Progressing southwards towards Zermatt the scenery was spectacular, with huge hanging glaciers and snowy bowls. We kept high along the western side and turned the corner to be rewarded with a cloud-free view of the Matterhorn(F). We climbed to 12500' and took photos from different angles.
At this point I must mention Kurt, the CFI of the Club at Mollis. He had been incredibly helpful over the last few days (we couldn't have flown at all without him) and when we landed back and explained our predicament, asking for train timetables, etc., he just said "No problem, take my car" and handed us the keys to his BMW. This enabled us to get Roger and the trailer from Thusis, our car in a garage and be in bed back near Mollis before midnight. Kurt, many thanks again.
Conditions had improved on the day before and it didn't take long to get to 9500' and start tracking southwards. We crossed over into the Chur Valley and ran a line of clouds which had formed about half way up to the mountain peaks. These clouds provided a good run and we soon made the Oberalp Pass and continued over to Andermatt.
We topped up to 10500' and glid over the Furka Pass, in the blue, aiming at the northern side of the valley near Münster. A similar line of clouds had formed here and gave an excellent run of 50Km in a little over 20mins. We then overflew Visp(E) to get to the entrance to the Zermatt Valley.
Crossing the ridge South of Mollis into the Chur Valley (A)
The route away looked better to the East and this brought us out onto the south side of the main valley. Running further east, back past Münster, we turned right to go down the Ambri Valley(G) into Italy. There was more cloud build up but there were good energy lines running east over the tops of the ridges.
We were greeted with better weather in the morning, with higher forecast temperatures and less stability. Small cumulus started coming off the local peaks and by 1115 we had launched onto the west side of the valley.
Apart from the car troubles this had been a very good day, with over 600Km flown in Switzerland, Italy and Austria. The 'High Alps' were working much better than the lower ground and conditions had been good from the Sion area right over to the Austrian border. The next day we set off by train to pick up the mended car (it looked pretty unsoarable, which made us happier) and by the evening we were back and ready to fly the following morning.
We arrived in the Upper Engadin(H) at just after three o'clock, turning short of St. Moritz due to showers. That morning we had made the decision to land in Italy, if possible, as the forecast for Switzerland was poor for the next day. Lugano, Sondrio and Como airfields were now in range and we set off SW down the valley.
Just as we were committing to a glide out, we received a garbled transmission from Roger in the car, saying he had broken down on the road up to the San Bernardino Pass. We quickly dived back in to Swiss airspace and spotted the stationary trailer eight thousand feet below!(X) After a three-way discussion the consensus was to land back at Mollis and try to organise retrieval/repair for the car & trailer.
As there was still some day left, we pushed NE up into Austria, turning just short of the Arlberg Pass. Conditions deteriorated quite quickly after that and we made a cautious return to Mollis from the Chur area via the southern side of the Wallensee.
Preparing for our flight to Italy
Early cu over Mt. Glarnisch suggest a good day ahead
Passing over the Oberalp Pass (B), westwards to Andermatt. The Furka Pass just visible at the end of the valley beyond
Crossing the Furka Pass (C), westwards into the Sion Valley
Looking Northwards over the Grimsell Pass (D), the Rhone Glacier just visible behind the right wing
Line of excellent cu on the North side of the Sion Valley. Münster airfield in the foreground
The rocky, ice covered North West side of the Zermatt Valley, the Matterhorn is just showing on the second picture
The magnificent Matterhorn slowly comes into view, the cloudbase rises above Zermatt, and we take care to keep as high as possible. 12,000' feels quite low round here.
Cunims now developing over the Jungfrau just before we leave the Sion Valley to the Ambri Valley and Italy?