Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snowy Hike

We've finally had a dusting of snow and, even though it's only around 15 cm thick, it makes the mountains look special. The forecast is dry and sunny for the next few days so it may not last long. I decided to take advantage of the snow while it's here and headed up the Pic de Chamatte, a 1900 m peak near St Andre. The hike up was very pleasant - the sun was just warm enough for me to layer down to a tee-shirt. 

I was looking forward to eating my lunch on the summit but, as I reached the peak, the wind strength increased. This often happens in winter here - the top of the boundary layer is around the same altitude as the summits and once in the meteo wind you don't want to hang around. So I layered up for the end of the climb, turned around sharpish at the summit and ate my lunch 200 m lower down. Very scenic!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Brocken Spectre

Brocken Spectre (towards the bottom left)
I had a new year paraglider flight today. I certainly didn't fly because the forecast was spectacular but a nice hike and fly seemed like a good way to start the year. There's also bad weather moving in overnight (serves me right for posting about global warming...), so flying is likely to be out for the next few days. 

I've had surprising experiences in the Alps when bad weather arrives. I remember flying at Aspres once when the bad weather was clearly coming from the north but I was ridge soaring in a strong south wind. Today was a bit less dangerous, but the wind was all over the place - very lightly from the N on the south launch, about 10 km/h from the W on the west launch and at 35 km/h from the S above the LZ.

The damper air bringing the bad weather was forming clouds as it rose over Chalvet and I took the opportunity to fly above it and snap a picture of my brocken spectre (more info here).