Sunday, January 23, 2011

...and winter returns

I must be mad.  The Bise has been blowing the last few days in Geneva.  The Bise is a bitter North wind that whips the lake up into a foaming frenzy of spray and brings freezing temperatures.  The combination of the two creates fields of ice along the lake shore, with low hanging branches weighted down with long icicles.  I'm mad because even in these extreme temperatures I choose Friday morning to haul myself out of bed just after 6am and run the 10km to the office, detouring round the worst of the ice.  Despite the severe cold the run in wasn't too bad, the wind was behind me - it was the run back with a 10kg rusksack on my back that was the killer!

By Sunday the wind had calmed so I took my Paraglider for a walk up the Saleve, across the top and back down.  The top 200m was like a winter wonderland with the thick frost covering everything in site, turning the whole forest into some kind of glittering fairyland.  Unfortunately for you, I forgot my camera so I cannot share the stunning images I experienced.  I half thought it might be flyable, and it probably was possible to launch at the telepherique but the wind was off to the north and I continued up to the higher take off at the view point to make sure, only to find a light cross-wind (launchable) giving way to moderate downslope gusts (definately not launchable).  I wasn't desperate to fly so continued down to the south end - half way along there felt like a good upslope breeze, but by the Crete take off the wind was strong down the hill again.  I can only assume the upslope wind was rotor.

I continued my walk off the mountain via the path that passes through the Orjobet cave, before heading back along the base of the mountain to Veyrier where I had left the car.  Back down at the bottom it was -3 degrees centigrade (at around 450m asl) according to my car, so up on the top (1300m) it must have been a lot less, I probably should have worn more clothes!

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