Saturday, October 12, 2013

Montagne de l'Aup

Strong winds aloft all heading to Tours
Despite the lateness in the season, the flying has been pretty good lately. Today naively looked to continue the trend with moderate winds and a reasonable ceiling.

But a more careful examination of the forecasts consistently showed very strong winds just above the top of lift. It seemed a better day for a hike, so I headed up the Montagne de l'Aup, immediately SW of St Andre. I've hiked it a couple of times before, but I also fancy it for other purposes - a snowshoe ascent, a little ski-tour and maybe even a hike and fly. So I spent some time investigating its hike and fly potential but I couldn't find a credible launch to the south (see the pics) and while it would work to the north, the glide back to St Andre looks very marginal. 
Launch to the south looks tricky

The sheep are down and the shepherds cabin is closed up for the winter. Lots of wave clouds in the sky. Fall is my favorite time for hiking here - cool temperature and lovely colors - and I got home feeling nicely tired.

Some pics.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Flying to Barreme doesn't look sensible right now
Yesterday, I got home from a lunch time bike ride just as the heavens opened. The rain continued into the evening and all that moisture has to go somewhere. So I wasn't surprised when I got up this morning and all the peaks were in the clouds. But the forecast wasn't bad for October, it would surely clear and I was due a day off from work, so I decided to fly.

It looks OK now!
I had a damp hike up to launch through the clouds. Cloud-base gradually rose to above launch but there were a lot of threatening clouds in the sky. They weren't near launch though - there, all the clouds looked puffy and reassuring, if a little low (about 200m above launch). So I joined a bunch of pilots playing around launch and it was really quite fun. The big clouds stayed away and it never felt threatening - I don't think I've flown for as long and stayed to near launch in St Andre. Base lifted a little as the day went on (I got to just over 2000m at the Antenae, higher than cloudbase) but not enough to tempt me to try an XC.