527. Sunday 8th January 2017. We climb the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere…and a story about the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.

Monday 2nd January 2017

We had a small window of opportunity today. There were just two places left on the Skypoint Climb on the Q1 Building at Surfers Paradise. Rain and storms were predicted for the afternoon. Tyler and I took those last two places.

Q1, at 322.5m is the tallest building on the Gold Coast. It is the tallest building in all of Australia. In fact it is even taller than the Chrysler Building in New York. The top floor, seventy seven, is 270 m and we were going to climb another 30 or so metres on the outside of the building. The lift to level 77 takes just 42.7 seconds. A TV screen is fitted into the ceiling of the lift and we watched as the lift zoomed to the top. It was a surreal experience as there was no discernible movement of the lift. All we could see was the concrete lift shaft and suddenly we were there.

At ground level we were kitted out with lightweight overalls, cap and a heavy safety harness (after taking a breathalyser test before they would let us take the climb) As we stepped out through the glass doors we attached ourselves via the safety harness to the safety railing. The double lock harness straps have a breaking strain of 4.5 tonne so we were assured we would not fall. Well, not fall very far. In places we were challenged to lean over the edge with our harness taking our weight and leaving both hands free to wave to people below. The first ladder to access the climb is steep and only two people, with a safe distance between them can be on the ladder at any time. Once on the wide and less steep stairs we only had to contend with the wind whistling in our faces.

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Climbing the staircase to the midway platform.

Once we achieved a flat part of the climb it was here we had photos and encouraged to act a little silly for the camera.

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Hang out over the street said Allie. Let go of your safety harness strap and wave. Not an easy thing to do.
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Tyler managed to hang out. Looking south to Broadbeach,Burlleigh and Coolangatta way in the distance.
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Looking north to Southport and Labrador and the vast Broadwater. We look pretty relaxed.
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Here is our group of 10. Some peol,e can take the basic frumpy clothing and make it look fashionable. Allie told us we looked boring and to ham it up. We did. But they printed the boring photo anyway.
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Looking south.

Climbing down was a little harder on the knees but when I came to the steep ladder section we had to turn around and go down backwards. A special rhythm was needed so we did not keep banging our knees on the steps. At the top was a level area where we gathered for a group photo while our lovely guide, Allie, leaning out by a pair of overhead safety lines to take our photo. I asked her how she got the job. It seems she was always afraid of heights and had never done any sort of climbing. Despite her belief she would not get the job, she did and quickly convinced herself to get over her fear. She has. Those little black dots we could see on the beach were people and too far away to see if they are waving at us.

The tour after ours was cancelled as a severe storm was approaching with lightning, wind and rain. Not a good time to be on a metal staircase beside a giant 70 metre lightning rod.

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Certificate of Climb

Just before Christmas we had a week of electrical storms and according to the Bureau of Meteorology there were a million strikes on the Gold Coast alone. If the lightning rod was not in place a strike could blow out all the electrical power in the building. The rod has an internal ladder for a maintenance man to enter, climb to the top to change a light bulb every three years. The bulb alone costs $12,000 and is required by law due to the height of the building. Here is a great article about the building   http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/behind-the-scenes-of-australias-tallest-residential-building-gold-coasts-q1-in-surfers-paradise/news-story/f309e8cc44945b38fb7d56ea8d363b10

Afterwards Tyler and I caught up with Donnis and Alecia at Currumbin Beach where we dined on prawns for an afternoon snack. By then the clouds were rolling in and the wind was changing from north to south.

Our week of heatwave came to a crashing halt when the storm arrived and buckets of rain fell…after we arrived home and were eating dinner.

Tuesday 3rd January

Alecia and Tyler were up early to drive to the airport for their flight to Sydney and from there to the International Airport for their flight to Vancouver. Safe travels.

Wednesday 4th January

Today I made a little trip down memory lane, recalling my Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb on 30th December 2000.

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Bridge Climb

I deliberately chose a night climb as I have been nervous of heights and believed a night climb would be a bit like a double challenge.

It was!

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Information about the climb makes it all sound so easy. For me it was a challenge.

I passed the challenge and not once did I falter and hold up the rest of the team.

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This was me climbing the arch with a sandstone pylon and the lights of Sydney as a backdrop. This was our group of 12. A tunnel had been bored into the sandstone bedrook to gain access to the beginning of the climb. Otherwise we would all have to troop through the streets in our safety gear. Even though it was the height of summer it gets cool on top of the bridge at night. Our overalls included a jacket which rolled away in a pocket in the back.
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Make a face, cheer and wave your arms for a photo they said. We did. This is right at the very top of the arch before we walked across a companionway to the arch on the other side of the bridge before we climbed down again.

During our climb we noticed a few places which were closed off. These were the fireworks which were set up for New Years Eve the following night. There are no climbs on NYE.

The climb was fabulous and I would do it again.

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I was disappointed with this certificate as it did not have a date and did not include my name.

I could not help thinking about the actor Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) In his younger days he was a bridge painter. He was part of a team which would start painting the bridge at one end and continue across up and over. They had nowhere near the safety equipment we wore. When the painting was finished, which took about a year, it was time to go back to the start and begin again.

The rest of the week was spent doing what we normally do.

Next week, grandchildren Shelby and Anakin arrive for a few days so we have a few adventure things planned.

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