As this blogger turned 30, the days leading up to the monumental birthday were met with a variety of feelings – excitement and wonder, but mostly anxiety. Upon consultation with a close friend, I was told to “climb a bridge and get over it.” Good advice, I thought, so that’s exactly what I did, although at the time I had a distinct feeling that she’d got the metaphor wrong.
Having lived in Brisbane for two thirds of my life I had crossed the bridge many times, and come to respect it as one of the iconic points of the Brisbane skyline. I had never thought at any stage that I wanted to get myself anywhere near the top of it, with cars racing past and the murky Brisbane River waters beneath me. These feelings were mostly borne from a moderate fear of heights I’d had since I’d been a child. But, as the staff had mentioned on the phone at the time I’d booked the climb, what better way to get over it than facing the fear head on? Interesting logic, I thought – which brought me to Story Bridge Adventure Climb headquarters two days after the monumental birthday.
I was met by the friendly staff at the Kangaroo Point office, and the nerves set in as I started to come to terms with what I was about to experience. The suiting up experience was intense in itself. As we were about to climb a working bridge, if it wasn’t anchored to you securely it couldn’t come on the climb with you. Rings, drop earrings, wallets, phones and cameras would stay back at base camp. Straps were attached to eyeglasses and anchored to the back of our climbing suits, and radios were fitted to safety belts which allowed torches a place to clip on. The belts were also fitted with an umbilical cord of sorts, which connects us to the bridge at all times. It seems you have to try pretty hard to fall off this climb, should the feeling grab you.
Waiting for our first photo stop gives us the perfect vantage point to take in Brisbane’s now broken floating walkway, destroyed in the 2011 floods. Taking in the views of the equally iconic Gateway Bridge on the horizon and thinking back to footage of the walkway fragments hitting the pylons of the bridge made me realise the veracity of these floods. But, onward and upward, I thought, which certainly sums up the resolve of the people of Brisbane.
Onward and upward too, we climb. First photo op is upon us. I put a good thumbs up in for in my mug shot (GoDo likes this). The city sprawls out behind me, and the twilight paints sensational hues of pink and blue in pastel as far back as the eye can see (for me, it’s the Shafston Hotel, and which point I’d like to end up after the climb, and perhaps should have visited before the climb to fortify my climbing spirit). Twilight is definitely the best choice of time to climb, I think. It turns out up here there’s so much to see, you forget about how high up you really are, which at the highest point is about 65 metres above the river.
It’s downhill from here – we take the decline slowly (the steps are more visible climbing up the inclines than down the declines, if that makes sense, and cross the middle of the bridge. The point at which each half of the bridge was joined together – a whopping 4-millimetre error – is pointed out to us, and given that the structure was built before computers did all the maths for us, we recognise that this was no mean feat. Photo stop two gives us an opportunity to take this in.
By our third stop, night is descending on the city and we have the opportunity to take in the city lights and their reflections dancing in the Brisbane River. The mild mid-autumn night at this altitude brings with it a freshness that I’m not used to in Brisbane. Mid-climb, it feels like a completely different city all of a sudden. Photo stop three captures not only the lights, but my elation, and sense of achievement.
A quick descent, and within minutes we are back at climb headquarters. Thanks to Story Bridge Adventure Climb, my fear of heights is quashed, and my thirties have been launched with a bang, and I’ve completed one of the only three climbs like it in the world. Time for the Harbour Bridge then? Just let me get my breath back.
GoDo says get high on this one – this climb is an experience to remember.
Grab your rubber soled shoes and try this tour for yourself!