Thursday, 2 October 2008

Paragliding in the Italian Dolomites

September 28th, 2008.

The Dolomites are one of the best flying sites in Europe but they are only flyable for six weeks a year. There must have been over two hundred gliders on the Col Rodella take-off with paragliders, hang gliders and rigid wings setting up everywhere. Pilots were fighting for a space to launch and out in front the house thermal looked frantic with sixty plus gliders circling in close proximity. It was quite frankly a zoo.

The task for the day was a simple 23km circuit flying over some of the main peaks of the area, the Sasso Lungo, Sella Group and Marmolada. Although it was a stable day the conditions seemed unusually turbulent and it quickly became evident that the sunny south faces were in the lee as the north wind had strengthened quite a bit. Kelly came on the radio asking us to be careful as he had already witnessed a hang glider tumble and a paraglider pilot almost falling into his canopy, not good to hear. Adam and I pretty much did the route, both getting to the Marmolada and both getting drilled in the strong valley wind to land a couple of kilometers short of the main landing field in Campitello. Flying at over 3000m gave some spectacular views of the Dolomites.

September 29th, 2008.

The Rosen Garten was our first objective today. It was even more stable than yesterday but with much less of the troublesome north wind. However, we did have strong temperature inversions and climbing out was tricky. Only Adam and I managed to break through the inversion to get above the main peaks and needles of the Rosen Garten. Later both Kevin and Adam managed to find that elusive strong climb and get back above the Sasso Lungo and then stay above the inversion while the rest of us slowly tired of the traffic beneath it, finally giving up for a nice beer at the landing field.

The next few days we had a lot of high level wind with a low cloud base and so cross country flights were definitely out. Instead we went for a boat about above the aerials west of the Col Rodella launch a few times.


Anonymous said...


It was excellent fun flying with you in the big mountains of the Dolomites and one of my best memories was when we climbed above the Rosen Garten and could see those needles of rock pointing up at us. John managed to take some spectacular pictures when he was above the Sasso Lungo and Kelly will probably send them out.

Give me a shout when you're back in the UK and maybe we'll get some UK XC flights in.



Stubbsy said...

Awesome Colin, very nice site - glad i found it

Anonymous said...

Hi Colin,

Following on from Adam, yep some fun flying around the Dolomites, great scenery.

Hope you are recovering well from the Bassano landing.

If you get up to Scotland give me a shout.

Fly High,
Fly Safe,


Anonymous said...


I hope your back heals up quickly; it can't be much fun not flying when you fly as much as you do!

It was great to fly with you in the Dolomites, hope to fly with you again soon. Let us know what your plans are for next year. I 've watched your video of you flying towards Rosen Garten, I'm the little speck behind you at 2:24!

Give us a shout if you're anywhere near the South Downs. I'll text you my number.

Happy landings.


P.S. Hi Kev, Hi Adam!