Coordinates: 46°24’18″ N 8°05’48″ E 2150m ASL Orientation: SSE
Galvera is located about 1km to the south-west of the Fiescheralp cable car station, and usually used for competitions. As it faces SSE rather than ESE, it generally starts working later than Heimat, but the thermic flow here, once established, is stronger and more consistent. By early afternoon, the house thermal directly in front of launch is usually a reliable elevator to cloudbase, but you must then be competent at launching in breezy conditions, and it may become too strong to get off here at all. Later still, especially if the general meteo wind has a westerly component, a south-westerly valley flow from Brig may well cause an unpleasant crosswind which renders this takeoff quite unsafe.
Although Heimat is my standard choice of launch in the summer, I consider Galvera to be a much better bet in weak conditions, e.g. when a poor lapse rate or high cirrus is inhibiting thermal development and leading to a decision to delay launching for fear of bombing out. This is because the terrain immediately below this takeoff seems to generate the most consistent lift in the Fiescheralp/Bettmeralp/Riederalp region, so if you anticipate a struggle to find usable climbs, you improve your chances of success by starting here.
I strongly favour Galvera when there is snow on the ground at this level (though I should point out that I don’t know of anyone else who holds this opinion). In these conditions, I have often observed a fickle downslope flow at Heimat, particularly when a thermal has just released in front of takeoff, i.e. the ideal moment to launch. In contrast, thermals seem to produce intermittent upslope wafts at Galvera, which not only assist the launch process, but also facilitate taking off directly into lift at the start of a cycle. On several occasions, this tactic has enabled me to climb out, completely on my own, when competent pilots with thermalling skills at least as good as mine are fighting to maintain height around the Heimat area.