My name is Rachel and currently I am a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I was born and raised in Wisconsin but have had the oppurtunity to travel to France and study the French language.
Everything French enthralls me. I am pursuing a major in Accounting at UW-Madison but am also continuing my study of the French language. This blog will be a collection of random thoughts and observations in my life.
March 20, 2011
The Climb of Your Life -- I Climbed It!!
Another highlight of the trip was climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I have a great fear of heights so this was a big thing for me to do. There are 3 climbs to choose from; The Discovery Climb, The Express Climb, and the classic Bridge Climb. The Discovery takes you along the inner arch of the bridge and you get to wind through the bridge in order to get a more up close look at the bridge itself. The Express is a faster version of the climb. We chose to do the classic Bridge Climb. Between the prep work, the actual climb, and taking pictures, the climb totals around 3.5 hours. Melissa and I chose to do this on my second day in Sydney. We were both excited and I was a little nervous considering my fear of heights. It was a nice cool day and overcast. This made for a comfortable, not too blustery climb.
You start out by doing about 45 minutes of prep work. They put you through a series of tests (including a breathalyzer). You have to sign forms, meet other members of your group, change into your bridge suits (as seen to the left on Kola the Koala and Jill the Kangaroo), and practice climbing the hard part of the bridge. Our leader Gil was very nice but kept calling me Renee for some reason. Once we were all bridge suited up (Barney Stinson would be proud) we started off towards the bridge. You first have to walk along VERY narrow planks to get out to the bridge. Then you start climbing up stairs once inside the pylon. The most intense part of the climb is next. You have to climb straight up four sets of ladders. You hit your knees all the way up and having to move your ball that attaches you to the bridge is cumbersome.
Once you are done with the ladders, you are actually on the bridge. Climbing up the outer arch is probably the least frightening part of the whole experience. You are attached and you cannot see through the steps. The steps aren't that high so it doesn't feel like you are climbing at all. It is a little windy especially when you get to the top but the views are worth it. You get to the top and when you cross over to come back down, there is a real feeling of accomplishment. You know that you have done something that not a lot of people get to do and have climbed one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols in the world.
The climb down is a lot less memorable but climbing down the ladders was almost worse then climbing up them. The ladders on the way down are right next to the subway train that runs across the bridge and there is nothing more terrifying then a speeding train going by you when you are climbing down ladders above the Sydney Harbor. The one downer on the climb was that there was an annoying little boy with us. It definitely did not deter from the once in a lifetime experience.
Although a bit pricey, the experience is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you find yourself in Sydney this is an attraction not to be missed and certainly one I will not forget anytime soon!