This summer, Canadian filmmaker Benjamin Jordan became the first person ever to paraglide across Canada’s southwest mountain ranges. Starting outside of Vancouver, BC and ending in Calgary, AB, Jordan clocked 39 days to complete the 1,000 km journey.
Only hiking a total of 75 km between the first and last cross-country flights, Jordan covered some of the wildest, most uninhabited (and “un-landable”) terrain in the Canadian Rockies. The longest uninterrupted flight was a 140 km “aerial jam session” over the entire West Kootenay region, which Jordan described as the most remarkable day of the entire project.
“Bouncing from glacial peak to high desert to rocky mountains,” Jordan said he always tried to land at high altitudes when possible and near villages to re-stock supplies when needed.
An experienced adventurer, Jordan packed light but didn’t neglect the safety essentials.
“I would be a fool not to have someone keeping an eye on me,” said Jordan, who completed the journey solo. “An upgrade to my SPOT Messenger, the inReach lets people know where I am and I can even type a specific message about what I’m doing.”
With his inReach strapped to his body during flight, he could proceed with confidence in knowing that help was available at the push of a button should anything go wrong. Using light-weight solar panels, Jordan kept his inReach charged along with his other powered devices.
“I have two modes, hike and fly,” said Jordan. “But no matter which, one thing is for certain, weight sucks.”
In between flights, Jordan had to wait patiently – sometimes for up to a week – for favourable weather to continue his journey. To pass the time, Jordan played his ukulele and spent time documenting the up’s and down’s of his adventure.
“Staying sane on the mountain for days at a time has both required and allowed me to branch out into the kind of activities one can only do when they are so utterly alone,” said Jordan. “This activity is standing on an island rock, singing at the top of my lungs …while documenting of course.”
Throughout his journey, Jordan’s biggest contention was uncooperative weather.
“Grouse Mountain didn’t work out,” said Jordan. “The sea-breeze came on every single day, killing all thermic activity in the lower mainland and putting me in a position of having to walk as far as I needed to escape it.”
With the journey now over, Jordan said he exceeded his own expectations of what it would be like to fly in Canada and as himself as a pilot.
“…When I awake in nature I am instantly called to a higher place of being, and the little things that normally frustrate me seem like nothing more than an embarrassment that they ever could.”
Now that he has achieved one of his life’s goals, Jordan is now preparing to release a documentary film about his adventure which will premiere at the Vancouver International Film Festival in February of 2017.
Images courtesy of Benjamin Jordan.