Col Agnel hit the radar in 2016 when Honorin Hamard flew record 306.6km and 329.6km FAI triangles from it in July. Some French pilots had in fact flown good triangles from there in 2015, including Guillaume Chatain’s 289km.
The 2,744m col is on the border of France and Italy, west of Monte Viso. As a launchpad for record triangles, it ticks all the boxes: top-driveable, big easterly morning faces, high altitude west-north-west slopes for end-of-day thermals and stunning mountain terrain.
There is no official landing – it’s just an XC take-off. Flying in the Ecrins national park is restricted to protect nesting birds, but permitted after 1 July each year. XCs from here are technical, starting with a 20km crossing in the Queyras, and little height between the 2,500m plateau and cloudbase to find those weaker, morning thermals. The Dormillouse sites offer a taste of the playground without the risk.
Photo: Antoine Girard
Originally appeared in the 2017 Travel Guide, in a section entitled ‘Going Big in the Alps’. Read other entries from the same section here
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