10 July 2008

Le Grammont

This is an outing we have quite regularly, at least once in the year. The view is spectacular, from the sudden discovery of the lake during the ascent, where we arrive on an outcrop and overlook the lake from Le Bouveret to Lausanne, to the beautiful scenery at the top that shows us Le Mont-Blanc, Le Cervin, Le Grand Combin, amongst the lower peaks in the Alps and Prealps.

Lac Léman

The climb is fairly steep at times, there's almost 1800m denivelation, and we leave the car just after six. Alex and Pauline are late, but they told us they'd catch up with us on the way up.
In the beginning, we lose our way a couple of times and I'm a bit worried that Alex might have passed us and might think we're very far ahead as he can't catch-up...

We reach the Lac de Tanay after just over two hours. We stop for ten minutes, to see if Alex and Pauline get here, but decide to resume our ascent. I suspect Alex might have decided not to come after all. The weather forecast predicts a degradation of the conditions from late morning.

It takes us close to two hours to reach the top, making the total ascent time four hours. We have a chat with a couple that know the area quite well, and then prepare to take off, as the wind has started picking up already.

Take off

I help Nicolas take off, and as I'm about to launch, I hear my name being called and Alex has arrived at the top. I put everything down to help him layout and get ready. The rule is that tandem gliders get seen off safely first. I'm often the last to take off, in any case...

panorama from the top of Le Grammont

It's not possible to get tired of the flight here, there is so much to see! In the fourty or so minutes that we took to get in the air, the wind has picked-up, the thermal activity is in full swing, and the flight is a bit turbulent at first. After ten minutes, I manage to let go of the control with one hand to switch my vario on, and snap a few pictures.

The rest of the flight is more laminar, I can leisurely observe Alex and Pauline gliding to the landing safely, and it's my turn too soon.

In the last ten meters of the landing, a thermal triggers litterally undeer my feet and I'm swept sideways, up the slope. Fortunately, it's not powerful enough to give me much ground speed and I touch ground just a little harder than usual.

It was a magnificent flight...

Technical data: Flight duration 0:41, Take-off altitude: 2171m, Maximum altitude reached: 2220m, Total climb during flight: 280m, Max rate of climb: +2.6m/s, Max descent rate: -2.4m/s, Landing altitude: 380m.

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