A spate of good weather

A spate of good weather

Three happy paraglider pilots in the Himalayas


The next 5 days went off like clock work – breakfast at 9, head out to the site by 10, wait for the vultures and the wind dummies to takeoff, launch, milk the house thermal till about 3000 m and then headed out in some pre decided direction.  We usually took off after 12 and it was not until past 3 pm that we met up at the Friends Café where we refreshed ourselves and indulged in an exchange notes about who got to where, the intensity of the thermals, clouds, the inversion etc.


All three of us had interesting experiences, memorable flights and covered distances.


Hiren’s Out and Return: Hiren got to the Red Temple and back (2 ridges away and approx 8 km out and return.  I got over the golf course, went on to buzz the Red Temple and then landed out in the village of Sansal.


My Out and Return: The next flying day I made the Red Temple and back while Dwane landed out at Sansal. I was buzzing from the flight and once back at Friends Café met Angus who told me that he was still feeling uncomfortable in the air – it suddenly occurred to me that he was the same guy who had an accident while going XC to Manali last October. “No more XC for me” he said but I was not paying too much attention.


The cautious lady is back: The next morning however I woke up thinking how low I was over the trees on my way back from the Red Temple. I was so determined to get across and back that I had paid scant attention to one of the cardinal rules – keep a safe landing in mind at all times. The scene of my working hard to get up, and then instead of heading out for landing deciding ah! A little more of this turning stuff and I will be able to clear the next spine back and get back to Bir and  then I was sinking out once more leaving me no more option but to keep working those little thermals.


I could have bombed out into a nallah (dry stream bed) without too much trouble but it was definitely not a good landing field more likely an emergency one. Wow! I had been foolhardy.  Steve had made the basic rules clear to us but I had thrown caution to the wind or should I say to the thermals.


This realization kept me flying well within the boundaries the next day. Practicing thermalling and getting to the opposite ridge and back – staying within safe distance of the official / familiar landing.


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Dwane makes tracks: Steve and Dwane headed out in the direction of Jogindernagar as the right side was clouded out. I had seen him hit a thermal and go straight up like he was in an elevator while I was struggling in a not very cooperative house thermal. They landed out in Chauntra in the Tibetan school ground. It was Dwane’s day of triumph.  


Racing the clouds: The next day we took off, gained height but a sudden dramatic cloud buildup took place and we had to head out and low real fast to get away from it. As the cloud passed we once more worked at getting up but once more a huge cloud came by and again it was time move safely away. I had enough of unwanted lift for the day and decided a nice landing and some time pass in the landing field would be a great way to end this cloud traffic flying day.


To see more pictures check out the Nirvana Adventures – Paragliding in India group at


Peace Bliss & Happy Landings


Astrid Rao

Author: Astrid Rao

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