ON ANY PART OF THE FIELDS, or if there is ANY maintenance.
(use alternate field)
Alternate Wray’s Field 220M ASL *check field condition before flying, ungroomed
Both launches are accessed from McKenzie Basin FSR, located at the end of Pemberton Farm Rd East. Lower is apx 6km and Upper is apx. 12km up an extremely rough 4x4 decommissioned logging road.
Regular shuttle services are run to launch (see shuttle section below). If you drive up, do not block the turn-around area.
Please keep all motorized vehicles off the launch… ground cover is hard to grow and establish.
LOGGING AND ROAD CONSTRUCTION IS EXPECTED THIS SEASON. OBEY ALL POSTED SIGNS AND UTILIZE 2WAY RADIO.
Both LZs are located along the west side of Pemberton Meadows Road, 1.5km north of the town center of Pemberton (just prior to Taylor Rd.). The sports field is obvious, with a large parking area in front… the Wray’s field is directly behind it, across a ditch. There is a bridge for access to the Wray’s field located in the NW corner of the sports field (the back right corner from the parking lot). MAKE SURE TO KEEP THE GATES CLOSED BETWEEN THE TWO LZs… there are regularly a few cows on the Wray’s property.
For HG, it is recommended that you hold a H3 rating for landing at the Wray’s and an H4 for landing at the sports field. It is a tight and technical landing. Long grass can make landing tricky in Wray’s at certain times. Make sure to walk the LZ.
HPAC & WCSC memberships are REQUIRED by our landowners and for the shuttle service. Both memberships can easily be purchased in yearly or temporary form, with both local and visitor price options, either online or via the shuttle driver. These memberships protect our landowners and help us protect, maintain and develop this site. PLEASE DON’T JEOPARDIZE THIS SITE by flying without this coverage.
The Sports field MUST NOT be landed in if there are ANY other activities being done with MORE THAN 5 NON-PILOTS ON ANY PART OF THE FIELDS, or if there is ANY maintenance (cutting, watering, line painting) being done. Please land at the Wray’s field in any of these situations. In any doubt, land at the Wray’s.
There is CURRENTLY NO COMMERCIAL access to the designated LZ’s. This means no students, no tandems, no guiding utilizing these fields -with the exception of non-commercial (family, non-paid) tandems that may land at the Wray’s ONLY(passengers must have a WCSC and HPAC waiver signed). A local school has negotiated its own private pay-for-use agreement with different landowners for their commercial landings. Others are welcome and encouraged to pursue agreements to open up access. Please contact WCSC if you need more information. We are currently in negotiations with landowners to get commercial access for all, and it is pertinent that we abide by the rules they lay out so we can get this much-needed agreement.
Please don’t jeopardize this site and our agreements by illegally landing at these sites.
Contact local pilots before flying this site. We have a delicate situation with our landing options and a good number of dangerous local phenomena… local pilots can best give you guidance on how to have a safe and fun experience, along with making sure we don’t upset local landowners and lose access.
Walk the LZ and take note of the field hazards: power lines, fences, trees, goal posts, the length of the grass, and wet sections in the Wray’s field (at certain times of year). Several visiting pilots have missed these features coming in to land.
When leaving the ridge in front of lower launch to go land, leave the ridge at 500ASL IN LIGHT WIND CONDITIONS to be able to make the LZ. On stronger wind days, even with the 4:1 glide distance, it can be impossible to reach the LZ. Check with locals who know, and can point out what to watch for.
If you find yourself unable to reach the LZ, don’t fixate on the LZ, and pick a large safe field with no animals or crops. Remove yourself and gear from the field right away and pack up where you are not flattening the grass (hay crop). Use gates and don’t climb over fences. Always acknowledge any landowners, and be considerate and friendly. If they are upset, make sure to apologize and bring them a bottle of wine or a case of beer to make amends. Let a local pilot know if there were any issues.
If you find yourself flying with no other pilots around, there may be a good reason they are not there. Wind and weather conditions are very tricky in this multi-valley site. Be sure to check-in with other pilots.
Fly with a tree kit and tracking device. If you are flying XC, there are large areas that have no cell service, or road access... Have a plan to get yourself out safe.
WHISTLER EXPRESS (wind). This site gets strong inflow, usually flowing in from the Whistler Valley. Both launches are in somewhat sheltered basins and it may not be possible to detect this wind on launch. Regardless, there may be strong turbulence just out front. The best marker for this is the big white windsock on “the Dome” out front of the lower launch. If it is outstretched from a South (wind from the left looking from launch) avoid launching into it. If you are already in the air and returning to land, call for radio confirmation of wind conditions in the LZ. Also look for wind-sign on Mile 1 lake (at Whistler Valley entrance), wind in the cottonwood trees near Pemberton (they go silver on the upwind side in strong wind). If the wind has arrived, it is best to turn tail and fly NW down Pemberton Meadows, or SE and land in one of the big fields towards Lillooet Lake.
NORTH AND EAST WINDS. Watch for strong or gusty SE winds in the LZ. These winds can signal turbulent air in front of launch, even if the socks on launch are looking good. Both N and E winds can create leeside conditions. These conditions can be hard to ascertain from launch, but air can be extremely turbulent just out front.
AIR TRAFFIC. We have a lot of small plane and helicopter traffic in the area. We often have active heli-logging, fire fighting and heli-construction of power lines being done in several parts of the valley. Most travel up the centre of the valley, but there are many exceptions. Make yourself as visible as possible (by doing turns, wingovers) if you note proximity. Avoiding active areas and keeping close to terrain usually helps as well, but don’t box yourself in. Flying with aircraft radio is a good idea, if you are licensed.
PEMBERTON AIRPORT. The Pemberton Airport is located at the bottom of Mt. Currie and is usually safe to land even when the Whistler Express is occurring. The airport sees regular traffic so consider getting an airband radio and license to operate. Regardless, be aware of the approach path of aircraft, and stay clear! Consider landing farther back toward the town of Mt. Currie in the large available fields or up the Pemberton meadows valley instead (be aware of the Riverlands property where we are not allowed to land).
As shown in the CFS below, the approach to the airport for powered aircraft when the wind is blowing from the south-west is a RIGHT turn approach starting downwind over the industrial part of the town of Mt. Currie, turning RIGHT past the airport, then another RIGHT turn to line up with the runway. When winds are from the east, the approach is a standard left turn approach. Both approaches have helicopters and airplanes flying low between launch and the airport, do not be there! If you must land there and need to lose altitude, you may do it safely over the scrub to the south closer to the mountain, as aircraft will likely not traverse that area.
HIKE AND FLY:
Hike and fly is popular at this site. There are a variety of trail options. Some people choose to park at the base of the FSR and hike the road (parking at the lot at the base, or at the “three way” junction about 1km further up the road, where the FSR meets with Reid Rd). There is a trail from the train trestle on Urdal Rd (20min walk from the LZ) to lower launch, called “Cloudbase Grind.” The trail has signs staring at the railway trestle, and at key locations along the route. Be advised that the trestle is technically private property and a fine is possible for walking over it… however it is used all the time, as the town has built a trail right to it. Don’t be on it when trains are transiting. There is a walkway on the south side. The trail drops off to the left, shortly after the trestle. Follow it along until it joins an old logging road and continue left along the river. Watch for a “Cloudbase Grind” sign off to the right side of the logging road that will take you on a trail up the hill. There is a trail called“Middle Earth” that can be taken from lower to Upper Launch. From Lower launch, follow the gravel road to the left to connect back with the junction of the MacKenzie FSR. The trailhead for “Middle Earth” is left, on the inside curve of the Mackenzie FSR. It is well signed.
Walk time is approximately +/- 60min from trestle to lower (same from 3way to lower launch on the road), and a further +/- 60min from lower to upper (for a fit hiker at a good pace).
The shuttle will take your wing up for you for a fee and you can hike without your gear if you so choose, when service permits. For more detail, contact Mike Sedan (contact at top), who hikes to lower launch most flyable days.
Pemberton is still growing its XC routes. The main route is usually NW to Owl Mountain(10KM), Goat Mountain (25KM), and WEST across the Hurley Pass out to Meager Mountain and beyond (>70KM, limited out landings), or NORTH to Goldbridge and beyond (>120KM limited landings)
Southbound to Whistler (20KM, limited out landings), SE to and along Lillooet Lake, Harrison Lake and beyond (flights to Agassiz have been made, >140KM)
Eastbound to Birkenhead (20KM), and across the Duffy Lake Road area to Lillooet and beyond (>170KM)
Current Unofficial Site Records (from Leonardo):
Out and Return: 176.4km
Straight Line: 170.6km
Check XContest or Leonardo for track log information.
There is a regular shuttle that runs to both launches during the main flying season. The shuttle requires a minimum of 4 pilots and its usual run times are 9am, 11am, 1pm... and evening run around 6pm, when numbers permit. Custom schedules can be provided with 4 or more pilots, and special runs to other sites in the area are arranged from time to time (Miller Ridge, Birkenhead, overnights on launch, etc). 11am shuttles are the busiest on weekends… plan accordingly. School Services have priority.
Shuttle can be picked up from the LZ or at the base of the FSR or 3-way
Costs are $10 to lower, $20 to upper, half price for bags only (for hike and fly). Discounted multi-passes available.