Day 10, 23/7: Back home!!!
Courmayeur - Col du Petit St Bernard (FR)
2 options were possible that morning. Either stay in the high mountains and climb to where Urs and Boxi walked to, or go slightly SW and try to fly in the valley which goes to the Petit St Bernard pass.
The only obvious worry was that early in the morning I had seen some clouds which were flying very fast across the sky… Not looking good! But all the weather reports that I got were telling me that the wind wasn’t stronger than the day before. So half convinced I decided to have a go from the first mountain that was at the beginning of the valley, leading to Petit St Bernard pass.
On the way up I felt the gusts, but I decided it was only the thermals (at 9′30 a.m.!). I took off early after climbing 800m, and what I expected to happen, did happen… I flew 1.6km and then flew the rest backwards down to the bottom of the valley. 1h40 wasted for that ridiculous distance and another really unpleasant moment in the air. I packed quickly and walked to the pass, I was already prepared in my head to do so anyway! I was quite pissed off with myself that I didn’t follow my feelings in the first place, but still, the walking helped me to quickly sort out my emotions…
I walked through the pass and went onto the North side of the mountain, hoping to launch from up there. The NW wind blowing between 40-60 km/h helped me to decide on the next plan: The place I decided to stop at, was the best place for an early start for the next morning : 2300m high , facing East, easy to glide to the other good East faces. So the perfect place for me to do a 180km flight!!!
The weather forecast for the following day wasn’t as optimistic as I was: They were saying that the wind was meant to drop but that a front was meant to arrive in the early afternoon. “So big instability and some storms growing quite early …” I thought “that won’t probably be a day to fly 180km, but in 3-4 hours before the showers, I have time to go far”. Bourg St Maurice area is a very good area for X-country, you know!
I rested up there the rest of the afternoon and we camped on the mountain at 2300m. Boxi and Urs managed to fly in the evening, but the wind was so strong that neither of them got very far. I was convinced that my option was the best. I was at the BEST place.
Started day at 7:23. Took off at 10:50. Finish day at 16:10
Total flying 20min, backwards
Total walking 8h, 1800m up,20km
Max altitude … by foot 2300m