Red Bull X-Alps 2013. Imagine: a July day at 11am and you are standing on the take-off above Interlaken. The sun is shining and the clouds are touching the mountain tops. You would like to fly to the Matterhorn or even better, over Mt. Blanc to Grenoble. With your paraglider, either flying or hiking. Hiking means stress, it’s strenuous – and seven times slower.
With the wind and rain rattling my window panes, I’ve been reminiscing over some of my favourite flights from last year. One August day in particular came to mind when some friends and I explored a new site (for us), launching from Les Grands Montets glacier at 3,200m – an awe-inspiring 2,000m above chamonix valley floor beneath us.
Judith Mole broke her back in a paragliding accident in March 2013. The accident was entirely her fault and was caused by over-confidence, complacency and a desire to impress the new boyfriend. Understandably she has since been mulling over how to be a safer pilot. Here she shares some insights and tips. What you will read in this article isn’t anything new or revolutionary, but might be a timely reminder of something that has recently slipped. Hopefully reading it will keep you just that little bit safer.
I avoided paragliding consciously for over ten years. Many good friends were pilots, all of them continuously prodded me to make my first jump. It looked like a blast, something I’d probably take to; but I also kept hearing the old saying that “there are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” Accidents seemed frequent with rather…long term consequences. I’m a total adrenaline junky. I don’t have a very good “stop” button. If a conservative, methodical approach was required to be safe then paragliding was not the sport for me. I dreamed of flying, but kept my feet on the ground.