Welcome to the second article in the series of Paragliding Cape Town Classic XC Routes.
This time we head to Porterville, one of my favorite places to paraglide in the Western Cape region.
The best weather forecast would be a post-frontal South Westerly going South.
We will be taking off from the Dasklip take off site. I would immediately hit a right hand turn and work my way up “rescue ridge”
I would not even bother to take the thermals to the top as I find that it is a complete waste of time. Once you are about 100 meters above take off then run down the ridge. I have explained the theory behind this in one of my previous articles on how to fly Porterville faster, go check this out.
The image above displays the first 30-40km ridge run down to Piekenierskloof pass, again no need to climb just run!
My first stop to take the thermal to the top would at the farm house at the bottom of the Piekenierskloof pass. Many people would argue that it would be wiser to take the house thermal at Bumpy peak, I tend to disagree as the back valley only starts working later and by running down the ridge you are giving the back valley some time to heat up and start working.
If the farmhouse thermal is good I would take this one to the top and head for Citrusdal, please remember that you need at least 500 meters above the mountain to go over the back.
The image above displays the locations of the house thermals around the pass area, generally speaking all of them should get you high enough to go over the back.
If nothing is working, just hang around. Sometimes the thermals only release every 20-30 min. Use the wind component and ridge soar until you find the strong thermal. Your patience will be rewarded.
Once you are high enough you can go straight over the back towards Citrusdal.
You will see a small ridge right behind Citrusdal with a tower on it. Aim straight for this tower. This is where you will find your next thermal.
Now it is decision time again, you can either push forward towards the river on the left, go straight down the middle of the valley in the flats or head for the big mountains on the right. The safest bet is straight down the middle of the valley. The wind can often be very strong on the big mountains on the right and if the seabreeze (which is another topic for discussion) comes through you will find yourself in a nasty situation. Please check the strength of the wind regularly before going into areas where you can be pinned.
The next step is to get up at Constriction. The end of the valley often works really well, if the wind is more southerly both sides will work really well. The house thermal is located just North of the Constriction landing field. If it is a good day and you can climb to 2000 meters you can easily glide to Clanwilliam from here.
If you do not get very high at the Constriction, dont worry! There are plenty of thermal markers along the way. The best line is often all along the riverbed.
Now all that is left for you to do is to glide into goal. There are plenty landing areas around the dam, but to avoid long walkouts try to land as close to Town as possible. The rugby goal field is probably your best option.