Paragliding

Lienz Dolomites 2718 metres

The jagged ridges of the Lienz Dolomites are more than a climbing paradise, they are the starting terrain for paragliders. There are some inspiring flight options open to experienced aeronauts, in particular the extreme competition, the ‘Dolomitenmann’, has made the area well-known among „paralpinists“

The flight schools nearby provides expert advice about the starting and landing places, the flight and possible dangers in the Lienz Dolomites!

Grosse Gamswiesenspitze 2488 metres – summit start!

Steep turfed starting area in the centre of the Lienz Dolomites. Ascent: either via the usual path from Kerschbaumer Alm (bothy at 1902 metres) or from the east (Karlsbaderhütte or Marcher Stein round 2000 metres) to the access of the north wall of the Kleine Gamswiesenspitze via a gravel gully to the saddle between the Kleine and Grosse Gamswiesenspitze.

Hochstadel (2680 metres) - Hochstadelwiese (around 1820 metres)

The flight across the Hochstadel north face is just breath-taking. At around 1400 metres altitude it is the third highest rock face in the Eastern Alps. Flight across the north-facing wall only from the summit (2580 metres) or the eastern flank of the summit at 2500 metres = Dolomitenmann start area in 1997). Alternative start areas further below on the ridge of the Rudnig at around 2200 metres altitude, or easier from the Wiesenspitze at around 2200 metres (Stadelwiese = alpine inn area).

Spitzkofel (2718 metres)

Starting directly from the summit is too risky. Start at the foot of the summit structure at around 2400 metres in the steep slopes above Hallebachtal. This is also the starting point for paragliders at the annual Dolomitenmann event.

Laserzwand (2614 metres)

Overwhelming from Lienz and yet at the 1999 Dolomitenmann over 100 paragliders took the plunge. Fascinating flight experience with safe conditions; at its loveliest in the autumn.

Hochstein 2057 metres

The Hochstein is the second flight area directly above Lienz and shares its landing areas with those of Zettersfeld. Para Hochstein through the starting slope which is oriented to the east is – first access to the thermals here – particularly suitable for morning and mid-morning flights or flights in the valley wind, as well as the easterly wind conditions in the winter. Also famed are Bruno Girstmair’s ‘breakfast flights’ at around 6.00 a.m., on steady summer days, after breakfast in Hochsteinhütte. The western flanks on the ridge across to the Böses Weibele provide interesting, peaceful late afternoon flights. However you have to get a good landing, or you are in Pustertal.

Altitude difference

1.340 metres

Ascent

From Leisach on the Pustertal altitude road, to Bannberg and continue via Hochsteinstraße (toll) to the car park. From there it is 5 minutes to the alpine inn and 10 minutes to the starting area.

Starting area

East/ South East, light, around 1970 metres, forest aisle. From the car park directly horizontally to the east to the mountain station for the T-bar lift. From here, descend for 50 metres (to the wind sock). Or climb to Hochsteinhütte initially (5 minutes) and then continue east to the starting area. If there is a westerly wind and a northerly wind do not try to start from here! Lee rotors! If the wind is coming from a westerly direction, starting at the Hochstein-Kreuz is a possibility.

Landing areas

  1. Postleite: (668 metres), main landing area for GS and D; a pasture area, around 800 metres to the east of the valley station. Precise diagram available on the homepage for Flugschule Girstmair (www.girstmair.com). Watch out for cables (flight simulator cable) and wires. Valley wind mostly from the south-east, north föhn wind from the west!
  2. Camping Falken: (655 metres), pasture opposite the camp site. Ideal landing area for hang-gliders too.

Zettersfeld 2213 metres

The broad alpine meadows above Lienz provide one of the loveliest panoramas in Austria, from the Lienz Dolomites to the Drei Zinnen, right the way through to the glaciated summits of the Tauern. As an old gliding paradise, Lienz is not just frequented by paragliders in the summer. Considerable air traffic between the Tauern, Dolomites and Carinthia where XC fans cross the airways!

Altitude difference

710 metres - 1550 metres

Starting areas

  1. Kollnig: (1380 metres), south-east, light. The starting area is directly on the road to Faschingalm, which starts at the Zettersfeld valley station.
  2. Ebnerfeld: (1420 metres), south-east-south-west, moderate, forest aisle start, somewhat further and higher than Kollnig on the same road. Risk of side wind; only accessible by car; right on the road; ideal for those just starting out.
  3. Steiner Mandl: (2200 metres), south-east-south-west, easy, GS and D (no visibility to the landing area). Hang-gliders: monocable ropeway and four-seater chairlift only carry ‘2 metre hang-gliders’. Ascent only possible by car (toll road) up to the mountain station (1800 metres), then hang-gliders must be carried for around 10 minutes. Note: No take-off option at the mountain station for the single- cable ropeway. For paragliders, on the Steiner Mandl there are two starting areas to the west and the east of the restaurant ‘Moar Pepo’. At the Steiner Mandl starting area there is a wind sock and toilet facilities. During revision periods there is the option of getting to the starting points by Taxi Xander - for GS and D.
  4. Panoramaköpfl: (approx. 2200 metres), south-east – south-west, easy. No direct view to the landing area. On foot from the mountain station for the four-seater chairlift in a westerly direction, around 15-20 minutes. (The six-seater chairlift does not carry any gliders). Starting area above the mountain station, directly above the Hausbart (Debantgraben). Great XC starting point.

Landing areas

  1. Postleite: (668 metres), main landing area for GS and D is a pasture area, around 800 metres to the east of the valley station. Exact outlines on the homepage of Girstmair flight school (www.girstmair.com). Watch out for the cables (flight simulator cable) and wires. Valley wind mostly south-easterly; north föhn wind from the west!
  2. Camping Falken: (655 metres), pasture opposite the campsite. Ideal landing place for hang-gliders too.

Flight

Good thermal conditions from late morning. Both starting areas, Kollnigg and Ebnerfeld, are worthwhile places for practice flights in the morning and for those who enjoy peace and quiet and for occasional flyers. Brilliant landing area at Zettersfeld. Be mindful of the summer winds in the valley when flying into the valley. In northerly locations considerable, turbulent lee thermals prevail. On the Kollnigg, particularly in the afternoon, be aware of lee turbulence from Debanttal!

Route options

Good thermals from March right through to the start of November. The easiest flight routes proceed east across the Drautal to Emberger Alm. Anyone who heads west should do the valley jump to the Hochstein (high base required), from there via Sillian into Pustertal. As an alternative there is the jump to the south into the Lienz Dolomites, continuing in an easterly or westerly direction along Gailtal. Flights to the north proceed to Kals and into Mölltal. Avoid the Tauerntal due to the extreme summer winds!

Hazards

Possible danger sources are the considerable summer wind in the valley, north and north-west winds with active Tauern wind system (lee situation at Zettersfeld) and the northerly föhn wind. Be careful during route flights and flights past Nikolsdorf – considerable numbers of gliders & rescue helicopter flights between Nikolsdorf and Krankenhaus Lienz. Flight simulator cable above the Postleite landing area.

Thurntaler 2407 metres

The flight area in Sillian enjoys a long tradition. The paragliding championships even took place here in 1986 and 1987. High above Pustertal flying is direct at the southern edge of the main Alpine ridge, but in an area somewhat affected by the upper winds. However numerous starting areas provide take- off areas and directions for a wide variety of flights. The Thurntaler is also a station on the long route for flight route sections in Drautal and Pustertal, from east to west and the other way round.

Altitude difference

1.300 meters

Take-off areas

  1. Alpeggele: (around 2100 metres), north-east-south-east /south /south-west /west; light-moderate, only GS main take-off area, from the mountain station to the left (west) go up to the take-off area to the area above marked out with wind flags; around 15 minutes. Or by car via the mountain road from Außervillgraten to Thurntaler Rast and around 1/2 hour to the west, following the alpine trail.
  2. Summit: (2400 metres), west-south-west-south and east-north, light-moderate, take-off area only suitable for the winter months (when the cable car operates) and directly accessible by the Gadein chairlift.
  3. Stalpen: (1610 metres), east/south-east /south, light, take-off area for GS and D. Access: road from Sillian near the church, up to area where it ends (large car-park). The D-take-off area is situated to the north-west of the car park (little wind flag); to get to the GS take-off area you have to go back from the car park to the farm above the road and behind the farm, along the forest to the take-off area. Do not unfurl the glider outside the barriered area.
  4. Petersberg: South-east, light, GS only, accessible via Sillianbergstrasse to Schlittenhaus; please note that car parking options are limited, obtain approval from the Blue Sky flight school.

Landing areas

  1. Sillian: (1100 metres), large meadow to the south of the main road opposite Thurntaler valley station, with car parking.
  2. Panzendorf: (1080 metres), landing area between Heinfels and Tassenbach. The landing area is at the club house for DFC Sillian, to the east and in front of the Loacker complex next to the B 100. From the valley station through Panzendorf.

Flight

The Thurntaler is a flight terrain which has partly high alpines conditions and is therefore only suitable for paragliders on days when there are not any overriding wind conditions. On days with patchy rain and a tendency for storms a lower take-off area is suitable, mostly in the mornings. Good thermals are available from late morning in the rocky gully areas around the summit ridge, this is throughout the year thanks to the broad southern flanks. When there is more wind in the valley you can start from the lower take-off areas, like the Stalpen.

Route options

Predominantly east-west along Pustertal is the easiest. Can be crossed to the south in the Dolomites and on the main Carnic ridge. To the north there is the option of a lovely triangular route at the main alpine ridge and back (via Defereggental or Hochstein).

Journey

The summit area is high alpine in nature and so when there is no snow in the summer it is not for beginners. Be mindful of the north winds. This is a slog and you are mixed up with considerable lee thermals here! Be mindful of the north föhn wind and exposure to storms.

Golzentipp 2170 metres

In a dreamy setting in upper Lesachtal between the summits of the Lienz Dolomites and the main Carnic ridge are the ridges of the alpine pastures around the Golzentipp. This area, which is accessible by chair lift, makes it possible for beginners and experts to enjoy flights of the highest quality in scenery and tranquillity which are barely found anywhere else in the Alps. In the last few years Obertilliach has created an ‘insider area’; a great place to spend your flying holiday.

Altitude difference

670 metres -710 metres

Starting areas

  1. (Around 2 040 metres), south-east/south, easy, main starting area at the target area, descend a short section to the south-east; some 500 metres beneath the mountain station, where the ski piste deviates to the west.
  2. (Around 2100 metres), north-east/east, easy, but flat, 50 metres to the south beneath the mountain station in a small saddle, on which a ski piste branches off to the west.
  3. (Around 2100 metres), south /south-west, easy, above the mountain station. Follow the ridge to the north for around 500 metres, the take-off area with the wind flag is at the peak to the left of the summit station for the T-bar lift. Outside operating hours for the chairlift you can drive up via a forest road. Ask for the key for this private road at Gasthof Unterwöger!

Landing area

(1400 metres). From the entrance to the town, head west up from Café Gasthof Weiler on the narrow track down via pastures for 200 metres, where a footpath comes from the left and the strips of pasture of the landing area starts with a wind sock. Please do not park here, but go up on the main road or take the lift! To the lift: via the path head left on the road and proceed diagonally across and up to the valley station, around 15 minutes.

Flight

It is preferable to fly out in a south-easterly direction from the main starting area. In a somewhat elevated position at the entrance to the left of the valley floor is the Hausbart. You can make out the drop line of the flight route from a forest sinkhole which has a clearance. Often this entire flank is well visible in the afternoon with the wind in the valley. The Bart is for the most part not towards the take- off area, but past it, to the west.

Route options

Lienz Dolomites and main Carnic ridge, on both sides of Lesach-Gailtal to the east and the west (flights to Sillian - Lienz, Kötschach-Mauten), triangular and destination return flights (not yet explored much)

Journey

Strong valley wind and strong northerly altitude air stream, as well as föhn wind and storms are possible sources of danger. Otherwise obstacle-free flight and landing!

Defereggental 2311 metres

The narrow Defereggental has a range of not much-frequented take-off and flight options, which are part of the Lasörling group and the Villgratener mountains. They have even been developed and used from the start of paragliding by local pilots, partly even for competitions. In summer you should exercise particular caution here when landing due to the considerable valley winds, the rope cable and other obstacles. Particularly important for newcomers is looking for landing options and possibly set-up a wind sock! In quiet times of the year a leisure-oriented pilot also has the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Altitude difference

650 metres - 710 metres 

Firstkogel (2136 metres)

This ridge head is to the north and above Hopfgarten, offering various wind directions and easy flights. 

Access: From Dölach to Grünalm (signposted). From there in around 45 minutes to the head. Taxi Josef Blaßnig, transports groups and individuals to the Grünalm and to the track up at around 2000 metres. From there it is another 20 minutes to the take-off area.

Take-off area: North-west-north-east /south-east, easy, meadow start.

Landing area: Dölach (998 metres), after the western end of the town there are pastures which are large enough for landing. In Plon the large pastures between the first and last goods transport line are also suitable (take a look beforehand). 

Gagenalm (1998 metres) - Zeigerle (2311 metres)

This ridge is directly above Plon and guarantees pleasure-filled flights with a weak NW wind and thermals in the morning and afternoon.

Access: In Plon near the old wooden bridge (Blosbrücke) follow the Zwenewaldweg trail to Gagenalm (Around 2.5 hours) or by Taxi Josef Blaßnig up to the Gagenalm.

Start: E / SE and somewhat higher also N, easy. From Zeigerle to the NW and SE, easy. (Follow the ridge for about 40 minutes on foot).

Landing area: (1157 metres), preferably in Plon on the meadow before the last goods cable-car cable and the branch-off to Kleinitzalm.

Emberger Alm 1800 metres

This superb viewing balcony is located above the eastern Drautal near Berg and Greifenburg. The slopes of the southern Kreuzeck group are heavily used for flights between May and September by route ‘hunter’s and pleasure-flyers.

Altitude difference

1130 metres - 1250 metres 

Arrival & Ascent

On the B100 to Berg / Greifenburg. From there via the recently laid asphalt road – toll-free – or by call-and-collect taxi from the landing area at Berg or Greifenburg to the take-off area.

Take-off areas

  1. (1740 metres), SW, moderate, main take-off area for GS and D, wide meadow take-off area out of a large forest aisle. Access by car or by call-and-collect taxi to Emberger Alm.
  2. (1860 metres), SE, easy, inclined meadow take-off area, 1/4 hour on foot up to take-off area 1 or by call-and-collect taxi. Somewhat flat for older paragliders; not when there is a tail-wind or west wind (rotors)! Please note: on no account should other take-off areas be used. 

Landing areas

  1. Greifenburg: (610 metres), landing area next to the ‘Oberes Drautal’ flying camp near the swimming lake. Be mindful of the high-voltage power lines!
  2. Berg: (630 metres), landing area next to Gasthof Altenmarkter, to the north of the B 100, near the access road from the train station. Bordered in the east by a line of trees and the road. 

Flight

From late morning – depending on the time of year – great conditions. Mostly optimal climb outside the forest edge (if there is a westerly wind, take care not to drift off into Gnoppnitztal!). On the eastern side of Emberger Alm there is a wildlife protection area; do not fly into this area. Be mindful of extremely strong, typical alpine southerly ‘lee thermals’ in spring! 

Route options

Follow the Drautal via the entire southern fall of the Kreuzeck group, to the W, mainly to the Anna-Schutzhaus and back (valley wind!). Fly to the east, generally to Radelberger Alm and back (relatively easy). 

Journey

SE take-off area, flat relief with turbulence. On unstable days this is a storm-exposed flight area with considerable thermals. Take care in the strong north-facing position and westerly wind, since lee rotors may occur. In eastern locations, the valley wind often reaches the take-off area. Very turbulent thermals. Those new to flying and occasional pilots should never take to the air here without specialist supervision in spring and in summer!

South Tyrol - Helm 2438 metres

The Helm is part of the border ridge between East and South Tyrol and the westerly section of the ridge of the Carnic mountains. In the initial days of paragliding this ridge was a very special thermal system, with exceptional potential and basic elevation in the 5000 metre mark! Unfortunately due to its border location it was then soon prohibited by the Italian authorities. It is only in the last few years, after the harmonisation of EU guidelines and the falling of the borders, that there has been a new beginning for the Helm. Only a few people know about this flight area today, which provides not just almost year-round thermal fun, but routes for modern paragliders along the Carnic mountains and Pustertal. The take-off area here is at the Hahnspiel, just on the outskirts. 

Altitude difference

870 metres - 1070 metres

Start

Hahnspiel: (around 2150 metres), SW-SE, easy, for D und GS, 10 minute walk from the mountain station for the Helmbahnen; additional take-off areas towards Hahnspielhütte. 

Landing areas

  1. Sexten: (1280 metres), landing areas next to the Hahnspiel valley station.
  2. Sillian: (1080 metres), landing areas for the Thurntaler flight area to the south of the main road, opposite Thurntaler Bergbahn.

Flight

Thermal flight along the southern and westerly flanks of the ridge. Best thermals in April and May.

Route options

Along the main Carnic ridge and in the Dolomites, or along Pustertal. 

Journey

Very thermal in Spring; turbulence during the day. In summer strong valley winds from the east possibly with lee rotors on the Sexten side! Caution – with a north wind generally very turbulent and dangerous!

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