We're now in the Pinzgau Valley in Austia, the paragliding superhighway from the Dachstein Glacier (turnpoint two) to the Gerlos Pass on the way to the Zugspitze (turnpoint four). It's perfect X-Alps territory: from the open and perfectly manicured valley floor at 800m, well-marked trails through dense forest take you to the grassy open summits at 2000m. The launch and landing possibilities are limitless.
Jon and I hiked from Bramberg am Wildkogel to the Wildkogelhaus at 2005m: turnpoint three. The Wildkogelhaus is a huge hotel/refuge prominently perched overlooking the entire valley. In the winter it is bustling with skiers, and the summer packed full of tourists who've caught the cable car from the valley floor. At least I imagine it is. On a cold Monday in early May the place is shut up and deserted. Thick cloud cover, snowfall above 1800m, and fresh snow on the ground from last night's weather front meant that we were alone on the mountain.
We launched two steps in front of the refuge into messy air, more wind and turbulence than anything else. It was still snowing, and the north west wind was occasionally breaking through, making the fly down interesting at times. As we circled over our chosen landing spot, Richard arrived with the van and greeted us with hot cups of English tea and luxury chocolate chip biscuits.