xAlps mapsRain and thunderstorms everywhere. I guess we picked one of the worst weeks to check out the xAlps route from the air. I took advantage of the weather and connected with Lloyd Pennicuik’s (2009 Team Australia) friend Maria who stored all his maps at her place. Lloyd is lending us his hiking maps from the last race. Now I had some time checking out the maps and got confirmed what I could find out with Google Earth. Anyhow, the good old paper sure feels beats Google Earth on the trail, thanks Lloyed.
Evening June 9th, Andreas phones and tells me to get ready for the next morning as he thinks we have a chance to get down to Monaco and the day after we might be lucky to see more on the way back. June 10th at 7:00 am. It is miserable and raining in Kempten, Andreas phones and thinks we should wait one more hour. An hour later it is still raining and Andreas phones and asked me to come to the airport at 10:00 am. The weather is clearing in the west and south, but here it was not good at all. After Andreas phoned the airport in Konstanz to get a local weather update, they meant that you might be able to fly a circuit, he decided to go. After we where airborne we flew west in rain and min VFR and got pushed to the north due the weather and visibility.
clouded in pass At Geneva the weather got better and we were able to fly into the mountains at Albertville. From there we explored the xAlps route along Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne and headed up the pass via Valloire. The top of the pass was clouded in and and we had to head back to Albertville and fly to the west and following the big range of mountains passing by Grenoble. This roue was very interesting and now flying there makes a lot of sense why Alex Hofer flew this route in 2007. If you have a NW flow and cloud-base below 2600m this is the way to go as you have a long ridge to fly along instead of crossing big valleys and climbing big clouded in passes. Arriving in MoncaoWe flew right down to Barcelonnette and headed up the Colde la Bonette pass. From there we decided to fly back and land down in Barcelonnette

to get some fuel. The airport guy was super nice and told us to fly to Gap as the fuel is way cheaper there. So we did, fueled up and flew back to Colde la Bonette pass and followed the valley down to Isolo. We did the mistake and turned into the Isolo valley as we thought that would be the way to go. Pretty soon we found out we were one valley to early. Good thing to find this all out in a motorized aircraft instead a paraglider. Even from there down to Monaco was not as obvious as you would think. I am glad we flew an extra loop around Sospel and Monaco as this all does not look as clear you would think. Mont GrosFrom Monaco we explored the route back to Barcelonnette and stayed there over night. The next day was blue sky and we started flying around 8:30 am and headed north from Barcelonnette to Col de Vars and then to Guillestre. From there we checked out the valley up to Briancon and then up Col du Galibier. The pass at Col Du Galibier is where we had to turn around the day before. From there we explored the Col de la Madaleine pass. From there we checked out the area going to Mt. Blanc. Mt. Blanc had a wild wave cloud on top.  Mont Blanc Anyways, the weather was still go to check out the whole route around the Mont Blanc right to the Matterhorn. From the Matterhorn on it started to cloud in and we able to get to Furkapass and Neufenen Pass and the south was all covered in low cloud. I was happy to get in as much as we did and we headed back to Germany which was overcast but dry.Thinking back what we have done June 3/4th and considering the weather conditions, flying the CT was absolutely outstanding. The CT from www.flightDesign.com is an amazing airplane and really puts Ultralight flying into a different dimension. The speed, fuel economy, space (for 2 people) and handling is outstanding. Thanks again Matthias and Henry to lend us your great plane for this job. We do appreciate this sponsorship a lot and will be proud to have your logo on my paraglider. Also, I could not have done this without Andreas, as I like to mention, having the best tools does not really mean you are the best crafts man, thanks again to Andreas Boehl (www.flyingBoehl.de) who is not just an excellent pilot but also an amazing guy understanding the weather in the Alps.

 

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