Below are the site notes from Eric Klammer who is local to the area and has the most familiarity with the site.
Ideal conditions are light uppers and very light surface winds throughout the day. Early direct sunlight, a general south valley flow, and probably some drain off the Gore Range means most calm and sunny mornings see good upslope flow on launch. On a day with light surface winds this E flow will continue throughout the early afternoon with the valley flow gradually pushing in from the S.
Heart shaped field directly below launch on the broad bench before the river. Easy shuttle, very open, nice grass. (State SWA)
Sagebrush flat further E on the broad bench. (BLM)
Open fields around the Pumphouse Rec Area. Max vert but a bit of a glide. Not a lot of time to search around for lift on a PG. (BLM)
Other- The area behind Azure is relatively flat, mostly rolling hills and some open fields with the Azure upper launch being one of the higher points in the area. I haven’t experienced and I am not extremely concerned with a hard or sudden west switch. (Assuming you fly a very light day/stay aware of potential gust fronts) This area behind launch is usually the first to turn on and the first to OD. Flying west over this area is possible but will mean pushing into the wind once out of the lower east flow. I’ve had limited success going this route. Landing options decrease as you move W towards Gore Pass.
A regular thermal trigger seems to be the rocky spine just south of lower launch.
Property Issues- Lower launch and heart field both lie on State Wildlife Area land. Reg 21 for SWA’s is no launching or landing of aircraft. There is no further information in the SWA regs as to what the state defines as an aircraft. Upper launch and the other LZs lie on BLM so they are okay regardless.
This will be my 3rd season at the site and I have had no problems so far. I bombed out on a state parcel last year halfway to Radium and was met by a state worker who was only curious and excited to see somebody in the air. So just keep in mind while it’s been okay so far you may technically be in the wrong if you decide to use these areas. Please don’t give the state workers any reason to start looking for us!
These are my notes:
I am a new pilot so I’m just getting a feel for “the way you do it”. I am extremely appreciative of all the assistance I have been given and am trying to reciprocate. Perhaps my enthusiasm for the Azure site should have been tempered a bit. As Eric noted, it is a sensitive site and we collectively need to strike a balance between promotion and preservation.
The Upper Colorado area has seen an insane increase in recreational use over the last handful of years. The resources are strained and some of the visitors have not been the best custodians. Spend some money in Kremmling (Jilly’s for burgers, Big Shooters for coffee & ice cream, The Merc for everything else). Please show the upmost respect to the land, the local residents, the employees and the facilities of the various government entities (Grand, Eagle & Summit Counties, BLM, DOW (Parks and Wildlife) etc. This includes paying the user fees at Radium & Pumhouse, leave no trace camping, courteous driving (specifically in the Town of Radium) and all the other behaviors you would like to see in your neighborhood. It is kinda like a small town down there and make no mistake about it, the powers that be are watching.
I’m very certain that pilots, being the awesome people they are, don’t need to hear this but we can all use a reminder.
If you have any questions, you can PM me here or on the WhatsApp.