Archive for the ‘Bridge Climb’ Category

Over and Under the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Tuesday was another early morning that I had no trouble getting up for (I don’t think I will ever get used to that). Today we were scheduled to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge. This is a very pricey activity that we had the good fortune of being able to do on the cheap because we bought group tickets for a group of 80+. Normally I think it costs $180 a climb, and ours was less than half of that.

After waking and meeting in the lobby of the hotel we all boarded a bus and were taken to the Sydney bridge climb headquarters, which is located at the base of the bridge. http://www.bridgeclimb.com/

We were in groups of 14 and went into the processing area at 15 minute intervals. The first step is to get breath tested. If you blow a BAC of over .02 you are not allowed to climb. This is the legal limit for judgement impairment in Australia, and obviously if your judgement is impaired you have no business climbing a bridge at 9 in the morning. Our orientation leader told us that every year somebody failed this, and this year was no exception. Some frat boy bro from Maryland (there are an OBNOXIOUS amount of people from maryland here, and they all seem to belong in frats and be idiots. One girl said ” I only brought shorts and tank tops to this trip, I didn’t realize it got COLD HERE” I mean, did she do any research into this country other than to find out she would be legal to drink and the boys had accents?? I have never had a reason to dislike maryland but some of the people here are providing me with one.) failed the test. He was escorted back down to the lobby area where he had to wait a good 4+ hours for everyone to finish their climbs.

While waiting in line to go into the processing area we were all given lovely blue Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb hats with special clips on the back of them that would attach to our jumpsuits for the climb

Very sexy hat.

Once you passed the breath test and filled out a form declaring any medical issues everyone was given a gray jumpsuit to wear over our clothes. The jumpsuit is  very specific color of gray as to match with the bridge and not detract from tourists taking pictures of the bridge. Whoever came up with the color to paint the bridge certaintly did not work for crayola as his most creative idea was “sydney harbor bridge gray.” Who hires these people? WHere can I get a stupid easy job like that? It would be like working at a kitchen appliance naming institue. You just say what the thing does and add er. WHat does this do? that toasts, o well then thats a toaster. What does this do? that refrigerates, o well then thats a refrigerator. I’m going on break!

You were only supposed to wear a shirt and underwear under them so we were sent to a bank of changing rooms to do this and then assigned lockers to store our personal belongings. Next we were given harness belts that had a clip on them that would connect us to the railings as we climbed. There is never a point on the climb where you aren’t fenced in, but this is a precaution as it can get quite slippery and windy up there.

Next we were given two bags to clip onto our belts, one containing a rain jacket and one with a polar fleece. These came in handy. Next you are given a radio with a headset so you can hear the climb leader when you are out on the bridge since you walk in a single file line and its very windy. Once everything was clipped and secured to our person including hats and sunglasses it was time to climb! The whole process from check in to return takes about 3 hours, most of that is the climb, which isn’t scary at all. You are very secured and there are railings everywhere. Meanwhile, as you walk the tour guide provides information about the creation, maintenance, and history of the bridge.

I learned that when the bridge was built in the 1930s nuts and bolts were thought to be to expensive so the bridge is constructed with 6 million steel rivets. The Eifel tower by comparison only has 3 million. It is the worlds largest long span bridge and it is the tallest steel arch bridge in the world, measuring 134 metres (440 ft) from top to water level. The granite pylons at either end of the bridge are purley cosmetic, and hold no structural importance to the bridge itself. During its construction only 6 people died, which considering there was no use of safety harness or safety nets of any kind is hella impressive. The total cost of building the bridge was 10 million dollars and this was not paid off until 1988 when construction officially began in 1923.

The way the climb works is that you go up one side, across the summit and then come down the other side. Since you are not allowed to take any loose articles with you nobody had cameras. You do get a picture taken of your whole group at the summit but since I am without a scanner I can’t provide that here. Instead here are some other peoples pictures that I am shamelessly lifting from various places on the internet. Enjoy.

Lovely gray suits that everyone is given. These guys make them look far more attractive than they actually are.

The climb is very steep at the beginning and at the end but in the middle things even out and its more level. The views were spectacular even though it started to rain once my group got to the summit.

Despite the fact that it was overcast and rainy for a majority of the climb I somehow managed to get a very mild sunburn on my face. After the long climb we were taken back to the hotel for free time (read: NAPTIME)

At 4:30 we walked down to Darling Harbor for a harbor dinner cruise which would mark the end of our orientation. We cruised for 3 hours and watched the sunset over the harbor. Again, spectacular views and an amazing day. If I keep having days like this I may never come back to the US.