May 31, 2014

Speed flying...addicted

The purest form of adrenaline, this is why we do all these sorts of extreme sports…
To be in a place or a situation that normal people wouldn’t think off, challenge the lows of physics. This is the secret that some never will understand. And Speed riding/flying opens it all a little bit more…
Speed riding in Kebnekaise

Speed riding is similar to speed flying. The difference between the two is in the launching method. While in Speed flying you launch yourself by your feet, in Speed riding you do take off wearing skies. Making it possible to start with even smaller wings, since its easier to gain more speed for lift

Speed riding Kebnetjåkka, Kebnekaise from Mountainpassion on Vimeo.

Usually "normal" Paragliders are constructed to "absorb" some part of the sudden energy inputs via the residue "flex" (lines and canopy structure as there is a lot more area / line lenght to spread any loadspikes - hence the relatively comfortable ride in thermals) while Miniwings and bigger Speedwings tend to be more rigid and more "harsh" maninly due to the sometimes extremely oversized suspension lines and the much smaller surface to "spread" the loadspikes
Also, because of its small size and high wing loading, the wing responds quickly to little pilot input which makes professional instruction very important

Taking off with a PG wing, 24m2

If a wing is easily flyable / controllable and hence SAFE in thermals or not is to a high degree depending on its flying speed versus the thermal. A wing that is doing around 45 kph handsoff trim and is able to fly around 35 kph with brakes will usually behave very OK and manageable (there may be exceptions to that !)

The faster an wing flies, the more lift is produced by each unit area of wing, so a smaller wing can carry the same weight in level flight, operating at a higher wing loading. Correspondingly, the take-off and landing speed will be higher. The high wing loading also decreases manoeuvrability

Taking off with a speed wing, bunch of more running to do!

Whats important is that the wing should have a good aspect ratio with normal PG wings having a much higher aspect. And most important; resistant for collapse!
I´m just missing the glider that hasn’t been made yet. The optimal piece for mountain use. Low in weight, easy to handle and still not fragile. Some manufactures has been building something similar, but the result has mostly been that they have just taken an old version and put in light weight texture. And using those thin scary lines!!!
Who will be the first to instead put light texture under the wing and use a bit stronger fabric on top, the area which actually suffers the most from the terrain. And use a como of strong lines together with some of those light ones? Can it really be that hard!?
Same for speed wings, how come that a 12m wing be 3.4kg in weight? Common, its a modern world we are living in!!

Premier Zako from Mountainpassion on Vimeo.

Some of the best, in my opinion, gliders for speed flying/riding and for climb and fly use

Speed gliders

Aska sport one-7

Area 17
Cells 30
Aspect ratio 4.6
Raisers 3
Weight 3,7
not. great wing but a little to heavy

Dudek gliders, Zako Speed
Area 16
Cells 30
Aspect ratio 4.66
Raiser 2
Weight 2,1 (3,4)
not. Easy to handle, very direct and flies very nice. And light enough to stuff in a 26l bag with helmet,
water bottle, gloves and an extra shirt and a duvet

Little could Spiruline
Area 16,5
Cells 34
Aspect ratio 4.3
Raisers 3
Weight 3,4
not. Easy to use beginner wing. To heavy though and very boring to fly

ITV Pil-Pit 3
Area 8-16
Cells 22
Aspect ratio 3.47
Raisers 2
Weight ?
not. Rapid and fun wing. More of a speed riding wing

Air G Products
Speedfire DLX
Area 8-14
Cells 22
Aspect ratio 3.4
Raisers 2
Weight 3.2
not. A well made speed wing. The bigger one is perfect for speed flying/foot launching. A good choise for a single wing. Still to heavy though!

/Life dosnt need to be simple, as long as it isn't empty of contents

May 8, 2014

Pilier Lomasti - Via Sylvie - 6c+, 180mts

A masterpiece in the context of modern climbing, continuous and very exciting...

"the pilier Lomasti offers a mixture of vertical plates, diedrini holes, a stone wall of real pleasure with technical moves. Systematic nailing allows you to "try" the necessary measures, but it is a good minimum"

If you are looking for a nice steep climbing area to start up the climbing season on, this might be it!
Nice approach with the view overlooking vallee d´Aosta. A nice and cheap restaurant on the way and very well bolted to reduce the meters of free falling.
And, not to crowded either in my opinion
Just don't take the grading to serious, its almost Val d´Arve grading...!

The drive in is very forward and easy. Just take the highway A5 south and turn off at the Verres junction. Aoste via Tunnel du Mt Blanc or du Gd St Bernard - Verres - Arnad.
A small parkings 1km à l'E du village and then just walk up to du Paretone
Follow the signs for il Paretone, which just at the old village with an old fort takes a sharp turn right. Clear obvious path. Takes about 45-50min to the base of the cliff

Signs arriving le Restaurant

The climbs it self is very straight forward, every route has it own metal sign. Which on the other hand  is quite useful cause the routes are very close to each other. But not over bolted  would say, and the bolts them self are in most trustful shape and very close to the next one as well. Most of the times at least...

We took a late departure after the regular lazy coffee morning and headed for a very lazy mont Blanc tunnel. How ever, the toll police had some other ideas! We was quickly polled off and asked to hand over all types of documents. Luckily both of us had remembered, by pure luck, to bring both our ID´s this time. Since its about every 3-4 years between that I have been stopped for a regular control. But, the trip could go on finally
Passing tunnel after tunnel after...finally arriving Verres junction for a descent espresso brake a la Italien!

Anna fighting the crimps on voie Sylvie...

The rest was fairly easy, finding the route trough Arnad and up to the Restaurant "P". Which has its fair amount of visiters so a free space for le Voiture isn't to easy to find at lunch time
The path is a masterpiece of hand built allée!

Local Italian hero

And, when turning the last corner the Pilier it self is just obvious. Specially at this time with climbers here and just rack up and crimp on. Cause crimping is a fact on this piece of stone. Beware!!!

Anna on the last pitch of Via Sylvie

Voie Sylvie is a 180 or 250mts (depending on which topo used) But it has a number of great pitches on most perfect kind of limestone. With superb friction over all

The first 4b is just a passage bout then it starts full on, the next 6c is a bunch of technical finding. Which might be a little easier for a taller person...or maybe its just an excuse!?
Anyhow, every pitch is a finger killer for someone thats been the last couple of month on skis, lifting ski poles at the most or swinging ice axes in a harmless action

Torture is a better word, but a positive one!
And with a couple of local heroic Italians the day is just pure joy
Arnad and pilier Lomasti, I can very much recommend it!
Just don't miss the ice-cream in Arnad at the "Bar du Gelato" and the neighbour Pizzeria Restu

Gelato et Cappucio!

50m rope (if you rappel off the route 2x50m)
10-14 QD´s
Free biners for the belays

More info at camp to camp

/all lycka har sin motsatts

May 4, 2014

Main phases of learning and living longer

This is not about learning faster, this is about living longer!

In any challenging highspeed actvity you go through three main phases:
1: Learning the basic reaction patterns - commonly referred to as "muscle memory" or "intuitive reaction patterns"
2:  Applying, finetuning and interlinking those patterns in interaction with your eyes and other senses
3: Developing reaction shortcuts via your backbones nerve tissue that allow for complex reaction patterns to be fired in milliseconds without any self- noticable brain activity
And then you are there, you feel comfortable and relaxed flying down a mountain with your tiny speedwing inches off the ground or riding a mountainbike down a narrow hiking trail like a magic carpet made of a long travel suspension seemingly welded to your body.
You soak in the scenery and enjoy this great moment of PURE FLOW.
In order for something to feel comfortable and "safe" to do, we, les gens, must have repeated that thing with a positive outcome multiple times - thats how evolution made sure that we remember useful behaviour (in terms of survival of the species) and drop non useful behaviour patterns... but in general that tactic seems to work quite well.
What works well in "standard" life can end up as as a major disaster in flow sports though
A lot of incredible skilled people have lost their lives in what they thought was their comfort zone
In Phase 3, which by the way never seems to end. Anything runs well just AS LONG as the parameters isn't changed, to much at least
We usually don't like changing parameters as they rob us our reward for learning ("the comfort zone"), so we are genetically programmed to ignore them to some degree
The biggest challenge for Flow Sports People like you and me is to fight that ignorance towards slight changes in outside parameters.
Especially in a sport with a lot of invisible, air incluced parameters like Speedflying its easy to fall as victim to the own learning curve 
We might not want to hear it, but the more skilled we get, the more we are prone to ignore a change in parameters.
Imagine doing a downhill run on your mountainbike, a well known singletrail, you know all the brakepoints by heart, you know how much grip the tire approximately can transfer as its dry etc. NOW imagine that the surface of one fast blind corner is replaced by polished steel and covered with a thin layer of unsuspicious looking gravel... BANG. No chance, not even for the Best of the Best. No skill in the world will save you from loosing the traction on the front tire.
An unlikely scenario ? of corse.
But how unlikely is a change of parameters in (speed)flying ?
Are you really able to see and predict air movements while doing 50 to 90kph downhill, close to ground under your speedwing ? Me not.
So trick out your learning curve, don't feel too comfortable with that tiny set of reactive skills you aquired on the way, don't fall for the false sense of security that an often enough repeated activity induces into your brain.
Step a few centimeters back from the edge, decrease the amount of unknown factors (such as air mass movement..), its not much, not far, but far enough to multiply the long lasting joy of the flow...
Dont get fooled, its not about that short visual rush that the media loves to publish, its about that great sustainable long lasting rush called "life"
May LIFE be with you!