The 2013 edition of the 864km Red Bull X-Alps paragliding hike and fly race will see new equipment regulations and longer rest periods each night.
The race crosses the Alps from West to East and took the winner Chrigel Maurer twelve days to complete in 2011 (although he did give himself a day off on his birthday – he was so far ahead that he could afford to do so, and still win!).
2011 was the first year a nightly rest period was introduced as a safety measure, to prevent overly tired pilots from flying in dangerous conditions. It was seen as a very positive step, and for the 2013 race its duration is to be increased to six-and-a-half hours each night, so athletes will not be allowed to move between the hours of 22:30 and 05:00.
In addition, prototype paragliding equipment will no longer be allowed, and all pilots will need to have a climbing harness and via ferrata equipment for use on the technical sections. There were some hairy ascents and descents in very poor weather in 2011, notably on the Dachstein, with pilots needing to use mountain guides in some cases to assure their safety.
The application process for the 2013 race has not yet begun. In case you’ve forgotten just how hard this race is, here are the pilot-cam highlights from 2011:
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