26 May 2005

Not the office, an outing to La Pointe d’Ireuse.

Having taken to the taste of four working days weeks, I decided to take Thursday off, and met Alex to fly from La Point D’Ireuse. That peak is in the background of many of my paragliding photographs, as it is situated a few kilometers South of Très-le-Mont, our paragliding playground.

On this picture taken in January this year, you can see the take off site.Billiat + Pointe d'Ireuse

We leave almost early, at 7:30 and start walking at 8:10. The sign at the spot we leave the car says it’s a three hour climb. We take courage in thinking that a whole troop of competitors actually ran up that hill last Sunday. This is a small portion of “Le trial des Allobroges”, a grueling race that is run over five hours…

The beginning of the climb is very steep, and after a short while, Alex, who’s been doing some heavy sport lately, suffers from hypoglycemia. We take a short break to much on some chocolate candies and have a sip of water, and we’re off again.

We get to the plateau pretty quickly, at “Niflon d’en Bas” and in the shaded areas there is still snow on the ground.
Snow on the ground - 243

On the way up, there are plenty of flowers, from the "Gentiane Bleue" with its deep striking blue (that I still haven't been able to reproduce, it's probably due to a UV component) Gentiane Bleue - 284 and "Crocus" just out of the snow Crocus - 247 to the "Boutons d'Or flowering in full heat. Boutons d'Or - 283
As we get to “Niflon d’en Haut” we suddenly discover “Le Mont Blanc”, it’s about fifteen kilometers away as the crow flies, and the view is breathtaking, as always.panoramic - Niflon d'en haut 01
It’s another twenty minutes before we get to the top of “La Pointe d’Ireuse” and we can admire the lake in all its breadth, and the Swiss Alps, the Mont-Blanc, “Les Aravis” in the distance, all the mountains around Annecy, a real feast for the eyes.
panoramic - Mt Blanc
There is a bit of thermal activity on the South-East ridge, from the late morning sun beating on the exposed side of the valley. We intend to fly on the North side, so we’re a bit worried about being downwind, but on that side there is absolutely no activity. The take off should be fairly easy.

After laying out our wings, we take off. It takes me a long while to turn as I’m busy trying to extract my camera from my pants pocket, hindered by the harness.En vol - Pointe d'Ireuse - 333 As I turn left hard, I see I’ve flown pretty far from the hill, and Alex is way up there. En vol - Pointe d'Ireuse - 340Will he manage to round the pass above “Niflon d’en Bas”? From where I am, it seems possible, but I’m very low and the angle is deceptive, and I see him turn around to round the cliff on the North side. Alex en vol - Pointe d'Ireuse - 345

We are approaching the field next to the parking area where we left the truck. I line up and circle the intended landing area once to see if there any crosswind, and all seems quiet, the leaves in the trees are still. After a last turn over the trees, I round up my final approach and join the biped race again. A minute later and it's Alex turn to join me on hte ground.Alex en vol - Pointe d'Ireuse - 346

This has been a good outing, with a nice walk crowned by breathtaking views and a gorgeous flight. Beats going to the office anytime…


Post a Comment

<< Home