Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sydney Bridge Climb!

When in Sydney, do as the locals...wait...I never met a local who had climbed Sydney bridge!  Sorry to say, it's in their own back yard, so most residents see people climbing the bridge but never experience it from the top as we were able to do.

When I booked this, I heard it was challenging with over 1400 steps and it was expensive.  The twilight climb was highly recommended at $275 for a 3+ hour encounter.  In spite of all that, we never knew if we'd be back or in good health in the future, so we made the reservation dreaming of sunsets over Sydney harbor.  You can read about the bridge at wiki.

What really happened that day was a mystery to me.  I heard crashing thunder in late afternoon, so I called to see if we were still on.  They assured me the bad weather would blow over and we'd have a wonderful twilight hike.  We met up with our group of 10 climbers and a guide at 6:00.  We actually arrived at the building 15 minutes earlier, but we failed the series of questions about health conditions when we admitted we'd had a late lunch but had not eaten in the past 3 hours so we had to eat a sandwich before we could participate.  Not a bad idea.  I suppose they prefer people who don't get dizzy from hunger pangs when at the top of such a large structure.

What happens next is completely well orchestrated.  We received blue jumpsuits to wear for the climb and only kept our own t-shirts and undies.  Everything else was put in a locker.  That was maybe the best thing that happened that day because we were soaked from the walk to the climb office and it felt great to get out of the wet clothing.  Our guide walked us through several stops where we could watch a video, got a belt full of equipment including radio, headset, caribiner, and extra goodies that attached to our suit.  There were clips for everything we received so nothing could come off us when we were outdoors.  We had gloves, hat, handkerchief, rain pants, rain jacket, and even a very cool headlamp to wear on the walk down.  It was pouring when we started up, but the first part of the walk was covered as we were walking underneath the cars.  You are actually attached by a caribiner to the bridge the entire time, so it isn't really as scary as you might imagine.  As we climbed, it began to clear for what should have been the 'beautiful sunset' but was instead fog and heavy clouds.  We were still able to see the city and of course the opera house.  The actual walk portion takes about 2 hours, so it's very slow and along the way you hear stories about how the bridge was built, and as a bonus- get to catch your breath!  I'm usually afraid of heights, but you are never really on the edge of anything.  There are railings to keep you from feeling like you'll fall.

The guide takes photos along the way, as they don't allow you to bring a camera.  I do have a few that I had taken that morning when our cruise ship came into Sydney harbor.  When we reached the top of the bridge the rain started in full force and the winds were gusting.  Now who could forget this memorable experience?!  Anyone can climb the bridge with sunsets and gorgeous weather, but very few 'special' visitors get to experience a good summer storm from the top of the bridge.  Lucky us!  Overall it was a fun time, but I probably wouldn't do it again.  I think in life there are some experiences where you can really say once is enough.
Sydney city lights - a photo provided to us

Survivors- here we are nearly at the top

this is a photo of how it was supposed to be...in my mind


we were up at the top where you see flags flying straight out


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