Accuracy about mount 7 free flight

Version française

Better knowledge of mount 7 (Seven) free flight area improves the experience.

Mount Seven...

  • Regularly hosts hang gliding and paragliding competitions.
  • The "Lookout" launch site area is also a BC Forest Service recreation site for picnic and tourism.

( Many photos are not loaded right away to reduce download time. Bring them with a click, if needed. Thanks ! : )

Last flights of the season. A little more bushes cutting on the takeoff. Fog in the Trench of the Rockies.


November 2010  November 5: I just tucked my wing for the winter. Very last flights of the season for me this week. The road is well snowed and most vehicles don't make it to the takeoff. My faithful car did make it yesterday. Excellent! We took the occasion and the time to cut bushes a little, François and me. The north takeoff will be a bit easier next year. The bushes and the trees begin to grow enough to cut them all, notice to volunteers. The inversion was palpable by the temperature at the takeoff and visible by the laminar smoke in the valley. Sleds only.

Mathieu se prepare, mardi superbe. Mathieu, Nadine et Gilles pointent vers l'arbre où l'aile s'est branchée. François, David et Fred.

October 2010  Oct 5: Another beautiful start for the month. The first was very marginal but several stayed in flight over half an hour. The two, better yet but David and Gilles scratch too much and do not make it to the LZ. Gilles find himself in a tree by the rail way. Lucky, the neighbour retrieves it with a backhoe without breaking anything, only a bit of grease on the wing. Snowbird tracing the sky? Debbie and Roger from the USA stopped for lunch and a flight. Très bons thermiques sous l'inversion. Today, very beautiful and excellent. Good thermals at the right places under the inversion i.e. under 2100 m (7000 ft). Mathieu practiced his thermalling, while I was able to fly around the mountain for 2:20. Oct 10: Clouds, wind, rain, no flights since thursday. Thursday that was so sunny had a south wind impeaching good thermal formation. Oct 11: Thanksgiving day, a good day between the rainy ones. A north wind brings cold to support the thermals, altitudes of 3000 m (10000 ft) reached, one 40,7 km out and return flight. Oct 14: Return of fair weather. The southerly wind impeach thermals and we only sled down. The hang glider visiting from California likes the site nevertheless. Oct 16: The too numerous cirrus make the strong thermals (2 m/s) too rare, sleds of less than 30 minutes. Notable fact, a Snowbird (or other acrobatic jet plane) makes a pass with smoke trail direction east. François does maintenance. Brad and family, from Winnipeg, wait for our takeoffs. David's wing, not too difficult to bring down. Oct 17: Full sun. Two Calgarians come for a few flights. François scratch the west cliffs for an hour. I maintain 23 minutes north-ouest side. David, lacks margin, branches himself just short of the landing zone. His GMRS radios turn out very useful. Oct 21: Two warm and sunny days, hope of thermals. But too strong inversions make thermals that don't slow the descent much. Solid bad weather arrives tomorrow for a while. Oct 30: Snowy ground. Some sun, more possible. Also a perfect day to work on the takeoff. Brush cutting by François and, the clouds opening a hole for us, a hopeful flight. Not enough of the sun so a sled, more or less.

Kevin, Barry, Justine and Mark keep smiling in spite of the cold wind, the snow flakes and the sky rapidly closing. Dale and Flavio after their flights. A beautiful thursday.

September 2010  Sept 2: Beautiful start for the month. Non-stop flights all day from the tandems, me and numerous visitors from the area, from Calgary and from Brazil (in leave in Canada). Sept 7: Strong south wind last saturday allowed some flights. One paraglider could not make the LZ and had to land in the dry slough. We are in a long stretch of bad weather that started sunday. Sunday, a short window early afternoon that only Raul and some tandems took advantage of. Several went up afterward to observe the thunderous cells closing in rapidly and the closure of the sky. Sept 10: HPAC announces that Parks Canada has reevaluated its position regarding allowed activities. Free flight (HG and PG) could be authorized in some cases. See the news release from Parks Canada. A satisfied flying group, Nikko, Juliette, Thomas and David. Another troph of bad weather already! Tom and Martin prepare slowly. Sept 18: Yesterday, friday, relatively good weather, so finally some flying. Tom, visiting from the UK, Tim, Martin and me have good flights, about one hour and a half. Mostly scratching on the west cliffs in a south wind. But today the weather deteriorate too rapidly, as I am barely ready a huge cloud covert hides the sun and shows signs of rain, the troph is already here. Well, a sled run is better than nothing. Tim does his sled under a very light rain. Next appointment with the sun is wednesday. Sept 23: And wednesday was very good all day. Full sun, light wind, thermals under an inversion. New paragliders and a very "sympa" french couple, enjoyed well. The sun comes back again next wednesday, probably.
Polartech representatives. Pre-winners of the Glassoff. Sept 26: Processing the Glassoff (was yesterday), it was a pleasant day in spite of the strong south wind. Only one flight, a sled. No target landing. Some maintenance was done on the LZ, less growing trees and holes in the middle for next summer, thanks to Thomas and Martin. Food was decent, music okay. Many original costume designs, it was a delight to see. Pre-winners on photo, all pretty good, a tight race. Final winners were the potato heads, a clever playable design. Fewer stayed for the DJ dancing but we had a good time in spite of (or with) a couple falls, spills, screems, tackling, spraying... More photos on facebook. Sept 30: Pure beautiful day, but narely thermal. Scratching practice. Yesterday, a group was surrounding the Utah paraglider, Bill Belcourt, at the takeoff for professional shoots. Posing non-stop all day. We don't imagine all the work behind advertisements. The Polartech® guys were friendly, as well as the people of the advertisement agency.

Mike after his mountain biking accident. Shoulder decombobulated. Robert Hauser wins the paragliding national. Brett Yeates calculates results of the paragliding national.

August 2010  August 2: The paragliding national ended yesterday with a windy day, one hang gliding flight only. Mike and Matt got into a mountain bike accident leaving Mike in a sling for a few weeks. Thunderstorm and award dinner finished the day. August 4: Ole Andreas Haddeland made a video about the paragliding national that I added to the videos page.
Donnie also helped the two casualties of yesterday. Leif refold his wing and assess its damages in the background. Leif after first aid on the spot, forcing a smile for the camera. August 5: Best flying day of the year was yesterday. I did Brisco and back for 131,8 km. Today, drama. Two missed takeoffs on the south ground, before I arrive. One beginner (Andi, I've been told), broken arm probable, and Leif, laceration on the left leg requiring almost 20 stitches. No problems with takeoffs after that and I went visit Tower peak and back before sunset: 57,9 km. August 14: Finally another super good day. Everyone climbs at takeoff. All beginners beat their records. Bev and Luis make good time, Larry goes almost 60 km in a single surface. Tim and Igor make almost a complete Spilli out and return. A few paragliders went over 100 km south. Great forecast for the next five days.
Great day! Igor and Matt in the forefront. And a great retrieve by Bev and cie. Larry joins me in Spilli under a single surface, a best for him. I was on the way back from Brisco. August 15: Less good but super for the patient ones. The light south wind turns north around 3 pm, for a big improvement. Still, many have difficulties keeping aloft. Raul and Eric succeed and pass Radium. I don't complete a Harrogate and return and have to walk for kilometers to escape the mosquitoes. A defective shoe causes problems. After this weekend, Igor takes the second position of the BC xc league with 0,6 points ahead of me. August 16: Close to 10 paragliders here to profit from the beautiful weather notice, with me, that the dense smoke arriving suddenly in the afternoon, soften the thermals and inhibits them in the evening. The sun turns into a red disc not dazzling anymore. I manage only 52,8 km distance flight. August 18: Thin smoke but very windy from the south at the takeoff in spite of light wind in the valley. Helped by visitors, I take off and climb like a rocket. Powerful thermals in this strong wind. Fast out to Spilli, return slow but very possible. I finally take first place in the BC xc league ahead of Alex Raymont. Thanks to the paraglider for bringing my car down, the wind keeping strong late, at the takeoff. Stunning shear low at 200 m.
Glenn, Flavio's family and Pavel waiting for wind to abate on the same windy day. Rob, Bev, Pavel and unusual cirrus on this windy day. Tom and Brandi join me in a good but smokey day. August 20: Return of the dense smoke. Good thermals anyway in a light wind, except in the shade of the numerous clouds. Tom Korte appreciate his first hang gliding flight since two years. August 23: The rain this weekend has cleaned the air. A few sunny days to come this week. August 25: Not too bad flying past few days but daylight shorten rapidly. August 29: Very good flights yesterday (saturday) especially for hang gliders since the wind blowing with good gusts. Distant thunderstorms to the north, south and west threatened all day but retreated at the end of the day. A fire was burning the back side of a hill about 30 km south, at least five helicopters were fighting it. The snow and rain of today surely finished it. And it will be wet all this week.

Loren (Sask.) and Kevin discuss while assembling their wings. Lani liked her tandem flight with Rob (Re)connecting for the summer

July 2010  July 3: Large group of flying visitors in spite of uncertain weather, worrisome at times. Air turned out very calm for such an active cloud cover. Large group of paragliders learning with Muller Windsports got their first high flight without incident. Sunday is rather rainy. The Willi is closing in! You can register now online or in person, I have registration forms ready for use. July 12: A weekend busy with student pilots doing their first high flights. A weather calm enough, especially Sunday. Cloudy and windy today, return of hot weather is forecasted Wednesday and on. Perfect start for the Willi 2010, this coming weekend. T-shirts has arrived today and I'd like to remind that early registrants have first choice.
At the takeoff, national paragliding. This smokey day was the last valid. Eric Olivier in Golden for the national paragliding. At the takeoff, Willi 2010. A few faces of the Willi 2010. July 22: The Willi is currently hapenning. The weather is challenging because of the wind, the thunderstorms and the gusts fronts associated. We learned from last year to take it seriously and we all avoided weather-caused troubles. Accidents side amongst participants: one reserve deployment on the first day (read story - may need to log in) and one missed takeoff yesterday (minor damages to the wing, minor scratches). Stewart Midwinter started a discussion about some events of the week. July 25: The Willi 2010 is now over without any more incident. See short overview and final Willi 2010 results. The PG national starts today. July 29: The weather tend to be windy and thunderstormy during this PG national.

Always popular tandems Growing thunderstorms, all landed before the gusts arrival Tim and Dale look at Sotir land

June 2010  June 4: The road is open, dry and in good shape to the Lookout. Unfortunately, the weather remains bad and the rares flights are sleds to the landing only. June 6: The weather turned out good long enough in spite of the forecast. Nice flying visits of Sotir, Tim and Rob. June 14: Saturday was rough mid-day, excellent in evening. Sunday, a weakening front brought too much wind for paragliders. The wind calmed enough for me to race a Parson and back before a thunderous ending. A batch of Willi t-shirts is available already, $20, proceeds going to the Willi fund. June 20: Good weekend in spite of the menacing thunderstorms. Rough air saturday and few flights in the afternoon. Sunday started well but a long thunderstorm line develops rapidly easterly. All landed before the gusts arrival. June 28: The uncertain weather continues but we find some good flying windows in spite of it. A Swiss paraglider visiting the Rockies with his companion had the pleasure to find someone lending his flying equipment, saturday night. It was a rather windy day with washing machine thermals that calmed down after 5 pm. The nice weather continued until sunday around 1 pm, thunderstorm retaking over. A pleasant weekend after all, with several flying visitors.

Thunderstorm and its gusts, avoided Mike, Mathieu and Nick, sunday Sotir waits for the cycle
Bears by the road Barrier now at 8 km Short flight from the 9k

May 2010  May 10: Sunday, the road was open up to 8 km, one km short of the 9k launch. Count a week or two for that shaded and muddy km to be ready. Tim and I walked it but for less than 30 minutes airtime flight. First mamma bear and cubs sighting this year. May 16: The barrier of Forestry BC is still at 8 km. Paragliders (Peter, Hugo, Mike) and a hang glider (Tim) had good flights saturday, short distances. The Willi 2010 page info now has a registration form with Paypal payment. Use it, register now! May 19: Forestry BC moved the barrier to 10 km today, opening 9k launch to vehicles. Fallen tree at 9k needs cutting. May 29: Flying season really slow to start this year. Bad weather all last week and this weekend. Not much sunny forecasted next week either.

Barrier at 6 km Tim prepares at 5k Tim's new domain at the foot of the mountain

April 2010  April 3: Our flying pal Tim bought a little domain right at the foot of the mountain. We surely will see him more often. April 17: Tim tries the very risky 5k takeoff. The weather get worse quickly and he goes for a direct sled to the gravel pit. The forestry road is closed by the ministry of transport at the 6 km point to keep it in better shape while it's soft. Still thick snow at 7 km anyway, it won't open before May for sure. I will keep you informed as soon as the 9 km launch is accessible.

Golden film festival

March 2010  The free flier Lucille de Beaudrap will begin her ascent of mount Everest this month. It is a climbing expedition we can follow on her blog. March 21: The Golden film festival was yesterday and surprise, Scott Watwood had two films presented. Speed flying first and the other mostly bits of BASE jumping.

Mount 7
  1. photo 5 by Sarah Shannon — wins $40
  2. photo 2 by Glenn Bitterman — wins $20
  3. photo 37 by Jason Dyer — wins $10

February 2010  February 7: The Willi 2009 photo contest open page is now wrapped. Winning photos are:

Also new this month, I've open a twitter username mt7air open page. News bits sent via mobile phone has an irresistible appeal. It also has the potential to be very useful in the field.

January 2010  Wishing happy new year open page to all friends of Mount 7! Please make the resolution to fly more safely. January 18: The PG national will be in Golden this year and its organizer and the HPAC competition comitee have decided to encroach on the Willi for it i.e. the PG National will be July 26 to August 1. The Willi will then precede it, July 17 to 24.

Kicking Horse river

December 2009  Wishing happy holidays and great new year open page to all friends of Mount 7! Take the time to reflect on this ending year to improve the next. And as usual in aviation, learn as much as possible including from other people mistakes.

Accidents this year were all recoverable.

  • Many close calls and a couple of scrapes, bruises, cracked ribs during the too numerous gust fronts
  • One back injury and one concussion on takeoff
  • At least two tree crashes without injuries in cross-country

Be well prepared, read this website thoroughly.

Mike and Louise, well off. Photo: Carl Brownell. Serge with the ski station in backdrop. Photo: Carl Brownell. Mike and Louise brave the cold for higber altitude!

October 2009  October 3: Cold and cloudy week. The mountains are powdered white. Flight season is ending. October 12: Great weekend flying in very cold air with thermals on the rocks. How do the birds do it all winter? Mike and Louise even did a little out and return cross-country flight of 10 + 10 km. Snow week coming. October 13: The Willi 2009 is not quite complete yet. The photo contest held by Glenn Bitterman was not judged because of other concerns during the event. However, Glenn has collected and sent me the photos, and they are now posted on this voting page. Please visit the page and vote for your prefered photos! Octobre 24: The flying season is over but the site is still active. Last week, Brenda Bowle-Evans held a small ceremony with family after receiving the new memorial plaque dedicated to Peter. It will accompany the ones of Chris and Willi Muller on the big white rock at the Lookout takeoff.

Joël and Julie from Yamaska fly mount 7! Jim and Cyra measuring themselves The early sunset around 8pm and more stable air shorten the flights

September 2009  September 5: Still many pilots around in nice enough weather. Rather stable air though so far. September 14: Good weekend of good weather that lasts and lasts. Good enough to add hours in the log book. Several rare visitors. September 19: Last weekend brought many visitors from outside as usual with nice weather. Julie and Joël right from Yamaska, Québec, were of the group when the thermals were so nice Saturday. Hours of airtime. The weather stayed nice until Thursday, attracting a paraglider from the US, another from southern Alberta and a dynamic trio from Calgary. Tomorrow, the return of the sun. Only the winter will let me rest from flying. :D Glassoff dinner about to be served September 28: The Glassoff, target landing, dinner, and live band, went very well. Even the weather helped the maintenance by making Saturday too windy for flying while Sunday proved fantastic for the season. Forty-seven pilots registered for the costume and target landing event, sixteen participated in the maintenance work on the LZ, ninety-six adults paid for the dinner. Louise Bouchard won the target landing and the couple Dianne Fiala-Scott Watwood won the costume portion. This fund raising event sponsored and organised by John McIsaac collected $920 for Search and Rescue (SAR), $1000 for the Willi event fund and an extra $75 was donated for site maintenance fund. In addition, mt 7 site fund donated $2500 to SAR and Vincene Muller on her side collected another $1460 in individual donations to SAR.

Odile at the departure Marc-André and Mark do the gravel pit Lots of visitors this month

August 2009  August 19: Finally I find some time to update the news. Lots have hapenned. The Willi results are up since a while with a very short overview, stressing the dangers of this year. Even in good weather, two paragliders, one non-participant, went in the trees on the very last day. One self rescued, the other got heli-rescued. The weather was not so good for the first half of this month while a hang glider from New-Hampshire was befriending some nice locals. At the same time, Odile, a woman from France no less, travelling all over Canada with a very well equipped trike (motorised hang glider) and had to pause in Golden a few days for inclement weather. We had a good time helping her, chatting, learning about her and her trek. See her website: open pageEnvolée au Canada (i.e. Taking off in Canada. Stories also in english.). Today marked the return of the nice weather with three hours airtime for me. And the forecast is plain great for the next seven days at least! August 26: The weather was excellent on Saturday with almost all having long flights. Sunday was acceptable until the strong wind arrived around 3 pm. Three hang gliders flew briefly in this wind and one found the LZ rather small in these conditions. Sun still staying.

Broken wing and shaken pilot Wedding party Strange but welcoming sky

July 2009  July 4: Cute weekend following a very sunny week. Leif fills up of flights. Tim comes back for a couple weeks. Guy comes for two days. Moors as well. More will be here for sure. July 7: the weather was super at times and at places, strange like the mountains. Better for hang gliders because of south winds, some paragliders did not make it to the LZ but without any harm. Excellent adventures. July 11: One freak accident on takeoff broke a wing on Thursday and shook the pilot. Yesterday mini celebration of the late Peter Bowle-Evans open page whom had the honour of giving his name to the mount 7 forestry road. Today a group is doing their first high flight. July 14: Weekend well filled with a new batch of pilots from Muller Windsports, a wedding at the most busy time, and great weather. Two fantastic days for all. July 19: this week was very excellent although darkened by one incident and one accident on friday. One paraglider clipped a tree when he came so short in a south wind but still landed okay. One hang glider, Saskatchewan representative, was a bit nervous on landing and didn't have enough speed in final. He stalled when he tried to turn. Bruises, swollen elbow and light concussion only, fortunately. Plus much repairs on the wing. This weekend is windy, few flew so far. July 24/25 – August 2: the Willi 2009! It's going on in good weather, overall. Excellent distances. Life-challenging experiences with good endings. Goofs sometimes. Drama. Beats the movies ten times over.

Dave came on the way to the Lumby Air Races Golden and mount 7 Raul flies mount 7

June 2009  June 3: The weather, so great suddenly, brings visitors mid-week from Montana and Calgary. Good distance flights. And a reminder from one field owner to avoid landing in his grown field. Oups, I thought he'd be happier to see me again. His so inviting field is the one at about 25 km from takeoff. Its GPS UTM Coordinates : 11U 0522487 E, 5659956 N. However, he has no problem if we land in his packages (animal fields), including the long narrow field by the river. If the river is low, it may do. Always choose a safe landing spot, though. Minimizing damages done to crop by the place you land and walk in the field, helps. If possible/useful, fold outside of the field. This owner had a bigger beef against paragliders in large competitions. June 6: After such a good week bringing me to the 1st position in the provincial distances, this weekend is cloudy. I take the opportunity to recall that the landing zone is peppered with gopher holes. Must be careful. June 17: Finally rain to seriously wet fields and gardens. Many good flights last weekend in better than forecasted conditions. Sunday, Raul (prononce raw-wool) did Invermere again. Me and Doug made Parson and return. Mike said he did Harrogate and back with another paraglider. Many flew locally. June 22: The weather turned out much better than the forecast, last Saturday. Only good for the numerous visitors. Sunday got ugly in the afternoon but some flew briefly during a long clearing. The road got a great grating Sunday and looks almost new. Super! Seven women from Golden skied the seven of mount 7.

Bowle-Evans road at 8k. more snow higher. Not open. Mike drives down the jeep that made it to the 9k launch. Peter and Steve had a sled run. The road christened “Bowle-Evans”

May 2009  A small group from Calgary and Edmonton couldn't wait any longer and came to the Rockies on the 1st of the month. But the forestry road, recently christened “Bowle-Evans”, still being impassable with mud and snow, they only made it to the 9k launch with difficulty, in a jeep. There will be mud ruts to take care of again, hopefully less than last year! :)
Bowle-Evans road snowed at 10,5 km. Not open. Bowle-Evans road mud ruts at 8,5 km. Not open. 22 May: Well no, the mud ruts are worse than last year and the road is still soft mud beteen 8 and 9 km. Moreover, snow still blocks the road above 10 km. A regular car can't pass. Others damage the road and risk getting stuck. Bring a shovel. End of May: The road opens and the weather is great. Good times begins for the season.

April 2009  Prepare your gear. Still some time since the road is not quite open yet. If you plan to come to the Willi and camp at the GEAR, please make an advance reservation. No other major competition at mount 7 this year. See Events calendar. Peter Bowle-Evans received a great posthumous honour when the mt 7 road was named Bowle-Evans drive. With street signs.

Previous news


Road to launch
Road to landing zone
Lower launch
Main launch
Upper launch
Landing zone 
Flying mount 7
Cross country flights
Events calendar
Contacts & links
Off-page links:
Traveler's info
Some records
Photo gallery
Video gallery
Proposal of legal society 
Site map 
Wilbur glides in 1901

[...] there is a possibility that men will eventually learn to fly without motors, after the manner of the soaring birds, which sail for hours on motionless wings. In such case the flyer would be so small and simple that the original cost would be very moderate, and the fuel expense done away with entirely. Then flying will become an every-day sport for thousands [...]
- Wilbur Wright. From a short article in Scientific American, 1908 February 29.

The Wright brothers in briefPhoto source

The Rockies, Golden, mount 7, the valley of the Columbia river


Mt 7: It named itself!

Above mount 7 (PBE). Mt 7 overview.
Aerial topographic (Canada).
Recent image from town.

The mount Seven flying site is located southeast, and as close as it can possibly be to the town of Golden, BC, Canada. The flying season starts normally in May taking off from the lower (9k) launch. In June, the upper part of the road clears of snow and permits vehicle access to the Lookout area. Later in the summer, the upper launch becomes accessible for paragliders not afraid of hiking. By November, the weather and the snowed road end the season for most. Some paraglider pilots take the time to go by snowmobile or otherwise for a bit of flying in the winter.

The landing zone, a large field in Nicholson, is usually easy to reach and land. Mount 7 is a great site where the conditions are very dependant on the weather. It can be a bore when the wind is light and it's overcast or a roller-coaster when the real wind is light east and the sun cooks up violent thermals. Be aware of the weather conditions and do not exceed your and your wing limitations. However, if you persist, you will be rewarded. For example, the front of an air mass sometimes happens to spill some air ahead in the valley, thereby producing a huge lift wave traveling forward. Riding this in the middle of the valley is quite a thrill. Be careful though, these gusts fronts can be dangerous, especially if caused by storms, like we experienced in the Willi 2009 . Read some free flight stories and adventures from mount 7 or a couple of praises to know better the site.

Road access to launch areas

The road, improved in 2000, now makes the two lower takeoff areas (the lower launch and the Lookout) easily accessible by two-wheels-drive cars. The mt 7 road was rechrisened Bowle-Evans drive in Peter Bowle-Evans open page honour, in 2009. Peter made much efforts to open a road for normal vehicles. This road is quite used in good weather: free flight pilots, travelers, visitors, tourists and mountain bikers in particular. Mountain bike trails are popular. Be prudent in the turns and narrowings in particular.

road photos

From Golden to BE drive, in pale green.
Turn left to takeoffs and gravel pit;
straight to Nicholson LZ.
Arrow: to takeoffs; R: rodeo ground.
BE drive street sign by the gravel pit.
BE drive to BE forestry road.
Narrow right turn at the 8 km.
Right turnoff to the 9k (lower) launch.
Turnoff to upper launch (left turn).
Top of steep road to upper launch.
Arrow left: trail head; right: loop and park spot.
Aerial view of road to LZ.


Take the main road (10th avenue) in Golden direction south. About one kilometer out of town, you should see the gravel pit on your left. Take the road off the highway on your left between the gravel pit and the small bird sanctuary called "Reflection lake" (photo). Take the left again on the gravel road that goes up around the gravel pit (photo; the rodeo grounds should be to your right) and take the right fork into the mountain (photo). Follow this meandering road. Note the numbered signs on the side of the road to mark kilometers. The Lookout is at kilometer 14. At kilometer 5, a sharp left turn. There, to the right, a trail popular with mountain bikers. Continue up the road. Soon after some S-bends, the road climbs on a narrow rock cut and you can see the valley to your left. At the top of this, the road bends right into the Kicking Horse canyon and a side road or two to pass. Keep on the main upward road. Past kilometer 8, take the right upward road at the Y and drive carefully to the narrow and blind right turn (photo). Watch for traffic. After a couple of switchbacks, you should see a downward road cutting to the right (photo) and a post, at about kilometer 9.

  • Take this road down 50 meters to go to the lower or 9k launch. Park your vehicle down there and walk the trail that is somewhat along the ridge, downward for about 40 meters to get to the actual lower launch, or 9k launch.

Do not take this road to continue upward for the other launches. Simply follow the most beaten road going up. At the high point (photo), you should see the gravel area widening to the right with another road to the left at 120°.

  • Continue straight ahead for the Lookout. The open area is the place to park the vehicles when the Lookout is crowded. Here are a four toilet outhouse to the right, a shelter and an adapted outhouse without toilet paper to the left. Continue straight up and you are at the Lookout, a BC forest service recreation site and the best takeoff area of the region for foot-launched wings. Drive back down to park your vehicle, once your equipment unloaded, in order to free some space at the Lookout.
  • To go to the paragliders' upper launch take the left 120° road instead. Have a sturdy 4WD with a good ground clearance. The road follows the spine of the mountain upward. Muddy, damaged or very steep at places. At the first steep upward Y, the left leads to a muddy flat early in the season while the right steep is more damaged. Your choice. Travel along the spine and climb right up to a peak (photo), somewhat rocky, where the road makes a small loop. (There are a couple of lower dead-ends.) Stop there, you should be able to see the upper launch, away from its right backside, and maybe also a wind-sock or a flag. The trail starts on the south side downward straight along the spine toward the upper launch, and is easily followed. The walk takes about forty minutes depending on your physical shape. It is mostly a hike, but there is a short stretch requiring a quick scramble over a rocky ledge. It takes you up to an unserviced alpine launch area.

Road to the landing zone

Leave Golden on highway #95 heading south. Drive five minutes. Take the right off the highway on Nicholson frontage road, to enter Nicholson. Take Canyon Creek road on your right, cross the rail track and the bridge. Take McBeath road on your right at the fork. The landing zone will be to your right with wind-socks. Continue and take the driveway leading to the house. Park your vehicles to the right on the new graveled parking area in the corner of the field. See aerial photo in previous section. Highway 95 and landing zone highlighted in blue, the parking area, in purple. Recent photos are shown in the Landing zone section.

Mt. Seven lower launch at 9 km or 9k launch

lower launch photos

Setting up on the lower launch.
Tim takes off. Ron takes off.
View from the lower launch. Ron in flight.
Aerial views of the lower launch.
Arrows point to the access road and to the launch.

Altitude: 5120'ASL; 1560 m ASL. Height: 2525'; 770 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5681202 m N; 506944 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.28211° N; 116.90043° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 16.9266' N; 116° 54.0258' W

Small launch pad on the ground with not much room to spare. Can put together four hang gliders at a time. Accommodate winds west to south or light wind (any direction) with good thermals to compensate. Difficult for paragliders because the slope is short with trees on each side. Paragliders may have to land in the previously mentioned gravel pit if they can't climb. This launch is used in the spring when the pilots can't wait for the road higher up to clear of snow. Not recommended for beginners.

Mt. Seven main launch site - the Lookout

Altitude: 6370'ASL; 1942 m ASL. Height: 3780'; 1152 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5680474.428 m N; 507967.656 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.27555° N; 116.88577° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 16.533' N; 116° 53.1462' W

views of the Lookout

The main launch. Close-up.
View from above, the west and the south-west.
Setting up wings.
Northwest side to avoid.
Correct takeoff sequence from the ramp (LB):
ready, good wing position, solid stance;
good run, keep wing in line;
airborne, retracting takeoff/landing gears.
Launching at the north ground: para para hang.
Reverse launch on the south ground.

There are three launching pads at the Lookout: the north ground (N on photo), the west ramp (R on photo) and the south ground (S on photo). Accommodates takeoffs in winds coming from north, west, and south. More precisely, from north to south-southeast. Their exact orientations are in fact respectively northwest, southwest, and southeast.
The old north ramp (X on photo) does not exist anymore.

Paragliders prefer the north ground when the wind comes from between north and southwest. They sometimes succeed in more southerly winds when the thermals have the air flow wrap around to go upward the northwest side. Must be careful though, it's a little more risky.
The slope of the north ground is rather gentle hence requiring a good run in light wind.

Hang gliders prefer the west ramp in winds west to south. Rather simple to take off. Prudence still asks to take the time to choose well the takeoff run moment. In thermal conditions, we notice sometimes sudden changes in the wind force and direction. The air may go so straight up then, that it does not circulate well on the ramp.
Avoid using the northwest side of the ramp (photo), especially in light wind. The ground is a bit close at the end. Use the north ground instead. And obviously, when the wind is too cross for the ramp, it's time to take off from the ground.

The south ground launch is a bit unnerving because it is short and some trees are left standing, right in front. The trees impair the air flow, causing some turbulence. This launch also leads to an almost vertical slope. A cliff takeoff technique may apply. Fortunately, the wind is not south too often.

Tip: Try to start your takeoff in order to benefit from a stronger and more regular wind cycle. You want as much air speed as possible, quickly, to maximize control. Remember to keep your wings level and correct any improper wing attitude during takeoff, the cause of so many crashes.
In any case, watch for possible turbulence or shear in the wind shadow of trees and bushes.

Beginners will find the site very suitable for them before and after the great thermal conditions of the afternoon. Typically in the summer, thermals begin at around 2:00 pm and get strong enough after 3:00 pm. Thermals usually begin to weaken at around 6:00 pm to become easily manageable during the evening. Lift may last until sunset or later. Often, mount Seven "gives" continual lift locally while Kapristo mountain, next to the south, would sink you down.

The Lookout is a recreation site enjoyed by us and mountain bikers, hikers, motorcyclists, photographs, sightseers, and other animals. The outhouse (T on photo) is not anymore. There is a big one with four seats, at the large parking. To free some space, please unload your needed equipment at the Lookout and bring your vehicle down to the large parking.


Mt. Seven upper launch site

upper launch photos

Aerial photo of the upper launch (arrow).
Trail head; trail; rocky ledge.
Animated takeoff sequence:

Altitude: 7577'ASL; 2310 m ASL. Height: 4987'; 1520 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5678403.927 m N; 509777.847 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.25691° N; 116.85988° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 15.4146' N; 116° 51.5928' W

The wide-open launch is suited in northwest to south wind. Watch your lines on the sharp scree that covers the launch area, this is no place to cut a line. You can also launch from the saddle just behind the main launch, but be wary of rotor as you move out in front through the gap.
Note the strong thermals produced close to that launch in the cliffs below. This means that the anabatic wind picks up earlier than at the Lookout and get much stronger, fast. Consequently, when the air is sufficiently unstable in the summer, the wind becomes too strong for paragliders to take off, as early as noon to as late as 8:00 pm sometimes, while it's marvelous at the Lookout.

The landing zone

Altitude: 2590'ASL; 790 m ASL. Height: 0'; 0 m.
Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5676926.592 m N; 505619.991 m E
Coordinates WGS84: 51.24368° N; 116.91949° W
WGS84 for SAR: 51° 14.6208' N; 116° 55.1694' W

The designated landing zone, if you don't fly cross country or if you do an out-and-return, is in Nicholson. It's the large field directly north of the big Y of roads in Nicholson, west of the Columbia river (LZ/ATT on photo). The parking is on gravel at the south-west corner. Do not park on McBeath road. Notice that we do not share the field with horses anymore.

Since October 2003, the large property in Nicholson that includes the landing zone is owned by Columbia View Homes Ltd. This company is itself controlled by John McIsaac and Cathy-Anne David, whom have paragliding skills. These developers are integrating a flight park, named Muller flight park (MFP), with other adventures. The official ribbon cutting opening was 2005 July 2nd. The whole is dubbed N.E.A.R. for Nicholson eco-adventure ranch, or is it G.E.A.R. for Golden? Meh, whichever. Anyway, as a consequence of investment, they now require pilots to sign their own waiver and have current membership of the HPAC to land. Visit their Eco-Adventure Ranch website for many more details and to get a copy of their waiver.

Since 2006, the owners of the flight park introduced a new event: the Golden Glassoff. A mainly social event of costumes, target landings and a party, held at the beginning of automn. It is an annual event taking its inspiration from the famous Coupe Icare of St-Hilaire-du-Touvet in France.

John, Cathy-Anne, and family expressed their pride in securing the landing zone for years to come, making mount 7 a tried and true destination.

Things to watch for during the approach and on landing:

  • Electric cables run along the road and on the west side of the LZ to the house.
  • Sinking air near the river. Particularly early in season, when the glacial water is flooding the marshes.
  • The trees are high and produce turbulence as far as half the field length when windy.
  • On a thermally afternoon, the wind becomes very variable in strength and direction in the LZ. Watch the wind-socks closely. Avoid a downwind landing, crosswind is better. Keep the speed up, correct rolls especially in finale.
  • Ground squirrels have reproduced a bit much and their holes may pose a risk when running. Be careful, some areas have more and bigger holes.

Neighbours and visitors enjoy the sight of hang gliders and paragliders landings. Have a good one but keep good humor if you miss. Moreover, they may save you in case of a crash.

Nicholson, the Landing Zone and alternates

Nicholson landing zone; from closer.
Golden and alternate landings; from closer.
Landing in the gravel pit, easy without wind.
Owners of MFP flanked by Vincene Muller.
G.E.A.R. office. The late Peter, with Rob.
G.E.A.R. office.
MFP ample parking and grassy folding area.

At a 4:1 glide from the Lookout, the landing zone (LZ) is easily accessible most of the time. As a rule of thumb, when you are at the height of the west butte, you should head toward the landing. However, flying is not always so easy. Paragliders fly much slower than hang gliders, consequently come short of the LZ most often. It happens every year. The lack of penetration in an increasing head wind is the principal reason, bad judgment comes second. However, in moderate (or stronger) south wind, paragliders simply must land elsewhere. Also, after taking off from the lower launch or when scratching low at the kilometer 5 cliffs, the landing of choice becomes the gravel pit. Hang gliders: avoid the alternates LZ unless you're in serious trouble (thunderstorm, for example). They are small; a crash would be too likely. Although, a good drag parachute could possibly help.

The Nicholson LZ is the best. Keep in mind to have enough altitude in reserve to glide to it. Otherwise, if need be, the higher you are, better is the choice of alternatives.

These alternatives are:

  • The gravel pit (G on photo)
    Coordinates NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5681753.413 m N; 503734.829 m E
    Coordinates WGS84: 51.28709° N; 116.94648° W
    WGS84 for SAR: 51° 17.2254' N; 116° 56.7888' W
    Used all the time for the aforementioned reasons or simply for convenience. Good in light or south winds. Airplane traffic will fly right above it during their landing circuit, so fly with an aircraft radio and/or make a low (relative to airplanes) approach from the mountain side. Watch also for wind shear. In stronger northerly wind, prefer the next option.
  • The CPR ditch grass strip
    Small grass strip between the CPR yard and Highway #95 (between arrows in the close-up views), on the other side of the road from the south end of Reflection lake (R). It has a big wind-sock on the west side and barely any obstacles to the northerly air flow. Preferred in strong winds from the north when the Nicholson LZ is too far. (Although normally, the Nicholson LZ is really easy to reach in north wind!) Watch for the lampposts and the electric wire line. Your approach must be perfect.
  • The soccer field
    On the plateau just north of the gravel pit. Grassy but many obstacles around, avoid landing in the adjacent baseball fields: full of fences. Watch for wind shears and turbulences, even when not so windy. Probably worse than the gravel pit for it.
  • The swampy area just north of the LZ (M in LZ photo)
    Can save you from damage and injuries. If you seriously doubt crossing the tree patch, land before it. The trees are high and hurt. Flooded in the spring, the swamp becomes almost dry by the end of July in the vicinity of the trees and the walk through the woods is relatively easy.

Other small places are not recommended for visitors. Do not risk your bones for a longer flight. You can always go back up for another. However, if your wing collapsed, closed, or other (rather paragliding catastrophe), nobody thoughtful will annoy you for the emergency landing you chose...


Golden zone

Golden ATF zone: shaded circle (not a recent map)

Any free flight pilot living near a big center knows how much airports and their airspaces can restrict, if not forbid, our flights. They have big buffer zones to insure the safety of the air travelling public. This is mainly due to the IFR traffic, very fast, heavy, and blind.
Local airports are the least restrictive. They require only radio contact and permission in the smallest open airspace. However, an airport implies a higher density of traffic in its vicinity. Consequently, keep your eyes and ears open in particular near the usual routes taken by the traffic.

Golden airport

Uncontrolled. Unicom 122.8 MHz in the airport traffic frequency (ATF) zone of 5 NM (nautical miles, makes 9.3 km) radius up to 5600'ASL (1707 m above sea level). Although it is class G airspace, avoid flying close to the runway. Do not land at the airport unless you have permission and radio contact. The traffic, mainly helicopters and small planes, may exceed 30 takeoffs/landings on a good day and is fast and hard to see. Its location is indicated by "A--port" on the photo of Golden, previous section.

The surroundings are mostly class G airspace where aircrafts use the en route frequency 126.7 MHz. We use the very light aircrafts frequency 123.4 MHz. Class G airspace also means that there is no restrictions on VFR flights (us included) other than VFR (visual flight rules). Few restricted areas for blasting indicated on the aeronautical map. All details published by Transport Canada.

Invermere airport

Uncontrolled. tfc 123.2 MHz in the ATF zone of 5NM (9.3 km) radius up to 5800'ASL (1770 m ASL). This airport is private; do not land there without permission nor without radio contact. Operated by Babin Air Ltd open page. Traffic denser than Golden's and includes student pilots, small airplanes, sailplanes. On good days, there may be some sailplane traffic organization on the very light aircraft frequency (123.4 MHz).


Radios are strongly recommended even if you fly only locally. The mountain is big, a crash could go unnoticed and locating a victim could take too long. See details in Emergencies. You should have the appropriate radiotelephone operator certificate (ROC), either aeronautical or radio amateur. The aeronautical ROC is the simplest and most appropriate. Contact Industry Canada at open page for details.
Read the radio communications information circulars RIC-21 (aeronautical) or RIC-2 and RIC-3 (radio amateurs) published on their website. (Tip: do a search with RIC-21 as keyword, the Strategis website is huge!) A direct link is found in the Contacts & links table.

Aircraft radio frequencies (ROC needed)

Aircraft radio frequencies
Very light aircrafts frequency* (includes us): 123.4 MHz
Golden airport ATF, unicom: 122.8 MHz
En route frequency: 126.7 MHz
Invermere airport ATF, tfc: 123.2 MHz
Distress (Mayday): 121.5 MHz
*For Hang gliders, paragliders, sailplanes, ultralights and balloons, in Canada.

Aircraft radios themselves do not require a licence nor registration when operated in the context of flight or soaring, only the operator.

Sailplanes from Invermere may use the Invermere airport ATF frequency 123.2 MHz or the soaring frequency 123.4 MHz in the Invermere ATF zone and are supposed to use 123.4 when flying cross country or on visual contact with us. They may switch to 122.8 MHz in the Golden ATF, near our site. Be aware, they are silent and also hunt for thermals.

Emergencies: do not switch frequency if you are already in contact with someone that can help. However, know that the universal distress frequency is the most monitored on earth. In addition of the terrestrial stations, airliners and some satellites are listening to it.

Amateur radio frequency (ROC needed)

  • Please use: 173.64 MHz - on the VHF band of mobile service. Hence not subjected to the restrictions imposed on amateur band. It is a private commercial band for tracking operations on a shared non-interference basis with Royal Canadian Golf and Ski Patrols. The HPAC obtained permission for us to use this frequency.
  • Or use: 146.46 MHz - in the amateur band. Please be aware that anyone using this frequency will need to have received their official amateur radio authorization, else use of this frequency is illegal, no matter what the use of it is for. If anyone causes interference in any way, Industry Canada will know, and will contact us.

Since 2005, the radio itself does not need a licence anymore.

Should be limited to ground-ground communications. Not recommended in aircrafts communications, but is better than nothing.


  • Family radio service (FRS) and general mobile radio service (GMRS) radios are practical in local flights (short range of FRS) and even in distance flights (longer range of GMRS). These radios do not require any permit. GMRS radios are limited to 5 watts. Make sure you're on the same frequency with a friend.
  • Mobile telephone service is available through some parts of the valley and is improving.
  • There is also a wireless internet system developing in the valley.

Flying mount 7

finally, a break in the clouds

Flying in the Rockies is not flying in the plains. It can be easier and more challenging at the same time. The wind may stir the air in altitude, or cause a venturi in the valleys. Local effects of many kinds may please or scare.

In high mountains like the Rockies, the meteo wind has a tendancy to circulate above the highest peaks. Mountains are obstacles. In summer, when the sun shine, mountains slopes warm and constantly produce thermals. Mountains will hence create an ascending wind continuously with air coming from the valleys. This air circulation up is called anabatic. According to the well known saying of Lavoisier, nothing is lost, nothing is created, all is transformed. The valleys bottoms must fill with air and there is no other place than up to take it, elsewhere. The valleys center, shaded slopes and mountains lee-sides allow this descending circulation. This is called a catabatic wind. Moreover, after sunset, the air circulation reverses, often in less than 15 minutes. Hence, generally, the valley wind will be different from the takeoff wind and the wind in flight. Obviously there is a correlation between meteo wind and local winds but it is not direct. We can imagine how the air will circulate according to conditions and locations but it is not always easy nor obvious. These are the main differences between flying in the mountains compared to flying in the plains.

In addition to the tips and warnings in previous sections, here are, in this section and the next, reminders of some specificities of flying mount Seven, in the Rockies.

  • On most days, the area of the antenna (under the A of the photo of Golden), just northwest of the lookout, generates strong and regular thermals. Less true in south winds.
  • Be extra careful on windy days (15 km/h or less does not count as windy!). Winds aloft and in the valley may be higher and of different directions. Consider postponing or cancelling your flight. Observe the weather conditions. Evaluate the performances of your glider, your experience, your skills and the risks you are willing to assume.
  • On certain very good days, thermals can hit brutally and flip you like a pancake. Keep the speed up and accelerate further when entering the thermals. This should prevent stalling and help maintain control. Paragliders: follow the recommendations of the manufacturer or the advance manoeuvres instructor regarding your wing.
  • Always fly high and far enough above ground to clear it in case of stall, sinking air or nudging by thermals or turbulence. This is very true above rocky terrain and on the lee side of mountains. Paragliders: "Scratch" the mountains at an altitude sufficient to recover from a full collapse and more! A few tree themselves every year. Try to avoid being one of these. Here, in the (relatively) high mountains, thermals do not lick the ground much but the sinks do! And please, fly with a radio if you cherish your life! See next two recommendations.
  • Trees are tall in the west! Think ahead and carry a rope long enough - at least 30 m (100') - to come down a tree yourself. A rescue crew may take a while to arrive even if they are alerted. More about this topic in the Emergencies section.
  • Flying with a radio is advised for many reasons including safety. Please limit your transmissions to useful statements. We recommend the aircraft band radios which have proven reliable over very long distances, let you talk to other aircraft, have emergency frequency, etc.

Please read the pilot's etiquette section.


HPAC third party liability Insurance is required to use the launch sites & the landing zone.
Canadian residents buy it from the HPAC (Hang gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, aka ACVL).
Out of country visitors can buy the temporary coverage (90 days: $40).
You can obtain them directly from the HPAC or, if necessary, contact in here the LZ office or Scott Watwood or Serge Lamarche.

Don't forget to subscribe to the contingency fund as described in Emergencies.

Maintenance funds

Profits from sale of shirts & caps go to the site: insurance, road, LZ... These items are now found at the landing zone's office/store. Donations are gratefully accepted. You can also make a donation via Scott Watwood:, Serge Lamarche: and with Paypal:

Cross country flights

[...] men have never ceased to envy the birds and long for the day when they too might rise above the dust or mud of the highways and fly through the clean air of the heavens. Once above the treetops, the narrow roads no longer arbitrarily fix the course. The earth is spread out before the eye with a richness of color and beauty of pattern never imagined by those who have gazed at the landscape edgewise only. The view of the ordinary traveler is as inadequate as that of an ant crawling over a magnificent rug. The rich brown of freshly-turned earth, the lighter shades of dry ground, the still lighter browns and yellows of ripening crops, the almost innumerable shades of green produced by grasses and forests, together present a sight whose beauty [...]
- Wilbur Wright, 1908.

Cross country photos

Satellite view (Photos source: Canada).
Aeronautical map from Golden to Canal Flats open page.
West cliffs near Pagliaro rd (arrow).
At Tower peak, near Parson.
Mountain range split at Spillimacheen.
Above the front range near Brisco (bottom right).
Edgewater and the problematic fields, in red.
Southeasterly view of the two fields south of Edgewater.
Radium, Invermere, Windermere lake.

Be nice to yourself and pass the HAGAR test from Transport Canada. The study guide should be available from the HPAC. It can only help you understand the aerial traffic and our place in it. Also, once again, fly with a radio, preferably in the aircraft band. Provide help to others. Ask for help if needed, do not let a bad situation deteriorate.

After a cross country flight, register your flight in the BC cross country league. Since 2004, cross country flights done in British Columbia are eligible for money prizes thanks to private donations from pilots managed by the provincial association. It's a good way to encourage cross country flights and see their evolution. Enter and details on this page hosted by the WCSC. open page

Here are more recommendations:

  • For a good start, try to get high above the mount Seven peak to cross the gap to the next mountain, mount Kapristo. This way you will fly above the venturi in the Horse creek gap and the probable sink around mount Kapristo's west cliffs (near Pagliaro rd).
  • Do not allow yourself to drift behind any peak in a thermal unless you are at safe height, say 500' (150 m) or more above it, and the angle (say 45°) will let you glide out easily to the valley. The venturi of the peaks and the sinks of the lee sides are to be avoided. A crash or just a forced landing over there could become a catastrophe for the pilot. Walking out could take more than a day.
  • In general, if you are getting lower than the peaks, think about heading to the valley. Keep an eye to at least one suitable landing area you can be sure to glide to. It is always preferable to land near the highway. Otherwise, you may have to walk for hours.
  • The valley bottom climbs slowly (70 m) from 2590'ASL (790 m ASL) at the Nicholson LZ to 2820'ASL (860 m ASL) at the Invermere airport, 100 km away. The elevation difference of the river is only 50' (15 m) for the same distance.
  • Continually monitor the wind directions as indicated by water areas on the ground, and clouds and thermal drifts in altitude. Usually, the winds switch from west to south down the range near Harrogate. Sudden changes in force and direction are common when fronts are closing in or thunderstorms are present. Check with the cloud type. Some huge thunderstorms located east of Field have sucked the air so strongly in the valley that they turned a north wind into a strong south wind in Nicholson. Also, air masses may spill ahead of the fronts inside the valleys. The spill thereby creates a wave travelling along the valley, sometimes accompanied by gusts of excessive strength. An advice that seems to work if you get caught flying in this, is to head downwind in the hope to land ahead of the "gust front" and have time to secure yourself and fold your wing.
  • Avoid landings on peak tops unless it's a case of emergency or you are well prepared for the adventure (camping gear, repair kit, etc.) and have radio contact with someone you trust. If you are unable to relaunch, walking down could take the night and the helicopter retrieval would cost you.
  • There are plenty of fields on the way to Windermere except between Brisco and Edgewater. This stretch is also more difficult to pass because the mountain range split at Spillimacheen (see photo) into smaller ones, valley side.
  • Be aware that wires cross some fields. Watch for poles on each side. Some may be hidden in the trees. Paragliders may prefer to land on road edges instead of crop fields. Make an approach that leaves options, an alternate field for example...
    Talking electric lines, a field not much used because small for starter now has two electric fences running through. It's the field at Horse Creek. Photo in the May 2007 news. To avoid, Naturally. Horse creek flows between mount 7 and Kapristo into the Columbia river.
  • The owners in general and at Brisco particularly do not like to see us land in grown fields. Try to choose your landing accordingly. For example, if possible, land and fold your wing in fields or spots that are not maintained or grow poorly for some reason. Sometimes, the owner may appreciate you offer to pay for damages, if any ($5-$10). Please do so only if the owner comes to you and there is actual damage (very rare). This is more of a problem in June, before the first harvests. Note: some fields are rented.
    Regarding this, one owner came talk to me about a few pilots, paragliders and hang gliders, that landed in a field of theirs while grown, in the middle of it or in the corn patch even. Their fields have watering pipes and are located about 24 km from takeoff. They're okay with landing after the cuts (two per year) or in the bad corners.
    Coord. WGS84: 51.09075° N; 116.68000° W
    WGS84 for SAR: 51° 05.445' N; 116° 40.800' W
  • Between Spillimacheen and Radium, fly the back range only if you are sure you can glide to the front range in case of headwind and sink. That is something like a 1:1 glide. Once again you are the best judge of the situation. You should know your wing and yourself more than anybody else. Sink of over 5 m/s (1000 ft/min.) is common along the ridge, and landings are practically non-existent between these ridges and rare in the valley in this area. Always keep a safety margin.
  • Take note: the fields not far south of Edgewater are restricted areas: about 86 km from takeoff, both sides of the highway. These owners are easily irate at the sight of people walking in their fields. We are trying to improve the relation. Don't land there. Unfortunately, this is serious (see photo). They span about 0.6 km2 and are approximately located at:
    Coord. NAD 83: UTM 11 U 5613875 m N; 563125 m E
    Coord. WGS84: 50.67607° N; 116.10351° W
    WGS84 for SAR: 50° 40.5642' N; 116° 06.2106' W
  • Take note, landing in the first long field on the west side of the highway immediately north of Edgewater is fine (see photo, marked in blue). The new owner is quite friendly. The field is now equiped with an artificial pond. Always stay nice with people where you land. However, a couple of places are not recommended in Edgewater as they are unfriendly. But they're unlikely to be used because of their location or their bad quality. One is the golf course. The other is just north of the mill on the east side and of angled and rolling terrain.
  • Another field that doesn't cause problem: Harrogate. Walter and Jay even invite to call to spend the evening or the night, 250-346-3054.
  • If you do not have a retrieval team, take note: after sunset the traffic on highways 95 and 93 becomes very sparse, especially on weekdays. Hitchhiking may get so bad you would have to spend the night there. There is a regular bus doing a late route from Cranbrook to Golden. It stops in Radium. The driver may stop for you if you clearly show your intention to be a paying client and there is space to pull the bus on the side of the road without blocking the traffic. The price is around $20 from Radium. Inquire to the bus company for the schedule and the price. It usually passes before sunset in July.
    Note that week days, a new community bus service serves the valley and Golden. These two routes pass by Parson at around 18:00 (6pm). A bit early for good flights though. Cost is $2,50 and have the correct change with you.
  • Repeat: Flying with a radio is advised for many reasons including safety. Please limit your transmissions to useful statements. We recommend the aircraft band radios which have proven reliable over very long distances, let you talk to other aircrafts, have emergency frequency, etc.

Please read the pilot's etiquette section.


First fatal plane accident, sept 1908. Orville Wright recovers, not the passenger.

[...] The sport will not be without some element of danger, but with a good machine this danger need not be excessive [...]
- Wilbur Wright, 1908. — Source photo

Phone 911 and ask for the Golden RCMP (also at 250-344-2221) - it is manned 24 hours a day - they will coordinate all search & rescue (SAR) operations.

Ambulance service: 250-344-6226 but phone 911 in case of emergency.
Helicopter rescues are operated by Alpine Helicopters. By phone: 250-344-7444. On aircraft frequency: 122.8 MHz.


  • You'd think SAR could easily handle coordinates of every formats. Well, apparently not. SAR services and Alpine helicopters use GPS coordinates of the format degrees minutes.decimal minutes such as 50 54.520 being 50° 54.520 minutes. Please set your GPS to this format for rescues, to avoid misunderstandings and save time.
  • To simplify further a rescue, it is good to have your GPS mesure the distance to a precise point, during the flight. Hence, you can say: "I am at 40 km from takeoff", for example.
  • The aircraft radios emergency frequency connects with SAR services
  • CB radio emergency channel 9 (is there someone still using CB?)
  • An EVAC box is located at the Lookout and another one is at the upper launch. Buy a key for $10. All regulars should have one. They contain ropes, bandages, stretcher, spine board... and a mobile phone.
Emergencies photos

Small helicopter at the lookout (PBE).
A rescue crew with rescued HG pilot (KK/RD).
Hospital position in Golden.

  • Golden hospital: 250-344-5271, 835 9th avenue South (photo).
    Directions: take 9th street south westward at the crossing with 10th avenue south (the main road) at the light. Then, take the right at the next street (9th avenue south, notice the police station to your left), the hospital will be to your left.

If necessary, a helicopter can land at the Lookout and at the upper launch. If this happens, remember to shelter the wings, attach them to trees or take off.

Again, seriously consider flying with a radio. Also, nothing can help locate a downed pilot better than a GPS receiver. And carrying a long rope to climb down a tree is also a good idea. Some do fly with a complete rescue kit.
If a pilot is still stuck in a tree and needs outside help, some individuals can make tree rescues .

Our contingency fund

In case of a rescue where the costs (or some costs) are not covered neither by the government, health insurance, travel insurance, nor by any other way (very rare), we have a contingency fund. This fund insures the subscribers that a retrieval by any mean (including helicopter) will be available for them and that they will not go broke because of it. Perhaps most importantly, it means that a helicopter can proceed without any of the delays than can ensue from having to first acquire hard payment before taking off. When possible, a pilot requiring the fund should subsequently replenish it.
All, subscribers included, must contact the RCMP first if they sustain or suspect bodily injury after a crash.
The cost of the subscription is $25. Persons that paid once already are considered covered. You can subscribe at the Nicholson LZ store or by contacting Scott Watwood at or Serge Lamarche at List of subscribers open page.

Events calendar

July - August - September
date? → Muller Windsports cross-country clinic
Instructors are teaching thermalling up to competition strategy.
Organized by Muller Windsports.
Registration (10 max): $?.
July 16/17 to 24 → 14th Willi cross country challenge
PG National forced this date change.
Head quarter at the Muller flight park.
Organized by Serge Lamarche and John McIsaac, helped by Karen Keller and many volunteers.
Registration and info

Latest results and summary
Past results

July 26 to August 1 → PG National
Head quarter at the Muller flight park.
Organized by Bruce Busby.
Info on goflyxc
August 7 → 34th Lakeside event
Actually not in Golden but in Invermere. An annual target landing competition.
Organized by Max Fanderl.
Lakeside web page
Lakeside facebook page
25 September (26 if rain) → 5th Golden Glassoff
Annual costume and target landing competition. Inspired by the coupe Icare and Halloween.
Organized by GEAR management, Amy and Jamie.

Contacts and useful links

Golden flying sites (mt 7) Operations Manager: Scott Watwood
Nicholson landing zone and the new eco-adventure ranch
also named Muller flight park and GEAR.
Their waiver is posted online
Owned by: Columbia View Homes Ltd
John McIsaac and Cathy-Anne David
Box 8093, Canmore, Alberta, T1W 2T8
Tel: 403-678-6733; Fax: 403-678-6761
Now operated by: Amy at the GEAR
Tel: 250-344-6825
Serge, advanced hang glider, paraglider, and webmaster email:
website entrance:
former entrance:
Other website by Garth
Flying Blogs
Veronica Nicole Jason Rob
Learn free flight
The closest free flight courses to Golden is given in Calgary by Muller Windsports overseen by the university of Calgary. Online registration is possible. It is an introductory course.
To fly without an instructor's supervision, you have to obtain the Novice rating from the HPAC. Muller Windsport provides futher intruction to obtain the Novice rating with an intermediate course. In addition, they provide a mountain flight course in Golden to address mountain air difficulties and finalize the Novice rating for some.
If you live in another area, refer to the HPAC. For a complete list of instructors in Canada, please consult the website of the HPAC (link below).
Introductory free flight courses at the U of C
HPAC / ACVL (canadian association, bilingual)
This site is an excellent source of information. It displays updated lists of sites, schools, instructors, and members. You can get the registration & insurance forms, keep informed about rules, read some news, keep posted on the events to come, and more.
BCHPA (British Columbian association)
MHGA (Manitoban & Nunavut association)
SOGA (southwestern Ontario association, aerotowing)
AQVL (Québécoise association, french)
HPAAC (Atlantic Canada association)
Cross-country flights
Flights and tracklogs registered at the HPAC (still not functional) Leonardo
British Columbia cross country league page
hosted on the WCSC website
Rules and infos
Current standings
Environment Canada
and direct link to the forecast for Golden
Aeronautical Nav Canada online weather information
NOAA weather satellite view (USA)
Weather codes in use by Nav Canada Simple list and Study guide
Official list of canadian aeronautical abbreviations
Canada-wide english FIC* number 866-wxBrief
Kamloops FIC 866-541-4101
Aeronautical VFR navigation charts (VNC) and more At Nav Canada
Transport Canada - Civil aviation
Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM)
The AIM is now available online:
Direct link to AIM:
Transport Canada - Civil aviation
Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs)
The Canadian Aviation Regulations page.
Part VI - General Operating and Flight Rules
Subpart 2 - Operating and Flight Rules
Item 602.29 regards directly hang gliding & paragliding
Industry Canada
Study guide for the aeronautical radiotelephone certificate
* Nav Canada did create a centralized network of Flight Information Centres (FIC) and Pilot Information Kiosks (PIK). Some are operational since 2003. The flight service stations (FSS) will be reassigned to local (airport) services. See for details.


To keep at our happiest some rules should be followed:

  • Know the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and hang gliding & paragliding flying rules. Examples: Highest priority to the pilot at the lower altitude. Priority goes to the pilot in the slower aircraft. Priority goes to the pilot that has the side of the mountain on its right. Avoid an imminent collision by making a right turn. Use your judgement in any manner that increases the safety including breaking the rules if necessary.
  • Match your turn direction to the one(s) already in the thermal or the one(s) out climbing you.
  • Land in fields of cut crop or pasture. And if you do not cause any damage and no one comes to you, there is no point to try to contact the owner.
  • Do not land in grown crop fields. If you do have to, offer to pay for crop damage, if any (say $5 - $10). Stay calm, polite, and be understanding of their position if they are upset or irate. Remember, a landing is not an act of trespass if all you do after the landing is pick up your equipment and leave the field. Be open, listen, explain, we like their fields, we need them for landing, we want them on our side as much as possible.
    You can limit or avoid damages by touching down where the crop does not grow well. For example, near the entrance, where the machinery compact the soil.
  • Do not step on fence wires, it pulls out the staples hence annoying the farmers. Pass under or through them.
  • Do not drive into any field. Stay on the roads.
  • Close any gate that you used as it was.
  • Pick up your own garbage.
  • Offer rides and help those in need. Exchange rides to reduce the number of vehicles. On the other side, it is the custom to offer $10 for a ride (gas, wear & tear) but this should be a gift as the ride is. Flying is difficult, have some inherent risks, so we recommend to maintain a mutual helpful attitude.

Brief recapitulation. To fly mount 7:

What Is Mandatory

  • Regular (canadian residents) or temporary (out of country residents) HPAC membership.
  • Sign the waiver of the landing zone's owners.
  • Do I have to mention complete and properly maintained flying gear?

Highly Recommended

  • water
  • two-way radio
  • GPS / map
  • first aid kit
  • long rope
  • subscription to contingency fund


  • mobile phone
  • camera
  • food
  • key of rescue/first aid box
  • donation/purchase for the maintenance fund

Finally, free flying can be anything from dangerous, just frustrating, to exhilarating. I found the best fun/pain ratio at mount Seven so far...
- Serge.
P.S. I leave you with another citation.

Wright glider with double rudder, 1902

[...] Considered as a sport, flying possesses attractions which will appeal to many persons with a force beyond that exercised by any of the similar sports, such as boating, cycling, or automobiling. There is a sense of exhilaration in flying through the free air, an intensity of enjoyment, which possibly may be due to the satisfaction of an inborn longing transmitted to us from the days when our early ancestors gazed wonderingly at the free flight of birds and contrasted it with their own slow and toilsome progress through the unbroken wilderness. [...]
- Wilbur Wright, 1908 February 29.

The Wright brothers in briefPhoto source

This web page was formerly designed by Max Fanderl. His site is at
It is, since 2000, overhauled and augmented by SL (Serge) with contributions from PBE (Peter) and the HPAC.
Photos SL except some by David Koehn, Nicole McLearn, Stewart Midwinter, PBE (Peter Bowle-Evans),
LB (Louise Bouchard), JC (Jeff Cristol), and KK/RD (Karen Keller or Ron Dougherty).
Please email comments to with subject: mt 7
or use the feedback form (link bottom left of the page).
Visit also the entrance of my personal internet site. Thanks : )

You can make a donation for the maintenance of this website:
Donors: Sotir.

 Any comments? 

Valid HTML valide!

 Site map