Thursday, August 04, 2011

Ecstasy in Annecy: Day One

After a long tiring flight from Honolulu to Annecy, France, followed by an eleven hour sleep, La Peste and I woke at our apartment to a fantastic view of the mountains from our sixth floor balcony one block from the lake, with clear sunny skies. What a great start! After caffeine, breakfast and a bit of food and wine shopping, we loaded up to drive to Montmin and the Col du Forclaz launch.

Arriving there, we found a gate at the bottom which is used only in July and August to keep out the tourists, so we turned around and drove to the Plan Fait launch above Talloires, and I jumped in the air by 2 PM. The airspace was not too overcrowded - I hooked one straight away from launch and climbed to 6500' and never made it back to Les Dents Lanfon, but left to cross the lake from out front over launch, so after just 25 minutes in the very lifty French air I was on the other side over Rocs des Bouefs and hitting lift! Wow, what an amazing start to the first day …

Climbing back up to cloud base in no time, I drifted back to the highest part of the ridge a couple miles back from the lake, topping out at 7k. I glided back across the lake toward the Montmin/Col Forclaz site, and came in about 400' below launch. But knowing exactly where the house thermal was, I climbed immediately back up to the 7k cloud base over Montmin launch.

Now I was on glide to Le Dents Lanfon behind Talloires, just under the clouds the whole way. Reaching le Dents high and tanking back up, I now thought, let's do this AGAIN!!! On glide across the lake for round two, and into Roc des Bouefs, I climbed again to base at 6,500'-7k, but now noticing a few wings on a mountain I have never been to, three miles behind the Doussard LZ, called Le Charbon and Pointe de Banc Plat. So on glide to cross the four miles to Le Charbon, I went skimming the cloud suck most of the way and arriving pretty high, at 5,500'.

After a short time wandering up and down that ridge (or should I say, Mountain), I went on glide for the three miles right over the top of the Doussard LZ, and back toward Montmin Col Forclaz, and almost got up again. But after three hours in the air, I needed to relieve myself and get an ice cold bevvie in my system for all the hard work I did, flying two complete triangles around Lake Annecy. So I radio'd La Peste who was on the beach at Doussards Bout du Lac, swimming and playing in the sun-filled day herself, to let her know I was on final glide to Doussard LZ and Beers...

While I was high above Dents Lanfon, I was doing my homework, and scoping out all the routes I could take to Le Grand Bornand, which I could have made on glide today probably, looking farther to the Chaine des Aravis, and my route to take to the Passy Valley and hopefully Chamonix! But I'll leave that for tomorrow. Getting back to our apartment and having dinner and wine on the balcony, we relaxed into the sunset and dusk at 10 PM. Wow, it stays light so long here!

This morning on day two, we woke to a very calm day and two hot air balloons high over Talloires! The start of another shitty day in a different paradise. Sure wish you monkeys were here with me to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of French wine and food with amazing flights over the most spectacular terrain in the world!!!

Aloha and more stories to come...

Mad Dog


Duck said...

Way To Go Mad Dog!!!!

As much as I am crying for not being there with you I am so Happy that you are there and able to have the flights!!! Please keep posting as we are in a flying dought, 15 mph plus for the next 5 or 6 days.

I still have the chance to make it over at the end of the month...I'll keep you posted. Please post up your phone number and I'll give you a call.

Congrats on the great flights!!!!

I am SOOOOOOOO jealous! Great picts!

Thom said...

Merci, Mad Dog.

Great flight, I can smell the bagets, cheese and the non-sulfate wine, wish I could taste it.

Keep up the good 'work'. Remember to carry your passport, you never know what country you'll end up in.

Keep the stories coming as Duck stated it's nuking here. Windlines has been changed to Kitelines again.

Looking forward to tomorrows coffee read.

Wish I was there, you lucky Dog.

Jon Malmberg said...

So sick... I recognize those views!!! Annecy was one of my favorite spots to fly over there. Ahhh, need to get back. If you run into Matt Gerdes... tell him Jon Malmberg says howdy!

Gravity said...

Merci Maddog for freaking making all of jealous of your freaking flying in France you basterd.

If I didn't have the old cabin to work on, I would be on a jet plane asap.

Have a great time. keep the pics coming. I love that place too.

Good thing is BC is just as good and no dang French... Cheaper too!

no fromage...