One man’s paragliding adventure across the Canadian Rockies has been captured on film.
Two years ago, Benjamin Jordan, from Slocan in the Kootenays, paraglided from Montana to Prince George. The trip took 52 days. Jordan said it’s the first time someone has paraglided across the Rockies on such a large scale, unsupported and his adventure has been captured by the film The Endless Chain.
Roughly 14 years ago, when Jordan was learning to paraglide on sand dunes, he dreamed of paragliding in the Rockies.
“People told me I couldn’t do it,” he said.
In 2015, Jasper National Park opened its doors to paragliding for a two-year pilot project. It’s the only national park in North America where the sport is permitted. Many parks do allow overhead flights, just no launching or landing.
According to the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, approximately 30 flights were logged over the course of two years in Jasper. The project was deemed a success and Jasper still allows paragliding and hang gliding.
The film is named after a mountain in Jasper National Park called the Endless Chain Ridge. The ridge is 16 kilometres long and at its highest point 2,867 metres, situated east of the Icefields Parkway.
|When Jordan got hungry, he sang. He said he sang a lot during the trip. (Submitted)|
It follows Jordan’s journey as he tackles challenges of weather, smoke and lack of food.
At several points during the journey, food rations of instant noodles and peanut butter got so low Jordan resorted to eating mosquitoes and snaring squirrels.
“Did the squirrels taste like chicken? I don’t know. I haven’t had chicken for 20 years.”
Normally, Jordan is a vegetarian.
He said the best part of the trip was flying in Jasper, at heights of up to 4,000 metres.
“I could almost see the ocean.”
The scariest moment of the trip, said Jordan, was flying across the continental divide from Jasper to Valemont.
Flying across the divide is only done a couple times a year due to remote terrain and weather.
“I wasn’t sure if I could do it.” But, he did.
|The trip was 52 days. (Submitted)|
One of the main themes the film explores right from the opening credits is masculinity.
“What does it mean to be a man,” writes Jordan at the start of the movie in his journal.
Jordan, 38, said by this stage in his life he thought he’d have things “dialed.”
He’s spent his years well, he said, but hasn’t made time for traditional “manly” things, such as marriage, a house, kids and a dog.
“Am I still a man if I don’t want these things?”
Growing up, Jordan said he was a chubby kid with red hair. Nerdy, not athletic, nor a hit with the girls — the perfect combination for bullying. High intensity sports tend to be dominated by jocks, he said.
Jordan said this film is “for the other guy.”
He has gone on other adventures, such as paragliding unsupported from Vancouver to Calgary in 2016, becoming the first person to paraglide across the entire span of Canada’s southwest mountains.
In 2006, he skateboarded across Canada for charity.
Jordan won’t say what his next adventure will be, other than that it involves paragliding and butterflies.
“It will be even more incredible and inspiring.”
For more information on how to see The Endless Chain, visit the website theendlesschain.com/tour or $15 at the door.