Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bridge Climb

The day started pretty overcast and I hadn’t got anything planned so I just wandered round the shops for a while. Didn’t buy anything except a cup of coffee but it was nice enough looking round the various shopping arcades around Pitt Street and George Street.


By the time I’d walked from one end of George Street to the other I was back round The Rocks district and the day had brightened up quite a bit. So on the spur of the moment I wandered into the Bridge Climb centre to see if they had any places on a climb that afternoon – and they had!


The whole climb takes about 3 hours but the first hour is getting kitted out in the suit and safety belt and doing a ‘practice’ climb up a few short ladders and catwalks in the bridge climb centre. Then you head out onto the bridge. Unfortunately you can’t take cameras on the climb, or anything at all actually. There would be too much risk of something falling onto the road deck below when up on the arch. They give you optional things like a handkerchief, fleece and gloves but they’re all attached to your suit so nothing can fall. The climb leader has a camera and does the picture taking. You have a radio and headset so you can hear the climb leader when up on the bridge.

You’re attached to the bridge via a belt attachment that follows a steel cable all along the climb route. It attaches to the cable at the start and once on the line there’s no way back and you cant swap places with anyone. You’re going forward whether you like it or not. The only way out at this point would be to take the belt off, but that would be stupid!

The climb starts by walking out of the side of the Southern bridge approach along a catwalk  At this point you’re underneath the road deck approach and not yet over the water. You take the catwalk as far as the stone pylon at the Southern end, then up some easy stairs inside the pylon. The next bit is the ‘scary’ bit'  - you exit the pylon on a see-thru mesh catwalk, now over the harbour. Then climb four ladders up through the road deck onto the arch. Once on the arch that’s the worst bit over its just a gentle stroll up to the top of the bridge. The view is awesome. You stop on the way up and also at the very top for pictures, then its across to the other side and follow the line down until finally coming off the end of the line back inside the approach embankment.


If you can just get past the catwalks and ladders bit it really is easy and the view makes it more than worth it. I really would recommend it to anyone who’s visiting Sydney. At the end everyone got a blue certificate but I got a gold one as its the second time I’ve done the climb :)
It was a really good way to end my last day in Sydney and I’m really glad I did the climb again!

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