Freesteel Blog » Back to Grimming

Back to Grimming

Saturday, August 9th, 2014 at 8:16 am Written by:

A week of sulking and being neglected by Becka while she went caved solidly came to an end yesterday when the weather broke and I got a four hour flight from Loser back to the Grimming, where I got to last year.

It was almost carbon copy of my 3 hour 2013 lucky flight, but this time I had better gear and I knew what I was doing — which was good as the conditions have been far more demanding in terms of low cloud base and scarcity of thermals below 2100m.

Here’s the picture in 2013:
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Here’s the picture now in 2014 with comfy neoprene bar-mits, an airtight harness that actually fits so I can stretch my legs and fly at the right angle, and an android phone running the astonishing XCSoar with its automatic zoomed in thermalling mode. The helmet and cheap sunglasses remain the same:
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Here’s the flight track with the Grimming on the right followed by a long uninterrupted glide towards home:
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Becka came along and shared a pizza with me while I rigged.
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Every time I do this I have to pinch myself that this is even possible.
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A tandem glider pilot gave me a 75% chance of getting up in the conditions. I let him go first to spot the lack of thermals for me, and barely survived when he went down in the initially cloudless conditions. Once I was high and conditions had developed I was able to fly cloud to cloud while deep in the mountains.
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I could have gone far if I wasn’t so obsessed with getting to the Grimming where I got swarmed by sailplanes.

The phone with XCSoar comes with a camera that’s better than anything else I own. I can take pictures with it if I don’t get too distracted or do something stupid like stall the glider trying to get a shot of the horizon. Here’s a picture of the Loser Plateau where Becka has been caving.
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We zoomed in to one section, and this is plausibly the tarp protecting the entrance of the stone bridge bivi cave.
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The cave was extended with a connection made to a smaller cave this year, and the total system is now 104kms in length, making it the second longest cave in Austria. When I get bored with flying, maybe I will go back to doing more of that. I do need to work on the cave drawing software a bit more.

Meanwhile, at the machine tool work, the bugs and crashes are being reported at a fast pace. I have got to get this working 100% by October. That’s the deadline I have set myself.

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