If you happened to look up early one morning in downtown Vancouver you might have seen a distant figure perched atop a crane, held there by nothing except his instincts a good pair of climbing shoes.
That figure was Chase, a Torontonian and prolific “rooftopper” who recently paid a visit to Vancouver. An offshoot of urban exploring, rooftopping refers to the unsecured ascent of city structures like rooftops, antennas, smokestacks and even cranes. Acutely aware of the risk of the activity, Chase uploaded a video of the day’s stunts to YouTube titled “The Most DANGEROUS Crane Climb Downtown Vancouver”.
Aside from the physical danger, Chase is also aware of the illegality of rooftopping but said in a recent Q&A with Vancouver Is Awesome the worst thing that's happened to him is being asked not to come back to certain buildings in Toronto.
Chase’s YouTube channel, ChaseTO, is full of other death-defying videos including one other from British Columbia. Uploaded a few weeks ago Chase shared exactly how he climbed to the top of the tallest support tower on the Peak2Peak gondola in Whistler, his highest climb yet which he estimates at 6,300 feet.
Aside from being utterly toe-curling, Chase’s videos have a certain cinematic element to them, a skill he tells V.I.A. is completely self-taught. As for why he embarks on these perilous missions, Chase says it’s all for “feelings of freedom.”
In his late teens, Chase explains he comes from a rock climbing background and naturally progressed out of the gym and into cities where he could “climb higher and more interesting routes.”
But how does he cope with the heights? What if he misses a step?
“I've done this for as long as I can remember,” Chase said. “I focus when the situation demands it and rely on instincts.”
Rooftopping is not new to Vancouver, in 2019 V.I.A. spoke to Jason Doucette, VPD, about a video of a rooftopper who was seen sliding down the roof of a Vancouver skyscraper.
"Rooftopping is very dangerous and can be criminal in nature. Examples of the types of criminal offences could be break and enter, mischief, etc," Doucette said. "Not only are the offenders putting themselves at risk, they are also potentially putting the public and first responders in danger."
"If one of these people slips and falls, a first responder has to put their safety at risk to rescue the rooftopper. We encourage anyone who feels they are witnessing a criminal offence to contact their local police immediately."
With files from Elana Shepert