Hanging around the Coat Hanger
09.07.2010 18 °C
Doing Bridge Climb on the Sydney Harbour Bridge (nicknamed The Coat Hanger by Sydneysider) is popular for birthday parties. Many climbers - some from the countrysides - come to climb it to mark the special occassion. My first climb was 5 years ago for Stephen's 15th birthday. And today's occassion is for Atta's dad's big Eight Zero's birthday. We need to do something special to mark the occassion.
Apart from birthday party, the bridge climb seems to be the must-do things for tourists, going by the mug shots in the lobby of the many big time celebs from Hollywood heavies (Pierce '007' Brosnan, and Will 'MIB' Smith) to ace-list athletes (don't know any1 of them. Not a particular sport fan).
Since this isn't my first time, the novelty factor had gone, but I can still look forward to the great vista of the Sydney Harbour in the rarefied air on top of the Coat Hanger and the exercise (was told by the guide that there're 1500 steps in the whole bridge climb. Most of it are stair steps). The Sydney Harbour's panorama are one of the world's best 5 port cities (the other 4 being Victoria Harbour of HK, Bosphorous Strait of Istanbul, harbours of Capetown, and Rio De Janeiro. Been to 3 out of 5. I consider myself lucky).
The iconic bridge is the world's 5th longest arch bridge. The 3rd, and 4th belongs to New Gorge Bridge in W. Virginia(1977), and Bayonne Bridge in New Jersey, NY (1931); both are in USA. The 1st and 2nd are the Chaotienmen Bridge in Chongqing (2009), and Lupu Bridge in Shanghai (2003); both are in China. Like Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Lupu Bridge also provides sightseeing tour. But the climbing are more limited (only 300+ steps along the bow after a speedy transparent elevator trip). If I'm not wrong, the Bayonne Bridge was featured in the remaked War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise. It looks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge without the pylons, which by the way, doesn't provide any structural function. It's just a decoration. Hell Gate Bridge, built in 1916, in New York also has stone pylons like the Sydney Harbour Bridge. With the modern cost conscious mentality and the pursuit of pure functional sleek designs, such gargoyle type extraneous decorative elements no longer appear in modern constructions. Every nuts and brick should only be there if it serves to hold up the bridge.
The climb isn't cheap (cost over $250 AUD for "the Bridge Climb" package. The guide told us this is the best climb of the three. The other two being "The Express Climb", and "The Discovery Climb"). Now you understand why people can only afford to do this on special occasions (the big time celebs of course can do it everyday. Time, however, is what they don't have). A family of 4 would set you back by a grand.
During orientation when we were explained the safety procedures and put on blue overall smocks with zippers in the back, and as many things were hung on our waist belt as a cop, we then realised where the money goes. Don't expect to bring the camera along for photos. For safety purposes, you aren't allowed to bring anything with you into the climb. They adv iced us to keep even our wallets, lose change and jewelleries in the lockers. You will be photographed in two set places on the bridge with their cameras.
A good guide - and Ben was - provided us with many historical tidbits about the bridge and a few good yarns to get the climb even more memorable.
To read the rest of this article, go here...