Sunday, February 27, 2011

Le Petit Cordoeil

Sunday was good for hiking but the wind was too strong to fly. I checked out a peak I've flown over many times - le Petit Cordoeil. It's an interesting peak for a hike and fly because it should work in almost any wind with a northern component.

A very nice hike up, through lavender fields covered in snow to a snowy summit. On top it was just a little too strong for a safe launch, so I was glad I had left by wing behind. But it certainly looks like a nice outing for a hike and fly, with a few interesting (but not very convenient) hiking options.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gray Day Hike

Obviously, good weather is one thing that attracted me to the Southern Alps. Last week, I managed to sneak away from work for a sunny, mid-afternoon hike every day - not bad for February. But it's more than having lots of good weather days; it's that there are very few days when the weather is bad all day.

Today showed that pretty well. The days started cold, gray and damp; the local peaks were all hidden in the clouds. It looked totally miserable, but it didn't look as though it would get any worse. I hadn't driven my car for about 10 days, so I decided we could both use some exercise and we headed out to Tartonne.

I decided on a low level hike - mostly on deserted roads - that would be out of the clouds. After about an hours hiking, patches of blue appeared in the sky. The rest of the hike was very pleasant; cold when the clouds closed in, warm whenever the sun appeared, with occasional glimpse of snowy peaks thought the clouds. I extended my hike into a 5 hour loop.

Even the bad days can be good here! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A quiet Saturday in the air

During the week, it snowed in St Andre; it didn't stay long in town, but it left the peaks in their winter coat. Saturday's forecasts showed clearly flyable conditions, with sun and low winds. Aeroweb didn't think the thermals would be useable (due to high pressure subsidence), but their forecasts are more oriented to flying gliders on the plains.

I set off later than I intended. A lovely hike up through new snow, a deserted launch, lunch and I was in the air. There were plenty of thermals, though they were a bit broken and hard to center. Top of lift was very low (2200m) and I didn't want to risk a long hike home, so I played it safe. After a while I headed E to the Crete des Serres and soared it for a while. The batteries for my gloves ran out just after 2 hours, and I headed down to land just as a small plane was circling the LZ. Fortunately, there were no 'misunderstandings' and I was glad to land and warm my fingers.

Tracklog but no flying pics!