13 January 2006

Forchat - Overnight outing.

I haven't flown for a long time, and last week I missed an outing in the Aravis with Michael and Alex where they managed to fly, so with the weather looking stable, I drive to Le Col du Feu late on this Thursday afternoon. I initialy wanted to walk up from my house, but it's really getting too late, and I want to take pictures of the sunset on my way up from above the cloud layer. I park as the sun sets over the horizon, and quickly walk up to Tres-Le-Mont. The moon has just risen over the horison, it's going to be full moon soon. Moonrise The whole way up I am treated with the view over the Dent d'Oche and Le Mont Billiat. It's quite cold, well below freezing and the snow is very hard, so I don't even wear my snowshoes.
It doesn't take me long to get to Tres-Le-Mont, Moonrise where a late skier startles me when he overtakes me.
I just catch the last sun rays over the Jura and half an hour later I get to the top of Le Forchat.
The moonlights reflection on the snow bathes everything in a gentle glow. The orange glow is confined to the foggy bottom of the valleys around.
Moonlighting...       ;-)
The outing is also an occasion to test dehydrated foodpacks, and I enjoy the view probably more than the evening meal, but it's comforting to eat some hot food. I forgot my current book at home, so it's an early bed evening, Ready for the night watching the mountains all around. There is a very light breeze and I'm hoping the temperature drops substantially tonight, as I'm anxious to test the equipment fully before our trip to the Aconcagua . I wake up several times during the nigh, enjoying the progression of the moon and the shadows cast in the valleys, and I get up as the first daylight touches the horizon in the East.
Moonshine over Lac Leman The moon is about to set over the Jura, and I can see the lights of cars driving on the roads way down in the valleys. The daily grind to work has started for most people. Having tea on top of my mountain is a much more pleasant perspective...

I take my time, enjoying the progress of the sun over the whole area. Daybreak

The sunrise over Mont-Blanc is spectacular, and I'm really glad the air is crisp, cold and particularly clear. Sunrise on Mont-Blanc
From the time I got up, I have been watching the progression of the fog layer lower down, and I'm a bit uncertain as to my chances of flying. This must be my lucky day: there is a patch of ground near Draillant that remains clear, so I have a possible landing spot.
The wind has abated and I decide to fly from the top of the mountain rather than from Tres-Le-Mont, our usual take-off lower down.
Ready to go...

Laying out is quick, the take off is very fast too, as the slope is steep. In flight I'm in the air, flying rather fast as my hands are on the camera rather than on the brakes.

As I round the front of the hill in front of Tres-Le-Mont, I can see a clear patch over our club's landing field. Landing spot - Orcier

It's over too quickly, and I have to brake hard to stop my flight abruptly, as I'm still wearing the snowshoes, but the landing is easy enough in this windless day.

Technical data: Flight duration 0:17, Take-off altitude: 1535m, Maximum altitude reached: 1535m, Total climb during flight: 0m, Max rate of climb: 0m/s, Max descent rate: -2.8m/s, Landing altitude: 640m.


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