Archive for the ‘Flying in France’ Category

To Chamonix…..and Beyond……..

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

I received a call from Ian Archer back in June to advise that a small party of West Coasters (Joe, Ian and several others) were planning a trip to Chamonix Mont Blanc in France during the first week of September. Ian was intending to travel along with the group and get some paragliding flights in. I had a quick think and checked with the Boss to see if I could skip a weekend home to Aberdeen in favour of a trip to France. This was quickly done (a forfeit was promised….honest!).

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I called Ian back to confirm I would make the trip, flying EasyJet from London Gatwick and meeting up with the main party who were flying in from Edinburgh. I met up with Ian and together we travelled in style across the Swiss border into France and on to Chamonix – Mont Blanc.

We saw some paragliders in the air en route and were advised by that this was a training school and the students were doing top to bottoms.

The mountains grew taller and taller. We were dropped off at out hotel and headed out to check the landing sites and took the cable car up to check some of the take off areas.

On the Saturday and Sunday Ian Archer and I got a total of four flights in from the Planpraz launch site. The take off area was at an elevation of 2000m with a vertical decent of 1000m to the landing field at Chamonix. The other Ian got a flight in on the Sunday morning, which was the best time to fly before the strong valley winds kicked and made landing very hard.

On the Sunday afternoon we took a trip up the cable cars to the Aiguille du Midi (3845m) which is the highest point accessible by cable-car in the Chamonix valley. The Aiguille du Midi is well known as the start of the famous Vallee Blanche off-piste ski run over the glaciers; and is also one of the access routes to climbing the Mont Blanc (4811m). The air is very thin and you need time to get adjusted. We saw paragliders taking off and flying from the top of Mont Blanc. Fantastic!

Monday came round quick and we headed back to Geneva and then I flew to London Gatwick and back to the London Borough of Hackney’s offices. The others flew back to Edinburgh.

A great weekend was had by all. I recommend Chamonix for the scenery, the thermals and the challenging landing options.

I’ve posted up two videos on www.youtube.com, if you search for Dunc1261 and Chamonix.

Keep Flying Safe!

Duncan