In August 2011, National Geographic sponsored an elite team of climbers and base jumpers on an expedition to Bute Inlet to make a film about climbing the 6,000-foot face of Mount Bute and wing suit flying off the 9,200-foot summit.
The film called The Man Who Can Fly was aired on American TV back in March and was shown to the Canadian public for the first time on Quadra and Cortez Is.
The Strathcona Wilderness Institute will be showing the film on Nov. 30 at the Stan Hagen Theatre in Courtenay. SWI will host the event as a fundraiser to support their information and summer program work at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre at the entrance to Paradise Meadows in Strathcona Park.
SWI is particularly pleased to have local Mountaineer and author Rob Wood give an introduction and preamble to the 47-minute film. Rob also happened to be part of this exciting expedition and will answer questions at the end of the evening, which begins at 7. A donation of $10 is suggested.
Although it is mainly about top ranking Yosemite climber, line walker and base jumper Dean Potter pushing the exceedingly precarious and breathtaking limits of the three extreme sports, the film also appeals to a wider audience by stretching the limits of human perception in what Potter himself refers to as a “flight of the imagination.”
Also of particular interest to B.C. West Coasters is the way the dramatic setting of the film showcases one of the world’s best-kept secrets; the magnificent and rugged grandeur of the high peaks and glaciers that soar above the turquoise glacier-fed ocean at the heart and climax of the coast mountain wilderness; the head of Bute Inlet; Canada’s Grand Canyon but bigger and better.
“I always thought that one day the world will discover this place and climbers will come and line up to climb the big face on Mount Bute," said Wood. "It turned out that a keen young climber from Squamish, together with two buddies made a very fine first ascent of the whole face.
"When they heard through the grapevine that National Geographic and Dean Potter were looking for bigger and better faces to film climbing and wing suit base jumping, they suggested he come to Bute. As well as the four climbers, two of whom were also base jumpers, there were two directors one of whom was also a camera man, an extra camera man, a rigger, a sound man, myself and Dean Potter’s girl friend and his dog.
"I was lucky enough to have been invited along as a local guide and storyteller.”
— Strathcona Wilderness Institute