The main obstacle on day 12 was to cross over the highest part of the Alps and tag the iconic Matterhorn turn point on the way. Taking off early to ensure I was in the game, I had to land in the Matter tal (valley) and wait a little before having another go, carefully making sure I found a thermal to avoid the valley full of cables. Tagging the Matterhorn went well from there but I wasn’t lucky enough to cross the divide in the air, so Pal (HUN) and Basti (GER1) got a lead on me as I walked over flattish wet snow in the midday sun back to the Italian border. From there I was poised to fly back into France.
The early hours of the morning I spent traversing around the valley, finding my way past bluffs in the cloud. Reaching the pass the views opened up.
I’ll let the video tell the rest of the story.
so with that strong wind yesterday…
you wouldn’t expect that today there wouldn’t
really even be enough to launch
it’s very light.
I’m hoping I don’t snag a line on these rocks
I’m even thinking maybe I should move
I flew into the Matter tal,
where it wasn’t working yet. Not quite
I’ll wait a little bit longer, walk up the top of here
and, as expected, because I’ve been here before
it’s a scary place for cables
there’s one that goes down that way
there’s what looks to be ravens, circling [in lift]
I’m so nervous
that point there, not much happening and then
all of a sudden, bang!
pretty feisty little thermal
stay in it at all costs
so let’s go!
I’ve just been chatting to Phil [from Australia]
the [paraglider] that lives right down here, in Zermatt
he said, “stay high, stay out of the valley wind…”
“there’s north fohn and you probably can’t get high enough
but see what you can do” (low cloud base)
so yeah, that’s where it’s at.
Nice view of the Matterhorn
pretty iconic mountain
I haven’t seen the Matterhorn from quite this angle
it looks so steep
Monaco is a bit far…
see how far we can get
yeah it was a long slog up that glacier
fairly flat and it went forever
south face of the Matterhorn
typical Italy. The mountains are so high
and the valleys are so deep
yeah you want to stay up high don’t you
this hill is supposed to be the best thermal in the Alps
and it’s the bloody worst one!
the westerly is really stuffing things up
there is some climbs, but..
it’s essentially westerly in the Aosta valley
[westerly] coming down from Mont Blanc
so I should have come here a lot earlier
yeah I haven’t really been getting into this flight so far today
it was just a bit raw in those big mountains
and I felt a bit tired
you can see a vulture,
and there’s chamois running around
[a friend] just sent me an email too, he said
“enjoy the last bit”, probably quite good advice
some easy miles now, nearly 50km/h on trim
with the valley wind rather than upper headwind
and very buoyant
I’ve had the yawns a bit today in this flight
but this is pretty awesome really
because of this westerly really, I’ve gone a little
more on the Italian side than I probably should have
would be good to stay on the French side of the divide
Italy is just mind blowing
oh you’ve got to love it and you’ve got to hate it
these mountains are just too big! Enormous
the ridges just go forever
I guess the thermals are so good in these mountains that
the valleys have got subsidence from the thermals
the thermals in the mountains are as good
as the inversion in the valley sucks
over 4000 metres again