25 Jun 03

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Competition Briefing

What To Do On A Poor Day

There was a marked reluctance amongst most non-competition pilots to fly today. Various expeditions set off for picnics, extended sessions of wine-tasting at the local caves and swimming in the gorge de la Meouge.

Of those who flew, Andrew made further progress into the Sollieres valley by reaching the lac Cenis. He reported a cloudbase of 16,000ft and, at one point, a most impressive 16-knot climb.


David chose to take his Pik to the rarely visited lower slopes of the pointe de Pécé, near the outlanding field of Le Rosier, north of Briancon. After applying some effort he managed to convert a low point of 7500ft to a less stressful 12,000ft and so found an easy route home.

Ariane put into practice some of the techniques she learned with Hervé the previous day, in particular how to make a low transit from Malaup to Authon via the Jouére-Trainon pass (all local to Sisteron).

In the Sollieres valley

Head of the Sollieres valley

John took himself off to Mont Velan, north of Aosta, having enjoyed an excellent run via Malaup, Aujour, Ceuse, pic de Bure and into the Ecrins via the Valgaudemar. A cloudbase of 14,000ft meant that selecting a suitable pass was not, for today at least, an issue.
'Guess Who I Had In The Back The Other Day...?'

Picture the scene yesterday afternoon: John and Martin are soaring the Duo at the Serre Montdenier where, due to another of John's miscalculations, they are desperately searching for a climb to avoid an outlanding at Puismosson. About 10 feet above the ridge line, 5000ft above sea level, Martin's phone rings. He answers it and proceeds to conduct a rather jocular and informal conversation with the caller. Bridgie gets the feeling that Martin is perhaps losing interest in the flight and that the pilot is, in effect, on his own in trying to get them both home. John nevertheless manages to apply supreme skill to keep on top of the situation and soars away, thus avoiding what could have become a nasty scenario of recrimination and ill-feeling. John now looks forward to a vibrant career as a mini-cab driver.

Final group meal of the holiday at the Pikothym, Valernes

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