About holller

I'm a passionate Hike'n'Fly Pilot. I love going outside, climbing mountains, experience nature, thermalling and flying my paraglider. And I love to come home again to my wife and my civil life.

One week of X-Alps training

Last week we made an intense road trip throughout Switzerland in order to look for the best x-alps training ground.

We that’s me and Albert (yes, there are two of us 😉), a good friend of mine and experienced mountaineering buddy who wants to support me during the x-alps 2019.

The weather wasn’t too good, but that could not stop us from

  • searching new paths to hike up (Even some strategic ones especially around Matterhorn which was a turnpoint in past Redbull x-alps editions,
  • searching routes down in the valley to hike along (especially over mountain passes and the Mattertal),
  • and paragliding (from rainy to stable conditions).
  • But besides from those obviously necessary preparations for a Hike’n’Fly-competition, we studied a lot how to realize and optimize the things and gained experience.
    • Weight is king. Go light to go far AND longer.
      Eating was a major success. I could keep my weight. 😊😊😊 And we were looking for a rich variety, not only pasta and high carb.
      Sleeping was horrible. My air mattress lost air. And I had had no backup. Thunderstorms, humidity and loud neighbors at the camping made me sleep very little.
      But that couldn’t bring us down. The atmosphere was always good, we could discuss things seriously and make good decisions. I’m really lucky to have such a cool mate on my side and I’m proud to be in a team with him.
  • I’m sure we will rock the x-alps. 🤘
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    Review: GIN Lite Rucksack (90 L)

    GIN Lite Rucksack – that is a lightweight rucksack with a big volume.

    Manufacturer GIN offers it in two versions, with a volume of 80 and 90 liters. But its weight is still a lot less than one kilo.

    More info here: http://gingliders.com/accessories/technical-bags/rucksacks/lite-rucksack

    Last summer I used it for a long Hike’n’Fly trip through the alps. It was its last use – It is not the right product for me.

    Critique 1: Deformation by Compression

    If you use the compression strap for the center, it causes a cut at the center of the back. The construction of the back is not stable anymore. To solve that, you should stuff everything down to the bottom as much as possible. This compression mashes everything more stable.

    Critique 2: Shoulder Straps

    The shoulder straps are only padded slightly. The edges cut into your shoulders on a long day. To solve that, I used my rain poncho to protect my shoulders additionally.

    Skitourenguru.ch – a smart tool for route planning in winter (for Switzerland only)

    The day before yesterday I had a entertaining and informative evening in Seon/CH.
    Mammut Alpine School invited to their “Workshop Skitourenguru” to Mammut’s Outlet-Store.
    Günter Schmudlach, creator and developer, was the speaker and talked about:

    • Planning ski tours in general
    • Practical exercise
    • detailed information about Skitourenguru.ch.

    Overall it was an excellent evening.

    What is the value for Hike’n’Fly?
    Skitourenguru.ch is a tool for every Hike and Fly Pilot who’s not hibernating, but also exercises during the winter season.
    It combines the information of Lawinenbulletin and topographical maps, which is also useful for winter hiking and snowshoeing.

    What can you do to improve Skitourenguru.ch?
    Help by sending the GPS track (or two GPS tracks: one for ascent, one for descent) of your next tour to Günter Schmudlach. See contact here http://skitourenguru.ch/index.php/contact

    BIG THANKS to the Mammut Alpine School and Günter Schmudlach!!

    RUN RUN RUN …1000 meters towards Heaven

    Gaining 1000 meters vertically in one single mountain run, that was one of my highlights in January. Hard physical training paid off earlier than expected. 🙂

    Trailrunning with all its facets is a good training for the Red Bull X-alps. Long distances over wild terrain, sometimes on good paths, sometimes on small and rocky trails, up and down mountains and everything as fast as possible. Having such skills is a solid basis for Hike’n’Fly competitions also.

    What/who was my inspiration?

    • Podcast “Vitamin Berge”: vitaminberge.de
    • numerous photos of aufi_aufn_berg, who’s posting regularly photos of her runs around her area.
    • each of the trailrunners who I have seen running up mount Rigi.

    What is trailrunning? And which forms of trailrunning exist?

    Trailrunning is not defined exactly but often seen as (long) distance running on wild paths. That means running into the woods, on small trails, over rocks and mountains…. Although it’s not an Olympic discipline yet, there are numerous trailrunning competitions, in these three categories mainly:

      relatively short competitions. Character: speed, you go as fast as you can. Typical distance: 10-30 km
      Equal to speed trail, but instead of just making distance as fast as you can, the idea here is to gain altitude as fast as possible. Charakter: speed, on steep terrain (up to 50%) and at least more than 1000 meters uphill. Special Variation: Ultrasky.
      Trailrunning competition for long distances. Character: > 50 km (often between 100 km – 200 km, there’s no upper limit)

    When should you begin trailrunning?
    Now! Or later! But at least today! Because there’s no reason not to go “off-road” on your next run. Or make some altitude. A few meters are enough for really getting out of breath the first time.

    What do you need for trailrunning?
    Actually you don’t need much, some GTX shoes maybe, or even lightweight hiking shoes (I prefer these on mud). If it’s dry you can also use normal running shoes. Special trailrunning shoes fit the requirements the best of course, e.g. with few mm extra heel to toe. The rest of the equipment should be as light as possible.

    How can I improve?
    For me trail running is not my main sport, it should just help to meet my Hike’n’Fly targets. So I simply adjusted some ideas from my flying strategies:

    1. Having fun
      I don’t HAVE TO run. For my purpose walking/hiking would be enough.
    2. Start from scratch and increase only step by step
      – At the beginning I started with a hill of 100 meter altitude gain. Right next to our house there’s a small hill with the castle of Lenzburg on it. It was often part of my running course.
      – Then 200 meter. A hill with a watch tower on it. It’s also near my home and was soon part of my running course.

      – Then 400 meter. At this point my ambition for trail running startet. Since Jan 1st I’m been running up the “Gisliflue” regularly.

      – Then 2 x 400 meter. As I don’t have better options around here I had to double my runs up to the “Gisliflue”.
    3. Keep on going.
      Hang in there! No break. No stop. Just run. For paragliding that means “Never go landing. Only who stays up in the air, can fly long distances.” For running these basic skills like “endurance” or “stamina” are very equal. I would say the physical strain of trail running is about one third higher than running on flat and well prepared courses.
    4. Run more complex courses
      Not only altitude gain helps you develop your trail running skills, but also diverse terrain: from stones until serious rock faces (where you use also your hands), from sand to mud, from dry forests to deep snow.
    5. Run efficiently
      Ergonomically, with less power, lightweight and faster, faster, faster… Eating at the right time, walking at the right time… The combination of all those factors makes it complex.

    What is my trail running goal?
    Currently it still is “to run one time on top of Mt. Rigi”. From bottom to top. 1300 meters difference. No break. No stop
    … But maybe I’ve got to set more ambitious goals soon. We will see 😉

    Safe Battery life on iOS 11

    Many paragliding pilots use their iPhones as flight instruments. I’m using “Freeflight” and noticed that since the update to iOS 11 I’ve got serious problems with heavy battery drain during the flights.

    Here is a bunch of tips to safe an iOS 11 iPhone’s battery life.

    1. Update your apps
      Heavy battery drain is sometimes caused directly by only some apps. A newer version of an app could fix it.
    2. Turn off “Raise to wake”
      Settings > Display & Brightness > “Raise to wake”
    3. Restart your iPhone
      Troubleshooting tip No 1.
    4. Remove widgets from lockscreen
    5. Turn off “Background app refresh”
      Settings > General > “Background app refresh”
    6. Deactivate Location services for apps
      Settings > Privacy > Location Services
    7. Turn on “Reduce Motion”
      Settings > General > Accessibility > “Reduce Motion”
    8. Turn on “Low power mode”
      Settings > Battery > “Low power mode”
    9. Turn on “Airplane mode” on places with poor reception
      Settings > “Airplane mode”
    10. Deactivate “WLAN”
      Settings > “WLAN”
    11. Deactivate “Bluetooth”
      Settings > “Bluetooth”

    Main source and more detailed information here: https://www.iphonelife.com/content/how-to-fix-battery-drain-ios-10-iphone-10-tips-longer-battery-life

    GPX to IGC-File Converter “GpsDump”

    Tiny tools can be a great help.

    I was searching quite a while until i found a way how i could convert a GPX-file into a IGC-Datei on a Mac. As there are numerous tools in the Windows-world, there are only few of such little helpers for Apple users.

    Stein Sorensen’s GpsDump is a small tool for Mac users (macOS High Sierra) which I use to convert GPX-files into IGC-files easily.
    A GPX-file can be read directly from my GPS-Handheld GPSmap 62s and then be converted into IGC-, WPT-, CUP-, KML- or GPX-file formats. Devices from Bräuniger, Flytec, Flymaster and Garmin are supported.

    GpsDump is for free and can be downloaded here: http://www.gpsdump.no/body_mac.htm

    Thermikmesse 2018 – Talks on Youtube


    All the talks of the paragliding fair “Thermikmesse” are now online for 2018.
    Due to the fact that everything is in German, I just give a link to the german blogpost here.