Traveler briefing for Mount 7 and Golden
aimed to hang gliding and paragliding pilots in particular
May to October
was upgraded to 2wd in 2000. More about it on the main page.
Conditions (in very general)
Of course, conditions will depend on the weather. It varies significantly from year to year. However, general patterns are recurring. Late autumn and winter are very cloudy. Spring, when the valleys are dry and the mountains still frozen, is often sunny. When the peaks are melting, strong thermals mix with strong sink for very challenging conditions, dangerous at times, for paragliders especially. Rain is common then. Middle and late summer is drier and sometimes, sunny weather locks in place for weeks. The temperature depends on the amount of sun and varies by 10°C to 20°C between night and day. Thermals become milder and more predictable then, although quite strong. Later in the year, the daily thermal period shortens rapidly and the lift strength weakens.
April starts nicely. Harder to climb high and go cross-country.
This is a thermal site, an afternoon site, and a cross-country site. 1000 fpm (5 m/s) is quite normal, up to 2500 fpm (13 m/s) is perfectly common. PGs do get all sorts of collapses at these times. Evenings can be very smooth, and glass-offs are common some years.
Cross country flights - to the south most common. 100 km flights relatively common. Good LZs, though there are some restrictions and rules. See cross-country section of the main page and locals can fill you in if there are recent changes. Return is straightforward as there is only one highway; very basic hitchhiking if you do not have retrieval arranged (the bus comes from Radium after 8:30 pm). To the north is more challenging and less distance to travel.
Days are long at the end of June - daylight 5:00 am to about 11:00 pm. August closes in fast. 7:00 am to 8:00 pm by last week of August. If you are over mount Seven at say 9500 ft (3000 m) ASL in glass-off at 8:00 pm August 23, it will be DARK by the time you have struggled down to the valley bottom at 2600 ft (800 m) ASL to land.
Willi Muller cross-country challenge (HG and PG)
Western Canadian Hang Gliding Championship
A list of all meets is posted on the HPAC website at www.hpac.ca
Mid-July to mid-August is the peak time, especially the last week of July to first week of August. There are lots of pilots here, flying at all times of the day, rides up to launch are quite easy to arrange, advice for new visitors is plentiful.
General hang outs & meeting places
The municipal camground ~ The Nicholson LZ ~ The parking/picnic area between Reflection Lake and the gravel pit.
Important small print
To fly the site you must be have pilot insurance.
We have an emergency fund known as the Contingency Fund. It is principally setup to cover helicopter rescue costs. You can join in for $25 in 2009. Rescue charges in BC have been from $2000 to $5000.
If necessary, membership & Contingency Fund can be arranged by:
Nice small print
It costs money to run and maintain the site. We sell T-shirts and the like, the profits going to the site. These are now found at the landing zone's office/store.
Places to stay, three categories:
The municipal campground
Sander Lake Campground
Eco-Adventure Ranch camping sites
Kicking Horse River Lodge on 9th st n. by the river.
Kicking Horse Hostel on Station Avenue
Applewood Farm Hostel, 991 Highway 95 South
Range is from 4-Star hotels - the Prestige Inn and Best Western Hotel, to some very motelly sort of motels and some very pleasant and more personal bed and breakfast places.
Columbia Valley Lodge
Country Comfort Bed & Breakfast
McLaren Lodge Bed & Breakfast
Alpine Meadows Lodge
These people seems to like their work and outdo themselves in the kitchen. Try them and tell us how good they are.
There are dozens, lets just mention three in the central area of town. They have the convenience of being easy walking distance of everything that you need. The others are mostly along the TransCanada highway.
Rondo Motel www.rondomotel.ca
Golden is a town of about 3500 persons, with another 3500 living in the surrounding rural area that relate to Golden. All kinds of outdoor activities abound: climbing, hiking, mountain biking, motocross, white water rafting and kayaking, hunting in seasons, fishing, archery range, shooting range, canoeing, bird watching, and all kinds of skiing and snowmobile rides in winter. Not forgetting hang gliding and paragliding! There are lakes and sloughs to go swimming in or just relax at. If you have not seen mountains before, you are going to see them here.
Facilities, services & activities
Notes on Hospital
This is a small one with not too many resources, although there are some excellent doctors, who, as we are on the Trans-Canada highway, are well practiced at ghastly emergencies. With anything serious, the patient is transferred to Foothills Hospital in Calgary - by road, helicopter, or plane, as needed. They have the best of everything there.
Calgary, Alberta, 3 hours east on highway 1. International airport.
Trans-Canada highway (highway 1) west-east and highway 95 south to Cranbrook, and across the border to the US at Kingsgate
See you in the air!
Former text by the late Peter Bowle-Evans , January 2000