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PATC-MS | Monthly Meeting - Paragliding (Another thing to do in the mountains)

PATC-MS | Potomac Mountain Club monthly meeting

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

We gather for a monthly meeting to discuss club business, meet and socialize with area climbers over pizza and refreshments at 7:00 on the 2nd Wednesday of every month.

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club
118 Park Street Southeast
Vienna, VA 22180

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club - Headquarters

Paragliding – Another thing to do in the mountains

I was on a Klettersteig (Via Ferrate) in Kandersteg Switzerland in August 2009 while on a business trip to Germany.  While I was approaching the 2,000 foot cliff to start the climb, I looked up and saw 40+ colorful parachute-like devices being flown along the face of the cliff.  I walked to where they were landing and saw a sign for “tandem paragliding rides.”  After a bit of negotiation with an instructor, we were on our way up the cable car where we then proceeded to setup the wing, hook ourselves together, and launch ourselves from the field above the cliff face.  45 minutes later, we spiraled in for a landing and I was hooked.  I relocated to Germany in early 2010 and during the following two years I learned to fly a paraglider and I hiked and flew off of a number of peaks in the Alps.  I’ve continued to fly in the Shenandoah and Massunutten “Mountains” since returning to the U.S.  frequently flying for more than an hour and covering tens of miles.

I’ll bring my glider and other equipment to Wednesday’s presentation.  I’ll have the glider setup in the parking lot at the beginning of the meeting so folks can get a feeling for the equipment. I’ll describe my learning experience and show some great pictures from the European Alps and the U.S.  I’ll also cover how folks can learn to paraglide in the U.S. both locally and in some of the established training locations (California, Utah). 

Jim McClave flying in front of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France

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