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Sydney Harbour Bridge 2002
March 2002, we went back home to Australia. One of the things we had never done, but really wanted to do was climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There's a tourist company that does this now - BridgeClimb. We booked before we left the USA, and turned up on the day. On the way to the bridge, we could see other climbing groups already up on the bridge. Look on the left and right edges of the bridge, about halfway up. On the left is a group coming down, and on the right is a group going up.
We were there in plenty of time. Had to be there early to go through the briefing and then get changed. Because we are climbing on the bridge, and we are high up, and the cars are charging across the bridge below us, we can't take anything up that might drop down. So no cameras. They carry a camera and they take the photos and you buy the photos at the end. Win-win for them - safety measure and another revenue stream. And not even your own clothing. Strip down, and don this grey coverall and blue cap. Cap was tied to the coverall. My glasses were tied down to the cap. Handkerchief tied to the coverall arm. Nothing could possibly fall off you. We also had a belt with a connector. The entire climb has a guide rail along it, and we clip on to that guide rail and we can't fall off. The whole thing is complex, yet they made it pretty easy. Once we were strapped up and ready to go, we got another briefing on what to expect.
Then we were assigned our climb leader. Chatty, loud, and looked like Hugo Weaving. But he was good, really good. And then we were off. We walked along the street, looking like laughing stock, then inside one of the pylons and up to the top. They had cut a hole through the pylon to the bridge. It must have cost them millions to get this show ready for action before the first paying customer went across. We walked along the leadup to the bridge, and we could look down past our feet to the land way below, and then to the water way below. Climbed around a few tricky bits, and then we were on the main bridge arch and started climbing up. We stopped halfway up for the view. We stayed there for longer than usual, because, wait for it, her Royal Something, Fergie, was up ahead and she was getting the royal treatment and spending a lot of time doing a photo shoot. Hip hip hooray. I didn't mind too much because we got to stay and look at the scenery for a long time. A helicopter was buzzing around us, taking photos of Fergie at the top of the arch, and then whizzing to take photos of our group. I gave the helicopter a royal finger salute when the camera was on us, but they probably threw that footage away. The bridge guide took a group photo of us here.
And then a shot of the various couples. Look at the positioning. Couldn't be better with the Opera House behind us.
Fergie moved on, so we were allowed to climb to the top of the arch. At the top, we got a long chance to look around and see the sights. It was pretty spectacular from up there. It was warm, but there was a nice breeze way up there. Then they took more photos of the various couples.
Heading down was a chance for more photo opportunities.
And when we started climbing down the tricky bits to the pylon, it was time for one more photo.
We came off the bridge, thirsty and dehydrated. Got changed to our normal gear and then landed in the gift shop waiting for our photos. And as planned, while we waited for our photos we ended up buying souvenirs like a Bridge tie and a booklet about the history of the Bridge and some other stuff. The photos were a little disappointing. They were taken with a digital camera, but it wasn't high resolution and the printing wasn't onto photo paper but moderately high quality regular paper. I would have expected more for the money. Never mind. After they got scanned in, they came out alright. Pity we couldn't bypass the analog print/scan part and go straight from digital image to digital image. And we got our certificates to prove that we climbed the bridge.
Afterwards we ended up at Circular Quay to meet Haydn, and while I was there I took more photos of the bridge and you can again see the little bumps on the skyline of the bridge that are the climbers. The climbs start early in the morning and go till late at night. We were told that the night climbs were pretty spectacular, but I wanted a day climb so we got the good views.