Freesteel Blog » A damp diversion to Mayrhofen Zillertal

A damp diversion to Mayrhofen Zillertal

Friday, May 30th, 2014 at 5:24 pm Written by:

We’re bored. Let’s go somewhere new. The car was packed and outside the Griefenburg Fliegercamp gate overnight and we left at 6am for Mayrhofen, arriving in the main valley landing field just in time to befriend another intermediate hang-glider who was wondering how he was going to get himself up the hill and his car back down again.

We were exactly what he was looking for, and his glider was on our roof-rack within seconds of my making the suggestion that he show us the way.


His usual take-off below the road at 1600m above the valley seemed improvized. After you set up and get into your harness, you sidle across the slippy grass until you are looking down a gulley. Then you step backwards up the slope as far as you can into the weeds to make your run.


For the first time ever I made a huge “WHOO-HOO!!!” on take off. I don’t why, but it felt real good. The video wasn’t on, so there is no record of it, or of all the spirals and turns I did on the way down through the silky smooth air. Now I fully realize that the glider cannot turn when it is coasting at minimum sink-rate. I became more sensitive to its need of speed.

As usual, the landing was not visible from the take-off, so I had to follow my friend down to the field. It’s bordered on all sides by high tension power cables. “They’re pretty useful because they help you judge your height for your landing approach,” he said.


Tom and I pitched our tent in the landing field and went exploring for canyons by bike. Mayrhofen is at the junction of four valleys, only one of which provides a way out. The two canyons I had details of were in flood, but there was a third called the “Blue Lagoon” that canyon adventure tours used. We didn’t know where it was, but by studying the photos in their brochures we eventually worked it out.


The deal with the camping is that you should eat dinner in the local Gasthof. No problem with that. At 6am we drove up to do the Blue Lagoon canyon. Just as we got changed into our wetsuits, it began chucking it down. Not knowing how the canyon would respond, we jacked. The rain chased us. Pretty soon it was raining everywhere we went. After two hours, we were as miserable as if we had endured it for two weeks. The bunny rabbits were huddled under a camp table going soggy. Maybe this would be a good day to work, I thought. What I need is an internet cafe.

For a completely touristed town like Mayrhofen, how can it be that there are no coffee shops with power sockets and wifi? I thought the whole world runs on these things. We drove to the next town up the valley and got unnecessarily wet wandering around there.


There was nothing for it but to set up Cafe Berlingo for that smooth purple smell of burning meths in a trangia. Electricity supplied by an inverter. I did some Java programming with Tom on Tunnel to visualize file layouts of survey data. I should finish what we started at some point.


There was a break in the rain overnight, so we were up at the canyon at 6am again making tea in Cafe Berlingo before setting out on the double. If this canyon wasn’t flooded by now, it was never going to be. There were pools, jumps, two pitches, and we scrambled out to the road from the wrong place.

Then we were off back to Griefenburg, via the unnecessary toll-road pass (as disclosed by the map of Pingzau we bought), an unnecessary paid parking stop at the Krimmel Waterfall (we irrationally baulked at the 3 euro charge to get in), a visit to a potential flying site in Hollersbach, and a stupidly long drive up a mountain to a monorail toboggon ride that was closed. Frauenbach Canyon was also inspected. It was still gushing forcefully.

It was sunny and lovely in Griefenburg. We got our old camp space back.

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