I took my dad out on the glacier this weekend. We landed up at 8500′ and it was still more than 40 degrees. It was an awesome day to be up on the snow. We landed above a huge 2000′ ice fall on a glacial shelf. Often the cold air makes up for the high altitude in terms of flight characteristics, and density altitude, but with 40 + temperatures the poor old bird was really feeling it. When we were done with the job on the glacier we said good-bye to the mountaineers and crawled into the cub. There was a little bit of wind blowing down glacier, plus we were pretty heavily loaded, in slushy snow at 8500′ elevation. The climbers reminded me that I only had a little bit of smooth snow before the huge crevasses trailed into a 2000′ vertical drop of broken snow and ice.
The Cub very slowly accelerated and after several hundred feet the tail came up and we began gaining speed. We lifted without a problem, and seconds later huge crevasses were passing just 15 feet below the skis. As I carefully accelerated and began bleeding off the flaps I allowed the Super Cub to loose a couple hundred feet as we came over the shelf because the terrain was falling away quickly and there was a bit of a downdraft with the falling air. After we had been airborne for about 2 minutes, a concerned voice came over the radio inquiring as to whether or not we were airborne. I laughed and said, “all was well” when the leader responded on the radio we heard a loud cheer from the team on the ground. My Dad and I busted out laughing not realizing the dramatic view the mountaineering team had experienced as we had disappeared toward the icefall with our skis still plowing slush as we doggishly accelerated down a one way slope. We got a good laugh over this, and then flew back to the house for hamburgers and steaks with the family.