Darren Jordon may now live in Qatar but he still loves the country of his birth, Jamaica.
Jordon, who is a news presenter on the Al Jazeera English channel, decided to salute the island’s 50th anniversary of independence in a unique way- he took the flag up to the peak of the Matterhorn, one of Europe’s tallest mountains.
It took the former Jamaica Defence Force soldier and guides Yves Salino and Stephane Moussard a gruelling six hours of climbing to achieve this landmark goal. They braved the kind of severe conditions that have killed others before.
However, Jordon finally made it to the summit of the 4, 478-metre Swiss mountain on August 22 and shortly after he got there, he held the Jamaican flag high and grinned happily.
“What kept me going on the ascent was that inside my jacket I had the Jamaican flag and I absolutely had to get to the top of this mountain to unfurl it with pride.”
“I wanted Jamaica to become one of the select group of countries whose climbers have stood at the summit of this iconic Swiss peak. There is nothing like the weight of a proud nation on your shoulders to push you up the mountain.”
Jordon, who grew up in Westmoreland in western Jamaica, said unwrapping the black, green and gold flag was the best part of the experience.
“The part I most enjoyed was unfurling the flag at the summit. The pride, emotion and adrenalin all kicked in and momentarily I forgot how tired I was. I allowed myself a smile too,” the news anchor continued. “What was going through my mind as I unfurled the flag was that I was extremely privileged to be standing at this spot with my country’s flag. It meant so much to me to be the flag-bearer and that’s a huge responsibility. I knew that my country would be proud of me – especially in this 50th year of Independence. Jamaicans can do anything they put their minds and hearts to. That’s what makes us so special.”
Jordon and his guides later endured an exhausting six and a half hour climb down the mountain, battered by rain and a hailstorm.
However, the seasoned climber was not put off, having climbed other well-known peaks such as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, east Africa.
Jordon has now set his sights on scaling other mountains in the Swiss Alps. He added: “The Mittellegi Ridge on the Eiger is an option we are considering.”