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Mountains, jungles, vultures and plenty of XC. This is Bir in a nutshell. There is simply no better place to clock up km’s and push your personal bests. This tour will be taking us to one of the worlds premier flying sites at the best time of year. Spring in the Himalayas is when you can get high and go far.
You will be guided by Adam Hill and Debu Choudhury, the most experienced guides in the Himalayas. If you are a confident thermal and cross country pilot looking to gain experience in the mountains or crack your first 100km, we think this trip is for you.
Bir is located in Himachal Pradesh in the north west of India. Bordered by Kashmir, Punjab and Tibet it enjoys a unique position in India. The variation in elevation from 350m to 6975m creates an incredible mix of terrain from plains, to foothills, to lush alpine valleys surrounded by glacial peaks and the spectacular high altitude deserts of Ladakh and Spiti. The people are friendly and welcoming, especially in the more remote areas, where tourists are still a novelty.
Bir was designed for flying, located at 2300m on one of the numerous spurs of the 100km long Dhaula Dhar range. The views are impressive, a backdrop of 5000m peaks to our north and the plains of India stretching to our south. Top drivable, with space to top land and a tea-shop which serves great lunch. The take-off is 1000m above the valley floor.
The village of Bir is an easygoing and relaxed place set amongst tea plantations. The lower part consists of the colourful Tibetan colony, with several beautiful monasteries and a friendly Tibetan lifestyle. The main landing field is a short five minute walk from the town.
Bir is located in the the Kangra Valley and is similarly landscaped to the Alps but on a higher and bigger scale. Cloud base in the spring can range from 2500m to 6000m, with the tree-line at 3200m. Thermals range from 2-8 m/s and are found popping off every ridge, conveniently a glide away. The flying is consistent and with little valley or meteo winds to contend with, Bir offers easier flying than the Alps - with large thermals & big height gains. This site is the text book xc site, with climbs in all the places you would expect, and ridges perfectly spaced an easy glide away. Personal bests will be broken.
We start our tour in Delhi, where you will either take a private vehicle, tourist bus or train up to Bir. It is a long overnight journey and we usually arrive the following morning. The first day is an orientation day, check in to our hotel, sort out permits etc and if suitably rested we will head up for an afternoon flight. After breakfast each day we will drive the 40 minutes up the winding road to launch and wait at the tea shop for the day to switch on. A full briefing about the conditions, the route we will be taking, retrieves etc plus a check of all our equipment, radios, GPS, SPOT devices.
We will be guiding you for 9 days, this allows you a day and a half each side for travel. If conditions are good, we will fly to Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama, & spend a night there before flying back the next day. Each day will end with a full debrief about the days flying, the decisions each of us made, what we did right or wrong, how to improve on those decisions, how to fly more efficiently, how to fly faster and cover more ground. Debu and I will use some time each night to also cover various aspects of mountain flying.
The aim of this tour is for you to have a stress free and relaxed flying holiday, you will not have to worry about the logistics of organizing your travel, accommodation, transport, food etc., we will do our best to make your trip as pleasant and comfortable as possible so you can concentrate on your flying and having fun. Having said that, this is an XC orientated tour for pilots competent flying distance in the mountains. We will be focusing on increasing pilots knowledge, improving techniques and decision making, and all the skills required to fly further and safer.
DEBU CHOUDHURY was born and grew up in Manali, just down the road from Bir. He is of Indian/Italian origin and is fluent in 6 languages. Flying since he was 14, Debu is India’s most successful comp pilot, having competed for many years in both the Paragliding World Cup and Acro World Cup circuits. He currently holds the Indian distance record with a 211 km from Bir and is a member of the Indian Paragliding Team.
ADAM HILL has been flying since 1994, is a member of the British Paragliding Team and a World Cup pilot. He established paragliding in both Nepal and Bhutan and runs tours around the world. As Director of Frontiers Paragliding, he has introduced hundreds of pilots to the adventure of flying in the largest mountains on earth and is excited to be using his knowledge and skills to help others in exploring these magnificent regions.