45 minutes later, small cu started to pop off the low hills between us and Zurich and this coincided with a good climb up to 6000'. We set off, carefully skirting the TMA and turning south as soon as we could go under the airspace. We aimed for a rounded hill(D), set between two fingers of Lake Constance, and managed a slow climb up to 5000'. This allowed us to cross a patch of lower ground near Winterthur and arrive in the foothills of the Swiss Alps proper.
The rest of the time was spent soaring in the local area and taking pictures until Roger arrived at Mollis with the trailer. We had covered around 150Km as the crow flies but had again experienced a wide variety of soaring conditions and some spectacular scenery. We retired to a picturesque hotel 1000' up the mountain, overlooking the lake, and treated ourselves to the gourmet 'menu spargeln' (asparagus, in season then).
We towed to 3000' above the airfield and found weak lift on a spine running up from the town(A). We were still below the level of the main ridge and were unable to gain any more height, so moved south towards the winch site of Kirchzarten. We climbed away in a weak thermal which took us to 4500'ASL: just enough to tiptoe along the NE flank of the Feldberg(B) and work our way towards some sunshine on the rear of the mountain.
After much grinding around in intermittent lift off small gullies and cols we reached 6700'. By now the higher parts of the Black Forest had a mixture of cu-nims and spreadout and the best route out was to the East.
We topped up to base at 6200', near the Reiselfingen gliding site and shared the thermal with the first other glider we had seen so far on the trip. The next 25Km was blue and dead, with our goal some isolated cumulus forming over a mountain ridge south of Blumberg. On the glide there we had our first glimpses of the High Alps, 100Km to the South.
We found ourselves in a small area of soarable conditions(C), looking down on an unbroken haze layer in the upper Rhine Valley. We decided to 'hold' and wait for some development on the lower ground.
We worked our way along the lower ridges and found what must have been a convergence(E) between the drier mountain air and the moister stuff coming up from the lakes: the difference in cloudbase was 1500' over about 1Km. We ran this SW and ended up on the Schaenis ridge, in company with about thirty sailplanes from the Club below. We pushed on east, down the Wallensee(F), climbing to 7500' but couldn't progress any further due to a layer of altocumulus over the peaks.
When we got to Freiburg Airfield at nine, soggy cumulus were already forming just above the ridges to the East. Further away we could see some cu-nim tops poking out of the haze. The weather forecast was for storms again as there was a 'cold pool' aloft, so we got ready quickly and launched as soon as a tug was available.
Heidiland with Wallensee below
Mt Glarnisch - arrival in the high Alps
Mollis lies in the valley ahead