PEÑON- VALLE (via the Wall)

Flight Tips

This route to Valle is recommended for pilots with a little more experience. The locations of the thermals around the Peñon, the Wall and G-spot are variable and the transitions are somewhat longer and with fewer landings.

The landmarks for this flight are: G-spot, Espinazo, Maguey, and Cerro Gordo, as shown on the annotated map.

After climbing in the house thermal near takeoff you fly towards the Peñon. If you leave with less than 300m over the takeoff you may arrive low at the Peñon. Usually you can soar the cliffs, but it can be turbulent and unpleasant. For that reason I recommend you glide to the Peñon with as much height as possible. If you leave with 500m over the takeoff you will arrive at the top of the Peñon or at least at the upper part of the rock (depending on the intensity of wind). 

At the Peñon you can find several thermals. The first one usually drifts a lot toward the venturi between the Peñon and the Takeoff; you should be careful. The second usually comes up the left in the South side of the cliffs. You must be careful because it is turbulent and is stuck to the rock. There are also often thermals out in front (to the S) of the Peñon that are smoother and wider, while climbing as fast (on average) as the bullets near the cliffs. Taking this more southerly line also avoids the venturi on the E side of the Peñon.

There are pilots who do not like to turn near the rock and prefer to follow the fingers that come down from the Wall or jump low to the Wall. There are thermals there but it’s a long glide to a landing if you don’t get one. If you reach the height of the Wall you can ridge soar it and catch thermals once the ridge lift is exhausted. As with the front of the Peñon, it can be turbulent. The thermals here often drift quickly back over the Mesa unless they are very strong. If you lose a climb over the Mesa it can be hard to get back due to the inflow to the Mesa if it is strong.

To get to the G-spot mesa I recommend climbing as much as possible. Arriving low at the G-spot mesa may involve severe turbulence as the mesa gives off many thermals and there are converging winds from all sides. The ideal is to arrive high enough where the thermals and winds are converging. If the day is very good and you climb enough at the Wall you do not need to go to the G-spot, but that is usually where the thermals rise highest, so it is normal to use them for the next transition.

From this point there are three paths to follow, you can go to Sacamecate or San Agustín and take the simple route that I explained before, this transition makes you fly on the Mesa and if you are not very high you must get a climb before Sacamecate or San Agustín. If you do not get up you will end up landing on the Mesa and you will have to walk unless you get someone from the town to give you a ride (which sometimes happens).

The next route is to go directly to Cerro Gordo. To make this transition you must have at least 1200m over the takeoff, since there are no climbs between the G-Spot and Cerro Gordo. Cerro Gordo does not usually have a rotor although I recommend you do not go to the right (E) side (if you come from the Wall or the G-spot) unless you are higher than Cerro Gordo, since it generally does not work well low on that side. Cerro Gordo sometimes works on one side and sometimes on the other. If you manage to climb a little above Cerro Gordo your arrival in Valle is assured, if you do not find anything at Cerro Gordo you can try to look over the village, there may be a thermal at the end of the fields towards Valle where the pine trees start but it is elusive. From there they are also taxis that can take you to Valle.

The third route from the G-spot if you do not manage to climb as much is to fly towards Maguey. 700m above takeoff is a good height to get to find thermal in the skirts of the Maguey. To make the crossing easier, you can climb toward or at Espinazo to get more upwind before crossing the valley.

The Maguey is a difficult point and generally somewhat turbulent due to being in a venturi. The hill extends from the Mesa down some fingers and some bowls to the southwest, where it usually works if you arrive lower than the hill. I do not recommend you scratch at the base of the hill because the wind is usually accelerated and you can end up landing there and have to walk a long way.

If you are lower than the Mesa the best option is the rock walls but you have to be careful to keep landing fields within reach as they are far from there near San Pedro. If you manage to climb on the rocky walls enough you can try to climb at Maguey, where the thermals vary a lot depending on the day’s wind. If you have more than 700m (over takeoff) at Maguey, you can jump to Cerro Gordo. With less height it’s tricky because between Maguey and Cerro Gordo there are no landings and there are usually no thermals. See above for the Cerro Gordo to Valle segment.


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El Peñon-Valle (Por Las Paredes) / El Peñon-Valle (The Wall Route)