British Columbia

Nelson, B.C. man paraglides from Montana to B.C.

Benjamin Jordan recently paraglided alone from Roosville, Montana to McBride, B.C. The trip spanned 50 days and 1,200 kilometres, he says.

'I do it because I’m afraid of it.'

Benjamin Jordan pictured on one of the few clear days of his paragliding journey. Wildfire smoke was a consistent issue over the 50 days. (Benjamin Jordan)

A Nelson, B.C. man recently paraglided alone from Roosville, Montana just south of the B.C. border up to McBride, southeast of Prince George.   

After 50 days gliding from mountain top to mountain top, Benjamin Jordan landed in McBride, and then walked to Prince George over four days.

"I do it because I'm afraid of it," Jordan told Radio West  guest host Audrey McKinnon. "If I do [these scary things], they transform into the things that I love the most."

Jordan said this paragliding trip had him flying between 1,000 to 2,000 metres above the ground.

Paragliding is a non-motorized form of aviation in which the pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing that resembles a parachute.

Benjamin Jordan (pictured above) said his most recent paragliding trip had him flying between 1,000 to 2,000 metres above the ground. (Benjamin Jordan )

Jordan, 37, specializes in locating thermals — a rising column of air that leaves the ground when the ground gets too hot — while he paraglides. Thermals, he said, give him a boost of momentum while he's in the air.

"It's invisible. But it's like an elevator," Jordan said. "[You can] climb up to the clouds, and then glide anywhere from five to seven to 10 kilometres, depending on what the wind is doing."

Watch paraglider Benjamin Jordan land high on a mountain in Jasper National Park.

Before the end of each day in the air, Jordan tried to land on top of a mountain. There he set up camp, ate, and prepared himself for the next day of flying.  

The first half of Jordan's trip went by quickly, he said. But in August, due to B.C.'s many wildfires, his voyage slowed significantly.  

In 2016, when Jordan paraglided from Vancouver to Calgary, the average time he spent camping on mountain tops was two to three days. He used that time to wait for thermals and clear flying conditions.  

But on this expedition, his average wait time was five to six days. The smoke blocked the sun, preventing thermals from rising. 

Benjamin Jordan pictured on a mountain in between paragliding flights. (Benjamin Jordan)

The smoke also often allowed for less than one kilometre of visibility, said Jordan, making it difficult for him to see and get to his next mountaintop destination.

"Most of my time was spent just sitting in the alpine. Just me and the marmots. Waiting for a small window to be able to fly."

Listen to the full story here:

With files from Radio West