Cross-Country to Saucos and Monarcas
Here is another cross-country “classic” to complete your paragliding trip in Mexico, and more precisely in Valle de Bravo, the Mecca of free flight in Mexico.
It is a question of leaving towards the North-West in direction of the village of Saucos, and possibly until the Sanctuary of the Monarch butterflies (Santuario de los Mariposas Monarcas). This theft cannot be done every day, and not by everyone. Have you ever flown 4000 meters?
- Already to get there, you need the ceiling, because the relief gradually rises, we are heading in the direction of the volcano Nevado de Toluca, which rises to 4680 meters. Given its altitude, the volcano is often caught in the clouds, so if you see it during your stay, consider yourself privileged.
- Then, if it is feasible to go as far as Saucos, to venture beyond it is often to cross a line of no return. The conditions are becoming strong and turbulent. The return is made in a strong breeze, and even if we are at nearly 4000 meters above sea level, the relief is also very high. In short, going to Saucos and attempting the return is already a great feat.
To achieve this exceptional flight, it will therefore be necessary to benefit from a ceiling, and a beautiful confluence.
Refer to the cross-country routes for the start of the flight explained on the previous pages:
We head towards the Mesa, or even the Divisadero, to add a few tens of kilometers and a few hours of flight to allow the confluence to take place. Then direction Saucos. In the confluence, which we usually catch towards Cerro Gordo, we can fly very quickly. It will undoubtedly be necessary to use the accelerator, even the ears not to end up in the cloud. That doesn't mean it's easy, because if it goes up hard on one side, it goes down just as much a few hundred meters away… you also need a little luck and patience to find the right wagon.
It will often be necessary to change gear (slow down or accelerate), depending on the conditions, especially as the terrain rises.
Arrived towards San Agustín or Sacamecate, you have two options, either try to hang up the ridge to the north, which should lead you to Saucos, or go through the ridge to the east of the Peñitas landing. In both cases, there are high-voltage lines that you should avoid approaching. Likewise, clearly identify the possible cows. Some areas seem posable, but are in reality far from welcoming, others are landlocked in the middle of a coniferous forest, making the posed scabrous (because in the wind). If the outward journey is generally done quickly enough in good conditions, the return may be long, very long, because "stuck in the breeze", unless you are not too greedy on the way out (not to go too far) and to find the confluence on the return.
The flight to Nevado de Toluca remains easier to achieve in delta, because they have more speed reserve, and continue to fly in March, when the ceilings are very high, but most of the paragliders are absent, due to the Strong wind. But we can dream a little:
Even for seasoned hang-gliding pilots, this flight is the Holy Grail. In this other video, Corinna Schwiegershausen (Red Bull athlete) explains that she preferred to give up competition to achieve her dream.