Thomas Friedrich reports his first Eigertour Race
The Eigertour 2020 is over. I ended up in 3rd place together with Hannes Kämpf but I think the most important thing is I had four incredible days in this impressive scenery around Grindelwald, I learned a lot and met so many new people and friends. The first day started quite good: I reached the first takeoff quite early and could thermal-up and fly together with Chrigel to the first hut, the Faulhornhütte. We took off again and headed straight away to Schilthornhütte, where I could also land and take off again shortly after Chrigel, Hanes, and Sepp, which teamed up and led the race. At the next turn point, Niesen, the thermals weren’t that good because of a quite much shadow. I had to land in and walk up again. I pushed up a bit and caught Stanislav Mayr and Stevie on the way up, who landed a bit higher. In the evening the thermals got better again and we were able to make some distance in direction Wildstrubelhütte. We were lucky that the route we had chosen worked out better than the one Chrigel, Sepp and Hanes chose before. I reached Wildstrubelhütte in 3rd position and spent the night there with around 9 more pilots which reached the hut that day until 8:30 p.m.
The forecast for the next day looked quite well. We started at 6 a.m., hiked up some more meters, and glided together in direction of the next turn point. We made some good distance in hike & fly style, walking up some meters, gliding down, walking and so on. Chrigel, Sepp, and I could separate a bit from the rest of the group and we reached the next hut together. We took off and could thermal-up together, I decided then to keep to the right and made a bit of a mistake and flew in direction of a wrong hut. I realized my mistake quite fast but Chrigel and Sepp were already gone. I reached the next hut together with some other pilots, which, in the meantime, had overpassed me. Conditions got better and better and we could reach four more huts just by landing there and taking off again in these really beautiful and high mountains there. In the evening thermals got weaker and I had to land and do the last meters up to Eigergletscher Station on the ground. I took off again and soared up to Glecksteinhütte where I spend the next night. I again reached the hut in 3rd position that day but again the same day some more people could reach the hut until 8:30 p.m.
The forecast for the 3rd day looked quite good in the beginning but at around 2 p.m. some thunderstorms and rain were forecasted. We hiked up a bit in the morning and took off 400 vertical meters over the hut in a stone ridge. It was a pretty tricky takeoff: Stevie, Hanes and I took off up there and could pass the airspace of Meiringen just before 7 a.m., as it was still inactive. We glided over Innertkirchen and from that moment on we had 15km and 1.500-meter ascent up to Bächlitalhütte. I walked a bit faster than the other two guys and reached the hut 2:40h later and took off there. After two hours flying in really difficult conditions, I had to destroy like 1.000 vertical meters of hight because I wasn't high enough to pass the ridge and could not fly around the airspace of Meiringen. I landed 13 meters before the beginning of the airspace and started to hike again. I had to push again on the ground to reach the takeoff before it started to rain again. And again this day right place right time. I took off again and could soar up quite high and glided in direction Männlichenhütte. Again 1.000 meters of hiking up but after that, I had a nice big portion of pasta and afterward another glide back down to Grindelwald with Hanes who reached Männlichenhütte as I had finished my dinner. We landed in Grindelwald just before the rain came again and had just a bit over an hour from then on until 8:30 p.m. when we had to stop. We decided to go again and hiked up the last 700 meters ascent to Berghaus Bäregg, which we reached just before the required night break.
The forecast for the 4th and last day was really bad: rain until 8:30 a.m. at least. We started at 6 a.m. again, ran down the 700 meters to Grindelwald in the pouring rain and hiked up the last 1.300 meters to Kleine Scheidegg, where Hannes and I finished the race together in 3rd position at 8:40 a.m.
Summing up, I hiked more than 10.000 vertical meters and 90km in these 4 days and had so many beautiful hours in partly challenging conditions and I don't know how many times packing and unpacking my glider.