the Pyrennes

This last July 2014 I was addicted watching the race X-Pyr, a bivy-flying style competition across the Pyrennes. Based on the X-Alps, the competitors start at the same place and time and by flying and walking (when weather doesn't allow to fly) they need to go over some turnpoints.
The X-Pyr was more than 400km non-stop flying and walking, 4 days for the number one.

the south face of the Pyrennes
In a more relaxed way, few pilots on the last years they crossed the Pyrennes bivy flying. No race, no rush, just taking it easy and crossing this interesting mountain range in between Spain, France and Andorra.

The Pyrennes range is very diverse in a smaller scale than the Alps, from the wet Atlantic weather to the hotter Mediterranean one, from the green and hilly west side to the canyons and high mountains of the center and east (being Aneto, 3.404m, the highest peak). And so they are the flying conditions, technical, with not too many landing options and beautiful wild ranges. That's why the Pyrennes reminded less known or flown than the Alps.

Stephan Hasse, an X-Pyr (and X-Alps) pilots resumed the Pyrennes:
"I keep returning to the same conclusion of just how committing this place can be. With its steep canyons, round peaks, mixing sea airs, and loads of trees you better be on your game.
This race is loaded with crossing valleys, not flying along side them. The walking will be punishing if the weather does not support flying. When the wind blows from the north, pull up your big boy pants to fly or smarter yet walk – it’s downright dangerous. While shorter in overall length than the Red Bull X-Alps, make no mistake, this is a very serious route dancing along the border with France."

Bivy flights along the Pyrennes: 

In 2006, 3 young man crossed the Pyrennes with no other support than their legs and their wings.
On the best days they manage to do 80 to 90 km.
On their website (in french) they have an accurate journal with the daily adventures, GPS tracks and good tips about how to bivy fly:

In 2006 too Stefan Bocks and Urs Lötscher, two very talented athletes who participated in the X-Alps, crossed the Pyrenees also from west to east in very fast 11 days. 
The issue 111 of Cross Country magazine has their journal:

In 2012 a couple of UK pilots they crossed the whole Pyrennes in their EN-B gliders in a very crazy weather.  They hiked a lot, they been caught in storms... but they persistance and fitness make them finish the route in 18 days.
On their website you can read about the ups and downs of hike & fly. And you can listen to their podcast at:

And finally we have this great report of the 2014 X-Pyr race by one of the brave participants, Nick Neydens:


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