Annecy with Escape XC

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Phil Swales, Mike Swales, Richard Watson, Jamie Teare, Simon Atherton and Myself went to Annecy on a Paragliding holiday arranged through Jocky Sanderson and his company Escape XC, I think we all had Personal Bests for distance or duration, a brief rundown of the flying is as follows:

Si got away from the madness in front of launch (40+ gliders soaring a ridge smaller than Ballaugh..lots of near misses) and made it back onto Les Dents and then across to the Rocs des Boeufs where he scratched for ages.  He was soon joined by Watty but whilst Si was still scratching Watty made it out and got to Doussard, Si eventually landed in front of Rocs des Boeufs.  After an hour and a half in the madness in front of launch Phil, Mike, Jamie and I opted for the Landing field at Talloires.

Launched with determination to get away from launch and back onto Les Dents… glider however was pulling hard right into the trees.  I was trying to look up at lines to see if there was a tangle but couldn’t see anything in the quick glances I could steal whilst trying to avoid mid-air collisions.  My suspicions were confirmed when Chris White came on the radio saying that it looked like I had a tangle in the brake lines at my right wing-tip.  I headed away from the hill to try and clear it, but it was locked in and I had to land.  As I packed away I watched everyone manage to get away from Launch. 

The wind really picked up at Talloires landing field and from the cafe it was quite entertaining to watch the vertical and backwards descents – including Phil and Mike who were returning from made it look easy but provided no entertainment.  Si and Jamie had headed off back along the Parmalan ridge trying to get to the Hotel but with the weather closing in got stuck in a valley headwind and had to land in the valley – again vertically or backwards with Simon apparently managing to manoeuvre into a postage stamp clearing among some trees.  Watty was high up on the Parmalan ridge just below Jocky and tucking in really tight scratching hard….so hard in fact that it became an unexpected slope landing…with a very long (and quite treacherous) walk out.

A top to bottom and a quick soar before the rain came in.

Post frontal and glorious sunshine we got to launch at about 12 but waited until it was starting to work.  Soon there was the usual queue of gliders on the launch mat.  After launch spent a short while soaring in the madness until I got a decent climb above launch that enabled me to get back onto Les Dents and there soon found another thermal with Watty and Phil which got us to Cloudbase at about 2200m.  Jamie had already set off across the Lake to Rocs des Boeufs and we now followed.  Connected with the ridge and found lift all the way up to the big power lines and turned back for another neat to gain enough height to clear them but just sunk all the way back down the ridge and had to scratch for a while before I got a really nice climb that took me above the ridge and straight to cloudbase again.  Chris White was at cloudbase and I then set off with him back across the lake for Forclaz launch.  As I left Watty and Phil were climbing nicely up to cloudbase and Jamie was still scratching and not having a lot of luck.  Connected with Forclaz at road level and scratched in the gully to the right of launch for a while – slowly losing height.  Eventually was joined by another glider and they showed me the way out and shared a climb with them to base above Forclaz launch before heading off back to Les Dents.  Si had landed earlier at Talloires and had taken-off again and was now really high above Les Dents, Phil and Watty had overtaken me whilst I was scratching at Forclaz and were both nearing Les Dents.  Chris White had waited for me at cloudbase above Forclaz and we topped up at Les Dents before heading across the valley towards Parmalan.  We could see Watty ahead who was now scratching again on Parmalan.  Watty eventually made it above the ridge and Chris connected with the rock face and instantly climbed above the ridge, I was not far behind but did not find any lift and was soon scratching, constantly losing height.  Chris and Watty were patiently waiting above the ridge so that we could fly formation for the final glide back to the Hotel but it wasn’t to be as I was having to move further away from the cliff face as I was losing height and further away from the lift and had to go land in the valley.  Si had now landed at the Hotel, as had Phil and Watty and Chris flew in to join them.  Jamie got above Rocs des Boeuff but opted for Doussard landing field and Mike got high above Les Dents but with no flying partners around enjoyed the views from there before landing in Talloires.  I had a short walk of about 1Km before finding a bar and having a well earned beer.  My flight time was 3hrs and 10 mins.  Some photos can be found here (more will be added when I get them from everyone elses cameras).

 A damn fine days flying to end a really good trip.  Counting down the days till we are back there..and its not too long!