Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

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Martin
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Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby Martin » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:53 am

For the Hang Glider pilots that are out there lamenting the past, Stewart Midwinter has launched a Canadian Hang Gliding and Paragliding history blog:

https://canadian-hgpghistory.blogspot.com/

Dig out the old photos and send him some short stories from those foggy old'n days!

Cheers

Martin

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soaringman
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Re: Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby soaringman » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:46 pm

Good stuff. Tod Mt lol

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Tyler G
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Re: Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby Tyler G » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:12 pm

Martin wrote:
Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:53 am
For the Hang Glider pilots that are out there lamenting the past, Stewart Midwinter has launched a Canadian Hang Gliding and Paragliding history blog:

https://canadian-hgpghistory.blogspot.com/

Dig out the old photos and send him some short stories from those foggy old'n days!

Cheers

Martin

Also send them to me too, please. I started a similar initiative that includes both HG and PG locally out here on the coast.

Claudia
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Re: Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby Claudia » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:01 pm

Extensive summary of PNW paragliding history by Lowell Skoog. Although focused on Washington you will find a few familiar names. http://www.alpenglow.org/paragliding/hi ... ology.html

Article in Northwest Mountaineering Journal on early paragliding in the PNW
http://www.alpenglow.org/nwmj/07/071_Paragliding1.html

mt7wildcard
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Re: Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby mt7wildcard » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:31 am

History of Mt. 7
The Mt. 7 lookout was built in the 50's for forest fire observation by the BC Forest Service. The old road (jeep road) to the Lookout was steep and narrow. Over the years the road was modestly improved for logging trucks and equipment a few kilometers at a time. This made parts of the road less steep and somewhat easier to negotiate. Despite these adjustments, the main road access to The Lookout, taken as a whole, remained a challenging 4X4 or heavy vehicle-only forestry track. The first significant improvement to the road occurred in mid-1990 with plans to reroute and re-engineer the road to serve as a forestry trunk road to connect to various higher level branch roads. The plan and intent at the time was to access and harvest desirable stands of timber at various locations on the north shoulder of Mount 7.

In 1990, Willi Muller taught Golden resident, Peter Bowle-Evans, how to hang glide and advised him on solidifying Mt.7 as a significant, foot-launched flying site. An enthusiastic Peter embraced this concept fully and proceeded to secure the Lookout site by obtaining a government issued Special Use Permit. As partly documented below, Peter then proceeded to initiate major improvements to the site and was at the forefront of developing flyer-friendly relationships with authorities in town and with land owners at the landing zone as well as land owners down range. Peter was among the first to envision the potential for Golden to become a broad-based "adventure tourism" destination with attendant financial spinoffs for the community.

By the mid-1990's, Peter Bowle-Evans, a very community-engaged and enthusiastic hang glider pilot had, for about 5 years, been the de-facto Mt. 7 flying site development leader and main Forestry liaison person. Through his job with an engineering firm in Golden he was in constant contact and working with local Forestry officials on a weekly if not daily basis. Peter, was instrumental in making sure that the interests of the Mt.7 flying community were brought to the forefront of the planning & construction of the "new" Mt.7 Lookout access road. As the 90's drew to a close, the last logging cut-block was laid out and the new road ended at 11.7 kms. At the time, Peter Bowle Evans, negotiated to extend the new road all the way to The Lookout site. In fact, the final 3 kilometers of the road were only completed because Peter cajoled Forestry officials ceaselessly and brought to bear a significant financial contribution from the Mt.7 Flying Site Fund. At the same time Peter coordinated and contributed Flying site funds for the use of heavy construction equipment to grade and improve both the south and north side launches at The Lookout.(the south side was formerly a rocky cliff backed by a steep rough slope) All of this was completed by the end of 2000.

Later Peter worked with Forestry to approve and acquire the components for the top outhouse. To get this facility built, Peter recruited a construction party made up of volunteers - four pilots and 1 local mountain bike enthusiast. The materials were trucked to the top by local businessman & paraglider pilot, Flec Demmon, who owned Golden Truss Products and a crane truck. Since the road completion in 2000 and other subsequent improvements, there has been a huge increase in the number of visitors to The Lookout (visitors of all types - wedding parties to tourist sightseers in addition to pilots and mountain bikers.) Beyond the new road construction it should be noted that Peter Bowle-Evans continued to lead development of the Lookout for many years until his untimely death in an avalanche. In recognition of his nearly 20 year involvement and contribution to the Mt.7 Lookout as an important attraction/asset for the town, the road now carries his name - The Bowle-Evans FSR.

The first hang glider pilot, Alan Kane, launched from Mt.7 in 1974. George Wells, a fondly remembered Mt. 7 shuttle driver who lived most of his life across the road from the LZ, recalled that day when his came kids running into the house screaming that "someone was flying without an engine". As hang gliding became more popular, the pioneers of that sport noticed the potential of the Lookout site and started to clear a few trees in the mid 80's. The clearing was undertaken to make launching hang gliders safer. Two launch ramps were also constructed for the same safety reasons. The site subsequently began to develop a higher profile as a premiere mountain launch site, particularly for those pilots who wanted to pursue the nascent practice of flying cross-county. The recognition of the foot-launched flight potential of Mt.7 was partly due to the interest in the site by Willi Muller. Willi operated a Hang Gliding and, later, a Paragliding School on his property at the Cochrane Hill in Alberta. As a hang gliding pioneer, Willi Muller was often referred to as "The Father of Hang Gliding in Canada". His promotion of Mt.7 through his business activities had a lot to do with the international "discovery" of Mt.7 as a world-class Hang Gliding and Paragliding destination.

The first paraglider launch from The Lookout was made by Chris Muller in 1989. The only available moderately safe space for launching was straight off the west facing ramp. At the time paragliding was a new sport from Europe that was just starting to reach Canada. The first cross-country paraglider flight launching from the Lookout was made July 21st 1990 by Sean Dougherty. On July 7th 1991, Sean flew with Willi & Chris Muller down the range. All three achieving 100k flights. Chris and Sean were awarded a world record for their flights to a declared goal. Regrettably Willi didn't declare or take a barograph so he could not apply for the record. Word of Golden's Mt.7 as a fantastic XC site began to spread internationally in concert with an explosive growth through the 90's of paragliding as a new form of aviation. At the time the upper launch was heavily used by paragliders pending the development of the Lookout into a more paraglider friendly launch.

The growth of paragliding and influx of paraglider pilots to Mt7 though the 90's was phenomenal. Word of Mt.7 in Golden, Canada has spread far and wide as a place where personal best distances can be achieved because of the excellent thermal conditions at launch and down-valley. Every year pilots arrived in Golden from far away points in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan, New Zealand and the US. World Champions have visited and flown here including former World Champion, Robbie Whittal and Swiss Champion & current equipment manufacturer Urs Harri. Over the years Mt. 7 has hosted numerous National Championships and Western Canadian Championships in Hang gliding and paragliding. Many "first flight" XC routes originated from Mt.7 including first ever paragliding flight over the Rockies to Canmore, Alberta. It is world renowned as one of the top sites in the world. There have been 8 world records set here. The first world record was set in 1986 by Randy Haney. He flew 321 kms on a hang glider. Although the nationals are not being held here every year there is an annual fly-in/competition, the Willi Muller memorial event, that will see 120 competitors and their entourages arrive in town to spend 10 days of intensive distance flying. In addition, as soon as the site opens, usually the 1st week of June, there is a steady influx of visiting pilots on weekends throughout the summer and well into the fall. July 15 to August 15 is peak XC season and even weekdays can be busy with vacationing pilots and tourists seeking tandem rides.

In the late 90's a local mountain biking race was run. Mt. 7 psychosis started out with a few racers and $100 prize money. It grew into a huge, world famous Redbull event with over 200 riders and $15,000 prize in the tenth and final year. There was also a world record for vertical meters biked in 24 hours set there.

The Mount 7 site has developed into a true & vital community asset that has contributed to Golden's attempts to diversify and grow it's local economy.

Submitted by Scott Watwood,
adapted from ramblings of Peter Bowle-Evans and documentation from Garth Henderson.


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Tyler G
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Re: Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby Tyler G » Thu May 30, 2019 4:35 pm

Claudia wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:01 pm
Extensive summary of PNW paragliding history by Lowell Skoog. Although focused on Washington you will find a few familiar names. http://www.alpenglow.org/paragliding/hi ... ology.html

Article in Northwest Mountaineering Journal on early paragliding in the PNW
http://www.alpenglow.org/nwmj/07/071_Paragliding1.html
I haven't come on the forum in awhile in an effort to improve my mental health. :)

Thank you so much for putting me on to this. This is fantastic!!! Thanks, Claudia!

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Tyler G
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Re: Old School.....The Canadian-hgpghistory blog....

Postby Tyler G » Thu May 30, 2019 4:36 pm

mt7wildcard wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:31 am
History of Mt. 7
The Mt. 7 lookout was built in the 50's for forest fire observation by the BC Forest Service...
Great stuff here Scott! Thank you for this.


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