02 April 2017

Choose your climbs

In tough, weak conditions, even experienced XC pilots might choose to climb in every bit of usable lift. To make more of the day, using the better lift definitely helps you progress along your route quicker.
Even on quite average days in the mountains it is possible to cover many km at a time following good lines, without doing a single 360 turn. Flying from the Tolmin area of Slovenia is a great example of this. At the FlyFurther event there should be great opportunities to put this into practice.
You might be above the crests of the ridges following a series of well formed thermals or very often you can fly along in the anabatic flow alongside the ridges.



This picture is actually from near Annecy but illustrates the point well.
Your aim is to reach the crest in the middle distance next to the lake (Verier), ready for the next section of your XC. You can probably identify three or four places that would tempt you to stop and climb along the way.





Below are typical places where good thermals release.




What often can happen if you climb in these places to well above the summits, is that your glide takes you through sink and back down below the tops.
There is another way!







Along large sections of the route there will be a light anabatic flow up the hillsides. Provided you are close enough you can surf along, maybe without stopping at all.
The day of the picture was pretty stable but even so there was enough gentle lift to make it most of the way without stopping. I climbed just once - just before the transition to Verier.
One of the French pilots I was with managed to find such a good line that he made it all the way to Verier before climbing. He was already crossing the lake in orbit as I arrived at Verier and hill top level.
You can imagine how far ahead he would have been if I had stopped two or three more times!

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