17 June 2005

After Work - Sur Cou

Taking advantage of the longest days in the year, we meet after work to climb "Sur Cou", a mountain above "La Roche Sur Foron" that we climbed almost a year ago with
Maurice and his wife. On the occation of that outing, we discovered a very nice restaurant in Saint Sixt we planned on visiting again. We meet at our intended landing spot, and leave one car there. There is a nice long field where the grass was cut fairly recently, so we won't upset the local farmer.
Today so far has been a fairly nice day, with little wind, but there is a big cloud on top of our intended destination. It's situated higher and to the back of the top, so we suspect that a bit of Northerly wind is blowing in altitude.
On the way through the village, we stop in front of the restaurant to ask for directions, and book a table at the same time.
Sur Cou
We leave the car just after 19:00. The climb is very pleasant, through the forest. There are a few paragliders in the air already, and they seem to be holding their altitude, excitment is rising amongst the climbing troops.
It's a short climb, and we get to the top with plenty of daylight left for the flight. The cloud has moved forward though, and it's just above our heads. By the time we set our wings, the bootom of the clouds has dropped around us, and we can just see the fields at the foot of the hill through a mist. Alex and Fabienne take off first with the tandem wing, and they disappear immediately in the cloud. I wait a few seconds to give them time to clear the front of the take off area, wait for a slight gust and bring my wing above my head. Nice clean take off. I head straight out from the mountain face, and look for Alex in front of me. After a few minutes, I see him, slightly below me. He's pulled his ears in, my vario is beeping steadily, I pull my ears in, to clear the cloud. No point in flying blind, although this cloud is very quiet, with a neat limit and no sign of turbulence. A few more minutes and we're clear of the cloud. I look around for Maurice, but can't locate him. I worry a
little as I can't see the top of the mountain, where we took off, and I didn't see him get airborne. I finaly see him far on the right, much higher than we are. He looks like he wants to cross the Arve valley...
The airlow is fairly laminar, and with the slope of the terrain, we keep to the same altitude for a long time, and we have the time to enjoy the vista. I go over Orange and gain a little bit of altitude, but as I suspected, there's a fairly strong airflow. I play around in that area and then decide to go over to the other side.
As the sun nears the horizon, we get closer to the ground and it's time ot prepare for landing. The airflow is a bit more turbulent, with gusts probably kicked up by the terrain, trees and other obstacles.
sunset over St Sixt
We land as the sun sets behind the Jura. Folding the wings is routine, and we're quickly in the car to go back to the restaurant, where the waiter and her sister the cook are kind enough to feed us, hungry beasts.Après l'effort, le réconfort!
Overall, a very good evening was had by all, preparing a good week-end.

Technical data: Flight duration 0:44, Take-off altitude: 1726m, Maximum altitude reached: 1750m, Total climb during flight: 304m, Max rate of climb: +1.6m/s, Max descent rate: -2.8m/s, Landing altitude: 640m.


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