Flight: Spain, France, Switzerland: Flying across France to the Alps

While I am in the mood for a torrid fusillade, the photos will have to speak for themselves. That, and I already wrote a torrid fusillade about this flight for AOPA. Below are the photos that comprise the rest of the story.

Crossing over Carcassonne, France with rather thick morning Mediterranean haze.

Parc Natural Regional du Haut Languedoc. I could smell rich forest scents over this hill.


West of Millau.

Unsurprisingly, Millau.

Tam River Gorge.


West of Mont Gerbier de Jonc, flying at almost 5,000 feet above sea level. This is the highest part of the Massif Central that I crossed.

Beginning descent toward Rhône River valley. 

Rhône River (right side), north of Valence. It was infernally hot.

Isère River near Le Port.

Lac d’Aiguebelette


Lac du Bourget.

Parc Natural Regional du Massif des Bauges. “Pre-Alpes.”

East of “Roc des Boeufs” (Beef Rock).

Doussard et Lac d’Annecy. Still in the Pre-Alps.

Pointe de la Beccaz, flying at 5,500 feet.

10,000 feet, west of the Mt. Blanc Massif. Here we finally are, the beginning of the Alps!

The glaciers here are a bit serious.

Up to 12,000 feet now, looking down at piddling 10,000 foot mountains.

Piddling little airplane getting looked down on by big mountains. Mer de Glace, Chamonix, France.

Pointy mountains. A friend noted that it would amusing if I somehow found a way to impale myself on one of these rocks. 

Base of Glacier du Tour, looking toward Lac d’Emosson, Switzerland.

Aiguille du Tour with Switzerland to the rear left.

Martigny, Switzerland – birthplace of Swiss banking.

Priory of Sion, Switzerland – you know that whole Knights Templar / holy grail thing that went on for centuries.

Western approach to Aéroport de Sion, where schoolchildren will read in 800 years that Garrett Fisher kept his Piper Cub there for awhile.

Flight: Spain: Western Pyrenees, Sierra de Guara

One of my many projects under development is a book containing photographs of the “3000ers” of the Pyrenees, which are 129 peaks over 3000 meters (9,840 feet) in height. Yes, it is an arbitrary list; however, it is one endorsed by other people who spend time browsing the internet (and maybe even climbing some of them). The Appalachians feature the “Southern Sixers” (peaks over 6,000’), Colorado has its 14ers (peaks over 14,000’) – both of which I have done books on – the Adirondacks have the 46ers (46 peaks traditionally viewed as over 4,000’). For some reason, I like this sort of thing.

The problem is that I am on the eastern side of the Pyrenees, and most of these peaks are in the central and western side. To make matters worse, I got pretty close to the western ones in my first flight over there in February 2017, though I had no clue I was going for this list, so I missed about 10 of them, near Vignemale (10,820’), which is the highest peak in the French Pyrenees.

I opted to get them in summer as I have enough of the big peaks in winter. This year it is quite green, so the tones were nice.

On the way back, I went a bit south to the Sierra de Guara, north of Huesca, a section of terrain that has demanded some push pins on the map. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the explosive flowers and severity of terrain.

So now I have photographed all of them – just need to write a book.

Flight path. Blue pins are the 3000ers.

Serrat de la Mainera

Northwest of Cabdella.

North of Sin, literally.

Rio Bellos. One may note that I am avoiding showing too many mountains. Its not like they haven’t been seen before on this blog, so I am showing the view away from the Pyrenees.

Ok, some mountains. Monte Perdido, viewed from the northwest outside of the fascist restricted area. Note the yellow flowers in the foreground. These flowers will make an appearance later on in the flight.

Rock patterns to the west of the Rio Ara.

Vignemale, from the Spanish side.

Google Maps says Balaïtous (10,315′ / 3.144m), which is the French name. Spanish is Balaitús. Apparently there is a language called Aragonese for which it is named Pico Os Moros and while we’re at it, there is Occitan, where it is named Vathleitosa. It is on the border with France (Spain left, France right), and both obviously have regional languages in this neck of the woods, though unlike Basque Country to the north and Catalunya to the south, everyone seems to get along here.

I am unsure exactly where this is.

Somewhere near Astún.

Astún ski area.

Pico Aspe.

Climbout from Aerodromo de Santa Cilia, after refueling.


Pico Peiró.

Flowergasm north of Arguis.

Looking the other way, Embalse de Arguis.


Tozal d’O Borón, among other things.

Tozal d’O Fraxineto.

Unnamed hill.

Cañones de Guara.

Tozal d’As Forcas


Embalse de Mediano.

I have no clue what to name this, as there are a bunch of tiny village names all over the place. Shove Lascorz in there if you’re hell bent on finding this on Google Maps.

Something else that defies nomenclature. Near Bacamorta.

Turbón, with more yellow flowers.

Pantà d’Escales if you live on the left side (Catalunya). Embalse de Escales if you live on the right side (Spain).