4 days Hike & Fly Adventure Race
It began with a “fantastic” grey rainy day. Despite this, everyone was in a good mood and full of energy! Then the rain started pouring. On the way to TP 1 Berghaus First, the rain gradually stopped but at the top, a really thick fog couldn't let us take-off.
After a while, a window opened up. We quickly took off and glided towards Tschuggen. First top landing was ok. It was a bit more than half way up to TP 2 Berghaus Männlichen.
At the top, it was the same game again - the fog. We waited for another clear window and then we could land on the opposite side of the valley. A little hike of about 1 hour made me reach TP 3 Lobhornhutte in time. We were totally satisfied with a very delicious dinner as the first day came to an end! We hiked 12 kms, flew 18kms and 2700 of ascent.
Day two started with a severe weather warning for the afternoon. A message from the competition management announced that the race will be interrupted from 3 pm till 6 am the day after! Heavy rain could cause landslides in many parts of Switzerland. Nevertheless, the morning after, with a group of three, we did a hike (partially in the snow) of 3 hours to Schwalmere pass 2700m. It was a nice glide to Hubelweidli and then, because of the fog, I could do only one thing -- hike to the Elsigenalp hut before 3 pm. That turned out to be easy. With the first rain showers, I arrived at Elsigenalp. TP 4 reached.
End of day 2. Flew 13 kms, hiked 20 kms and 1598 of ascent.
Day three began like the days before - closed cloud cover and light rains with the possibility of clearing and flyable conditions in the afternoon. First, we did a valley overglide towards TP 5 Tschentenalp. It was a nice top landing and a little hike to the refuge. Turn point done and a few more meters to the takeoff and go. But no - with other pilots, we found ourselves stuck in the clouds with zero visibility on a 360° view. So the parawaiting announced after almost 4h that we could finally fly and thermal up to TP6 Hahnenmoos and TP 7 Bettelberg. Unfortunately, a friend in our flying group had a bad landing and needed to be rescued by the helicopter. The cloud base was low, but thermals were working. The flight route to TP 8 Engstligenalp led past the Fluhsee over the AmmertenPass. We top-landed on a steep field 80m below the pass then had a nice glide. TP 8 was done. I still had some time to make it to TP 9 Oeschinensee. The last hike of the day to Tschingellochtighorn gave me the chance to do a quick thermal flight and land directly to the lake TP 9 Oeschinensee.
I was super motivated and with an early start, I could hike up to TP 10 Blüemlisalphutte in about 2:40 hours. I arrived at the hut and a big group of pilots decided to wait for thermals. The next turn point was at Niesen and it would have been easier to fly there later in the day rather than gliding down and hiking up again.
A nice thermal flight made me reach the TP 11 Niesen at 13:00. I had only 5 hours left to make it back to Grindelwald and close the circuit, with maybe the chance to eventually do the last 3 TP. So I decided to not wait too much, and I was back in the air! It was not easy - low cloud base, forbidden airspace and strong valley wind. It forced most of the competitors in front of me to land; but I made it! At 16:45, I was flying close to TP 11 Glecksteinhutte.
There were 15 minutes left until the end of the race, wings over above Grund and landed!
This 2021 Eigertour edition was definitely a blast, with a lot of twists!
Can't wait to do the next Hike and Fly adventure race.