Story Bridge Climb – An Adventure Waiting
Let’s do a bridge climb!
There are three organised bridge climbs in the world – all unique in their own way. Brisbane Story Bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
Thousands of cars travel across these massive steel and concrete monsters each day. Now hundreds of people seeking a day of adventure are climbing these gigantic steel structures.
My first bridge climb was the Brisbane Story Bridge at the ripe old age of 63. The birthday “gift climb voucher” I considered to be only marginally better than the one received to have my ears pierced when turning 40!
Blue and Grey Bridge Climb Uniform
Arriving at the Story Bridge Headquarters (SBAC) you are was kitted out in the bridge climb “uniform” – blue and grey overalls and caps. This is followed by a weigh-in (maximum of 130 kg) and alcohol testing. I wonder, would anyone who would be attempting a bridge climb with a reading over 0.5%?? Safety instructions are thorough and include demonstrations on how to use the harness attached to a lanyard to the bridge safety cables. Would be climbers looked re-assured after this safety exercise.
Nothing loose can be taken on the climb. This includes cameras, go-pros or phones just in case these are dropped on to some unsuspecting motorist 80 metres below! Personal items can be stored in lockers until after the climb. Even the provided handkerchiefs are attached by elastic to wrists and sunnies fitted to lanyards.
The climbing guides double as photographers and everyone has several photos are taken at picturesque vantage points when high up on the bridge.
The Path of the Bridge Climb
Ready for action. Leaving the safety of headquarters the group creeps under the bridge on a suspended walkway with traffic whizzing overhead. At the ‘halfway house’ platform the guides captivate the group with the construction history of the bridge explaining what an epic engineering feat it had been.
Interesting statistics the bridge is:
- almost 1km long
- was constructed with 14,000 tonnes of steel
- had 41,250 cubic metres of concrete poured into the foundations
- is held together by 1.5 MILLION rivets and
- only five people died during the five year construction. Definitely no WPH&S in those days highlighting the gutsy effort of construction workers. There were no harnesses to prevent falls when working 80m up in the sky.
The guides share many interesting snippets of Brisbane history, the bridge and points of interest hidden among the surrounding landscape. Definitely no need for Mrs Google on this adventure. The commentary comes though earphones and iPods provided at the start of the climb.
We are off! The first part of the adventure starts when leaving the platform and climbing up past road level. This is steep but over quickly and met with many sighs of relief.
Hello Brisbane From the Top of the World
Then suddenly you are up with the birds taking in a breathtaking 360 degrees view of Brisbane and beyond. At 80m above river level, you are now part of the skyline!
Looking down, the cars driving over the bridge appear like Matchbox toys! To the east you see the sparkling waters of Moreton Bay and to the west the beginning of the McDonnell ranges and rugged hills of the Scenic Rim.
Being met by a different postcard view at every high up angle is totally awesome. Brisbane climbers get excited at seeing familiar old landmarks – the suburb where they lived, old school, favourite pub etc. The world looks totally different from up in the sky.
One of the great things about the climb is that the pace is relaxed and a high level of fitness isn’t required (definitely a bonus!).
After the 1.1/2 hour bridge climb you find yourself back at headquarters looking at the official photos. You know, the ones you’re never going to buy but always do!
There’s also the opportunity to have a 30m abseil down from the anchor pier of the bridge after the climb. But for me….abseil or lunch? Lunch won the argument and after buying photos and a brief goodbye it was off to the beckoning hotel under the bridge.
The Story Bridge Hotel and reliving the adventure.
This iconic family-owned watering hole is a hidden gem located under Story Bridge in fashionable Kangaroo Point.
In the hotel’s Shelter Bar you’ll find that icy cold beer you’ve been hanging out for. Then there’s always a perfectly cooked 200gram steak on offer with the pub’s fabulous “slaw and chips”.
After lunch keep the good times rolling and catch the nearby free City Hopper (ferry) at Holman Street. A 10 minute ride will have you arrive right in the Brisbane CBD! Look up at the Story Bridge and marvel at where you were two hours and few heartbeats before!
You are provided with:
- Sunglass lanyards
- Rain resistant jackets, if needed
You need to:
- Wear comfortable closed in shoes with rubber soles
- Take your sense of Spirit and Adventure!
- ENJOY the experience.