I've been climbing in the alps for about 10 years and I've just started flying a small lightweight paraglider.
Combining the two is awesome but obviously quite niche. I'm really psyched to start linking routes by flying in to the start and off the top, climbing in-between.
It would be great to find other people to talk to and climb/fly with. Or if anyone has some well recommended resources then I'd be grateful to be pointed in this direction.
> 1980s would be a good start?
Treecreepers have been doing this for millennia. They climb up the trunk then fly to the bottom of the next tree to do it all again.
Ive done this in the Lakes a few times. It is niche as most Pg pilots dont even like walking uphill. But Hike-Fly and Fly-Biv has gained popularity in the last few years and it might have a knock-on to Climb-fly.
Maybe try www.paraglidingforum.com
> I've just started flying a small lightweight paraglider.
How small & lightweight is 'small lightweight' in terms of pack size/weight? All the guys I see going up the lifts to fly in the alps have their kit in a massive 100l+ bag, but I guess a lot of that is the 'sleeping bag' they sit in and I assume you wouldn't bother with that?
Hi, have a look for the speed flying scene. the speed flying rigs are quite small and you could reasonably do some alpine routes with one of these. A full paraglide of course would be to big and heavy.
Once I get out and about (it'll be a while) I'll join you!
Have a great time
I can't paraglide but been wanting to do this for years. I was considering doing my elementary pilot course this year but work uncertainty and getting late in the year meant I'll be leaving it till spring now.
Not very helpful to you. If you're still interested in a couple of years or so though when I've got some flying experience then let me know 😁
1.8kg and packs down to about 10L in a bag which inverts to become the harness you fly in. (I actually have a reserve chute too which weighs about another 1.2kg and adds about 5L
Essentially so you can climb with it.
I was amazed at what a proper paraglider now looks like. Mine isn't a speed wing, just a very lightweight 18m paraglider. I think things have developed a lot in the past few years (says me without really knowing)
Thanks for the article link. There's quite a bit of stuff like that or there but not much which goes in to more detail.
I have a few itineraries in mind which are all much more climbing based than the things recommended above, with the flight being like the equivalent of skiing in/ out of a route
I assume it will take the weight of you plus your rope, rack, axes, winter clothes etc?
Rob Johnson has done some nice videos you might enjoy - e.g....
Not quite as exotic as the Alps, but always fancied soloing an ice route on the Ben, then parapenting down into Fort William landing in the square this would be cool, yep and very much an eighties thing.
Yeah it's designed for weight between 70 and 120kgs so plenty of room for manoeuvre
Well the 80's got a few things right. And they're even better with a modern twist (cobra kai, stranger things). Maybe it's time for a reboot
Antoine Girard has done some incredible things in the Karakorum, and other parts of the world. Flying above broad peak and up to 8400m. Negates the need to actually climb.
He and others have also used paragliders to fly onto mountains and climb to summits. Cutting the multi day approach walk to a few hours flying. The things I have seen have just involved a pair of crampons and a lightweight axe. Not a full rack and set of ropes.
Some inspiration here:
Are you uk-based or alps-based?
If uk, the speedwing flyers would be the people to talk to, as you can get in some useful airtime in somewhat more windy conditions on coastal sites and the like. Look at the clubs available on the BHPA website and ask their club contact if there’s an active group etc.
If alps-based, there will be loads going on along the same lines, as long as you can get by in the local language.
It’s not my thing so sorry I can’t be more helpful!
Impressive but that take off look sketchy as fcuk to me (as someone who knows nothing about paragliding)
More seriously - is it Para-alpinism if you're using fixed camps and leaving youe shit on the mountain?
Uli Steck got into paragliding and planned on some big multi-peak days using his wing.
Vol-biv and hike and fly are popular, but as you say Para-Alpinism is more niche.
Here's a page that has some suggestions and if you're in Switzerland I'm sure Eliya would be happy to share the adventure.
Mark Twight soloed Slipstream (900m WI4+) in 2 hours 4 minutes carrying pretty much nothing but a lightweight paraglider. Unfortunately it as too windy to fly, so he had to walk off, which probably took considerably longer!
I learned to paraglide in the Lakes, back in the early nineties (courtesy of Jocky and Johnny Lockley). I had a dream of walking up to Gimmer, doing a couple of routes and then gliding straight back to the ODG.
However, it never happened. To do so would require a climbing partner with the same two interests. In any other scenario, you end up compromising both activities.
I'm a Sheffield based outdoor dabbler, paragliding, climbing, caving etc.
Hike and fly and Vol-Biv is niche but on the up, and climb and fly is even more niche.
Some folks are starting to use paragliders to cut out multi-day walk-ins in the Himalayas, and Antoine Girard continues to push the altitude record over Broad Peak. Epic times to be a human with what can be achieved with a few kilos of nylon.
I'm keen to take my miniwing up a scramble some time, whenever I can get a decent bit of time off work that aligns with flying weather.
Feel free to PM me to talk further.
I think Fabi Buhl flew off Cerro Torre the other year. Anyway, it looked suitably mental. Maybe worth looking at his Instagram?
"Some folks are starting to use paragliders to cut out multi-day walk-ins in the Himalayas"
Indeed, I used a wing as my primary mode of transport back in the 90's when I spent a year in Nepal doing altitudinal forest surveys.
Plenty of folk have now, not only descended from but flown up and over some big peaks. Definitely feels like we will be seeing more incredible flights and link ups on a scale similar to Antoine's.
> How small & lightweight is 'small lightweight' in terms of pack size/weight? All the guys I see going up the lifts to fly in the alps have their kit in a massive 100l+ bag, but I guess a lot of that is the 'sleeping bag' they sit in and I assume you wouldn't bother with that?
100L is indeed around the mark for a bag to hold a standard paraglider for an average adult male, harness, helmet and maybe a fleece. Space in mine is around 50/50 for the wing and harness. Total weight around 8kg so not as heavy as they might look. There are lighter weight wings, suitable if you just want to fly down (as opposed to soaring) and much more compact harnesses if you are willing to trade off comfort and protection on heavy landing against weight. Most pilots you see going up lifts will be hoping to make long soaring flights, not just a sled-ride down.
> Or if anyone has some well recommended resources then I'd be grateful to be pointed in this direction.
Greg Hamerton is a UK-based paragliding instructor who is also a keen hike-and-fly competitor. Friendly guy, you could do worse than ask his advice. https://flywithgreg.com/authors/greg-hamerton
What's your setup? I'm nearly finished EP course and have some ambition for similar things once iv got more flight time.
My comp kit weighs in at 28KG and I struggle to fit it into a 100L sack.
My hike and fly kit comes in at just under 3kg and fits easily into a 26L backpack. Consists of an Ozone Ultralite4 2.2kg and an Ozo harness 580g
You can go even smaller and lighter by flying a single skin wing. The XXLite2 comes in at 1.3kg and a F*Lite harness 103g. So for less than 1.5kg you can pack a certified wing and harness into any day sack.
Materials have come along way. We can now happily pack the smallest aircraft in the world into our days adventures without having to sacrifice our mobility. Win Win.