A day above the Aletsch glacier

Weather wasn’t looking so promising with the high cloud so I decided to go up the Eggishorn by cablecar and on foot to get a look at the Aletsch glacier, since it didn’t seem to be on to view it from the air. Of course it’s breathtaking view and I got cottonmouth for staring mouth agape. It turned out I was wrong about the weather. I headed down to Fiescheralp around 12 noon but didn’t spot my friends, they had already launched but there were no gliders above launch. The sky opened up at 1pm, cumulus clouds started popping and it was game on.
It was hard to get the height of the Eggishorn (2900m) but I finally made it and got a glimpse of the Aletsch as a reward. Others had crossed the valley and were climbing over Bellwald so I decided to give it a go. A very nice 5m/s climb was waiting for me on the other side and it was hard to stay out of the cloud at about 2850m.
After that it wasn’t hard to convince myself to make a try for Ulrichen, since there were several gliders spread down the ridge, some rigid hanggliders and even a sailplane. Over a valley flooded with sun and strewn with huge boulders I made my best height of 3200mm, base being somewhat higher up the valley. Once at Geschinen it started to OD a bit and I had to choose between pushing on to Ulrichen and possibly meeting the katabatic wind off the glacier at Belvedere, or trying to beat the clock and get back to Fiesch. Everyone seemed to be heading for home and a couple were going down in the valley somewhere around Reckingen, so I turned back. 2:32 after launching I touched down in the Fiesch LZ and warmed up a bit. I really need some new gloves!

A big thanks to Adi Wegmann for his XC and site briefing, without which I wouldn’t have gone anywhere. This isn’t the longest XC I’ve ever flown but it was certainly the most picturesque!

Here’s my flight log on Leonardo

Unfortunately I had a little mishap on the way home from Fiesch. A group of students got on the train in Visp and got off at Spiez… taking my glider bag with them, wing, harness, reserve, flight suit, helmet, boots…. everything. Neither the railway officials or the police offered any hope of getting it back and I was sure the bag had been stolen, so I got on my flight back to Taiwan without it. Once in Bangkok I got an email from the group that took the bag but of course by then it was too late to go meet them to get it back. A few days later the lost and found office contacted Matthias’ mom to say they had the bag, after it was handed in as found. I’m still working on getting my gear back, though it is safe with my buddy Dani Sturzenegger at the moment. Hopefully I’ll have my wing back in time for the season starting in Puli.
I was really thinking hard about whether or not to replace my gear as I had lost everything and was questioning the logic in investing in a whole new rig just to fly Puli for two months and maybe one international trip per year. Very glad I will have my stuff back soon and even happier to have such great friends in Switzerland.

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One Response to A day above the Aletsch glacier

  1. Jez says:

    Congratulations. – I’m so jealous!

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