Williams Peak is a beautiful high mountain site in Colorado. There are two primary launches and two landing areas. This is primarily a thermal site though on some occasions it is possible to ridge soar the upper launch. Williams can be flown as a H2 in morning or late day under calm conditions. The upper launch provides for sled rides of about 7 minutes to the lake LZ. The lower launch may be flown by more a more experienced H2. Midday conditions require a H3 due to the more challenging thermal conditions.
Being a mountain site you must pay careful attention to the weather. It can change very quickly. Wind speeds can go from calm to 40mph in less than 30 minutes. Good launch skills are critical due to the altitudes of the launches. Pilots coming from coastal sites who are use to one step launches will be very wise to have an experienced mountain pilot coach them during their launch. You must run out your launch properly. A dozen steps isn't unusual in lighter winds.
Due to snow on the road to launch Williams is typically unflyable from November to early May. The upper launch can be unreachable until early June some years.
- Upper Launch
- Located along NR-200, about 7 miles from highway 9. The drive up takes about 45 minutes due to serious road deterioration. Four wheel drive is required. Elevation is 10,300' MSL. The setup area is adjacent to the road. Launch is about 100' downhill from the setup area. The primary wind direction is southwest. Launches can occur with winds from about WSW to SW. Many times the winds appear to be coming straight in but are really wrapping from the west or northwest. There are several telltales in the area to help determine the true wind direction.
- Lower Launch
- Located along NR-200, about 3.5 miles from highway 9. You must park along the side of the road and carry your glider and gear about 100 yards along a path in the woods up to a small clearing on a knoll. Elevation is 9,000' MSL. The primary wind direction is west.
- Lake LZ
- Located near the north end of Green Mountain Reservoir this LZ is between the highway and the lake shore. At times of the year when the lake is full the LZ can get narrow. Elevation is 8,000' MSL. The winds in the LZ are typically from the west to northwest regardless of the launch wind direction. This allows for a landing that does not require aiming straight into the water. The LZ does slope downhill a bit toward the water so even if the wind is coming off of the water it is better to land in some crosswind to avoid ending up in the water. Pilots should never cross the highway too low. There is a field on the other side of the highway if there is any doubt although landings there should be limited if you can make the lake LZ.
- Postage Stamp LZ
- Located next to NR-200 about 100 yards off of highway 9 the postage stamp is a rectangular area cleared of sage brush. This is the primary LZ if unable to get up off of the lower launch. Elevation is 7,800' MSL. If you miss the clearing you can easily land in the surrounding sage brush. Just round out a little higher and keep in mind it will be hard to run out your landing.
Club Website and Overview
<googlemap lat="39.903021" lon="-106.288776" zoom="13" width="600" height="400" controls="large"> 39.88715, -106.289892, Lake LZ 39.91358, -106.25835, Upper Launch 39.91882, -106.28594, Lower Launch 39.915538, -106.324954, Postage Stamp LZ </googlemap>