July/August, November/December, September/October, South America, Travel Guide

Guide to Traslasierra, Argentina

Tuesday 18 February, 2014
Flying near Villa de Merlo, about halfway down the 200km long cordillera. Photo: Felix Wölk

Flying near Villa de Merlo, about halfway down the 200km long cordillera. Photo: Felix Wölk

Classic mountain XC when it’s winter in the north


The name Traslasierra means “across, or beyond, the mountains.” West of the Sierra Grande and far less developed than neighbouring valleys, the Traslasierra valley is 150km west of the state capital, Cordoba. It’s known as the “magical valley”, and is one of the best XC locations in Argentina. Fly the 200km long cordillera wingtip to wingtip with a condor, if you’re lucky.

Cordoba is the region in Argentina between the flat pampas of the east and the high Andes of the west. The 200km cordillera here faces west and runs north to south, making for good XC conditions for much of the year.

There are several places to base yourself in the region, but Mina Clavero in the north of the cordillera gives access to Traslasierra as well as Nina Paula, another launch nearby. To get to take-off you need to take a collectivo out of town and head up the mountain road (Route 20). Jump out after the biggest switchback of them all, and then walk for about 1km or 15-20 minutes.

Hook up with local pilots if you can for your first visit.

One of the best flyable places in the country, with thermals and XC possible almost every day in season. Winter sees mild conditions, but still flyable a claimed 90% of the time. Post-frontal days in winter are reportedly classic.

August to December is the best time to go for flying XC, with cloudbase that often exceeds 4,000m. Strong conditions in the middle of the day mean it’s not suitable for students during peak times.

Once up, fly north or south. In January 2012 Swiss pilot Michael Kobler flew south from here for 195km in a six-hour flight with 7m/s climbs. He flew the length of the cordillera and landed in the flatlands north east of Villa Mercedes.

The route is within glide of the highway that runs along the cordillera for most of the way, so retrieve need not be epic. Good bus connections between the towns make things easier.

The best months are from August to December, but January and February are very good too. And excellent days can sometimes be found in the southern winter.

Launch: 1,550m
Landing: 1,200 m
Cloudbase: 3,000m, but 4,000m on classic days

It’s a 1km walk, but the site access is being developed, so things could get easier.

The cordillera offers very pleasant mountain flying, but triangles and tours of the valley are also possible. Fly with condors if you’re lucky.

From December to February the clouds can build, and cu-nims and storms are possible.

Lots in the valley. Check out www.minaclavero.gov.ar.

No local schools.

This is where Argentina brings its family to relax. From wine tours to horse riding to kayaking to gorge walking, it’s all here. You might never leave.

Locals say the Traslasierra Valley has its own microclimate which is what makes it so special. Low pollution and high ozone levels make the air sing like champagne. They claim 320 sunny days a year, with an average annual temperature of 15C. Rainy season is December to March, but it’s still flyable.

Fly to Buenos Aires and take a bus or internal flight to Cordoba city. From there buses reach all parts of the state, including Mina Clavero. Roads are good ,and buses range from ultimate luxury to standard issue. There is also a train from BA to Cordoba.


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