05 June 2005

Sunday outing - Le Grammont

Michael planned on an early start this morning: we have quite a bit of driving to get to Les Evouettes, a small village in the Rhone Valley, just at the beginning of the Lake of Geneva. We all meet at 6:00 at the landing field in Orcier, to wait for the inevitable late participant. While waiting we wonder about the thick cloud barrier, which edge is lit by the rays of the rising sun.
pano - Orcier - Sunrise on clouds edge
We get going and as we near the border, on the Eastern side of the "Lac Leman", we are treated to more displays of sun rays.
We start the ascent at a fast pace, our bags having gone up last night in Alex's 4x4. We'll get them back when we get to the lake of Tenay, where he spent the night. We leave the national road and after crossing slopes planted with grapes used to make well known white wine in this region, we're soon in the forest. It's cool and pleasant and the walking rythm is kept brisk. We have quite a climb today, 1600m as we started from the lake level (400m altitude) and we're going to the top of Le Grammont, culminating at about 2000m.

We soon reach a clearing in the forest where we get a beautiful view of the end of the lake, where the Rhone river enters it. panoramic - Lac Leman - Vevey-Montreux Montreux (of the Jazz festival fame) and Vevey are visible on the shore opposite us.

We reach Tenzy in about two hours, and meet Alex and Fabienne. We have time to eat a few chocolate snacks nd drink some water, and we're off again. The signs here say it's a two hours climb to the top of the Grammont, a little over an hour later we're on the pass just below the summit.
panoramic - Lac Leman depuis le Grammont
The scenery is magnificent from here, with a front view of the Eastern side of the lake. Another twenty minutes on the final ridge and we're at the top. We relax and chat for a bit, and it's time to prepare for the take off.
Alex, Michael and Olivier will leave first, as they're all piloting tandem wings with passengers.
They take off and swoop in front of the take off, taking advantage of the dynamic lift to stay at the same level for a bit.
Time now for us to prepare for the take off. Maurice is first to go, then, after a few minutes, Philippe follows him. I take a bit longer as with all this waiting, my wing has bunched-up and I have to lay it properly again. At last I'm ready, a gust of wind feels just right, and I make a well controled take off, impressing the numerous climbers on this popular outing.
In flight
I do a couple of passes in front of the take off area, but the wind has dropped a bit, and I don't gain any altitude, so I decide to fly to the North side of the mountain to start on the flight to the valley.
This is a magnificent flight, where the view on the Rhone valley is unrivalled.
LAnding is a close one, as the wind blowing up the valley is very strong, and I let myself get blown away a tad too much. My progress upwind is very slow, but I manage to reach the landing field where I see my friends packing their wings on the ground. It's again an almost standing still touchdown, concluding a magestic flight.

Technical data: Flight duration 0:20, Take-off altitude: 2172m, Maximum altitude reached: 2172m, Total climb during flight: 100m, Max rate of climb: +1.8m/s, Max descent rate: -3.2m/s, Landing altitude: 385m.


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