Great video, guys!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
A close-up shows how well the mountains even funnel the wind.
You may see the light patch running through the fields like a stripe, from top to bottom. That is the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, and the security guards at one of the stations will likely be a bit curious about what you do.
We have now also made out a good restaurant, right in the center of Tsalka, on the right as you drive west, just off the main square. It's called Pontia, and while it is simple the people are very friendly. They now already have seen the first guests come in with ski boots, so likely will not be surprised.
Film to follow.
Monday, February 14, 2011
It only takes about 90 min. to get out to Tsalka, over the great new road (short plug for American development assistance). The ice is thick, although you may want to watch it since it is a reservoir and the lowering of water levels does create some gaps. Not all of those freeze over quickly. Also, there are some fishing holes that are not marked. In the video, you see me looking at one of them. You wouldn't want to sink your skis into one of those. Next time, I will be wearing a life vest.
Preferable kites size would be between 1.5 and 3 sqm, with one or two larger ones in reserve. Average wind speeds were between 30 and 40 km/h, although earlier in the day they reached 60 km/h, at which point the Ozone safety chart for the 3 sqm Flow Kite suggested in firm wording that even Expert Kiters watch instructional DVDs, rather than trying their luck with the winds. Sharpening edges may also be a good idea, given the sheer ice. And you want to take an ice axe, so that you can secure the kite when it is down, and potentially claw your way out of a hole. (Definitely: helmet. On my first kiting day in the season, I was taking it easy, and my GPS still read out speeds of more than 46 km/h. Good idea: radios. So we can use pretty much all our toys. Yay!)
This is a happily exhausted me, after three hours on the ice. Haven't yet checked out the Tsalka restaurants, so as to support local people a bit, but that's next on the list.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I was soaring on the ridge itself for about 30 minutes. Good thermals, although pulsating, typically coming through for about three or four minutes, and then a break of around one minute. The thermal releases come up unevenly across the hill, with the strongest surges at 5.9 m/s. Typically you see the releases working their way up the hill, on the grass, or the trees below. You could probably sustain yourself up there for a long time, if you stay nimble.
At one point, I gained more altitude (see below) and then ventured east, hoping to catch thermals further out. There weren't any clouds, but I thought maybe the thermals would be blue. No luck! I slipped into the inversion, and it was all the way downhill from then.
The landing site is good, but as mentioned, plenty of sand.
The lesson is that this is a great mountain even during powerful inversions, but there's little to be gained further out. Stay close to the ridge.