Benjamin Jordan is the first paraglider to journey from Vancouver to Calgary, Pacific to prairie, over the mountains of British Columbia. This is the story of his adventure.
It’s refreshing to know there are still people out there having epic adventures and setting world records without being followed by film crews in three helicopters. Benjamin Jordan is one such individual. Last fall the 36-year-old became the first person to paraglide across the entire span of Canada’s southwest mountains, from Vancouver, British Columbia to Calgary, Alberta. And he did it solo, unsupported and on a meager diet of ramen noodles, oats, peanut butter and coffee (with the occasional cheese treat).
Jordan is a charming, Viking-looking dude who uses phrases like “transforming fear into love.” He escaped his fashion photography lifestyle in Toronto a decade ago and now lives in BC’s Slocan Valley, where he’s “never earned less and never been happier.” He’s piloted paragliders for the past 10 years, and in the fall of 2016, set out to fly over BC’s four main mountain ranges in one journey.
It took him 39 days to cover the 1,000-kilometre route and most of his travel was by air. He had to walk the first 100 km out of Vancouver to catch favourable winds, and then another 75 km or so between mountain hops and during forays into towns to buy food. His paraglider wing can only carry 105 kilograms (230 pounds), and most of that was his body weight, so his supplies were extremely limited. The only luxury items he allowed himself were a ukulele and a lightweight two-person tent, rather than a bivy bag, because he’s claustrophobic.
There were a few stretches of waiting out bad weather he says, and some tense moments in the air when he had to make quick decisions about landing or going for it. “I’m not Will Gadd, I’m not a top paraglider pilot. And this project was beyond the top!” But ultimately, he succeeded and his achievement proves you don’t always need huge sponsorship dollars to break records.
For a daily diary of Benjamin’s epic journey, log on to strongthewindblows.com.