Its hard to believe that Monday this week marked four years since I took on my first challenge….. The challenge to climb The Gherkin.
A challenge that took a twist when my CPiC and I decided rather than to climb the height between us, we would climb the height each.
For me, ‘The Gherkin’ was to prove (mostly to myself) that I could undertake that level of endurance. For Simon it was a slightly different challenge; for him it was about climbing blindfolded.
A challenge that together, we improved upon in May 2017 when we chose another iconic and interestingly nicknamed building of London’s skyline when we set about the challenge of scaling all 225m of ‘The Cheesegrater.
So….. 180m up a gherkin, 224m up a cheesegrater.
What number could possibly come next?
Can you keep a secret?
What if I told you the number involved was 270?
What would your thoughts be?
I can also tell you that the next challenge WON’T be a climb. However, it will very much involve LONDON.
All the climbing of 2016 has taught me so much more about myself as a climber, I am going to need to work on my technique dramatically if I am to turn my 1st place into a Team GB place.
This doesn’t mean that I am giving up on my fundraising, now more than ever I want to show my worth and EARN my Resound Hearing Aids, but with my climbing partner currently our of action, as the post title suggests ‘The Cheesegrater is going to have to wait’
Just days before Christmas, my climbing partner in crime underwent an operation for a hernia, one that has left him unable to train for a minimum of six weeks. So with him not even being able to go to the gym until mid-February, let alone climb. I have made the decision to postpone my climb.
Yes, I can climb with another partner.
No, I am not sharing my climb with ‘climbing partner in crime’.
But…… He is my motivator, my muse and my forceful “not let me down until I have reached the top” coach. It wouldn’t be right to climb without him as my belay.
The new date is looking like late March, early April. But no date is being set until the whole of ‘Team T’ is fit enough.
First a gherkin; Next a Cheesegrater !! is where I wrote about my challenge back in October, it was hoped that the climb would happen later this month, but health comes first and so, I am going to be cheeky and link you to the Crowdfunding page that has been set up for me, ‘HelpTeeHear’ where you can see why I am doing all of this.
My world is getting quieter in addition to darker and I’m not happy with it, not one little bit. I want to be able to keep me, my independence and my love of technology that helps me to do all this.
So, my shameless plug is above, please take a moment to have a look.
And in the meantime, follow me for more updates on the climb and my other adventures.
September two years ago, I set about climbing The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) in the form of a relay climb at Calshot Activity Wall … My climbing partner did it too, he had a harder challenge I feel, as he took it on wearing a blindfold. Together we set out to climb the 180m (591ft) between us, but having done that within 3 hours, we upped it to challenge ourselves further and finished 5 hours later; just before the wall closed for the night having climbed the height EACH.
It has been an odd time since then, I have trained with my now working guide dog Fizz, moved house and discovered that my hearing is failing me along with my sight.
My climbing style has changed and these last few months I have found myself thrilled by the enjoyment of competing and moving my climbing forward to include bouldering and it just top-roping.
This leads me into my next challenge. In December I shall compete in the final heat for the Team GB Paraclimbing team, which is no mean feet, and most definitely not something I would have dreamt was possible just six months ago. It was through contact with The Molly Watt Trust, a charity that supports those with Ushers Syndrome that I made contact with John Churcher, a fellow climber who has both a visual impairment and a hearing impairment, who just happens to have been on the GB team for several years.
Molly Watt (an inspirational young woman) has done lots of work with and around raising awareness and support for people with ushers Sydrome and RP (the family that my eye condition belong to) She is a big believer in technology and has been using for some time Resound Lynx digital hearing aids. These hearing aids are fully compatible and work with an app on an iPhone to be adjusted, directions and tested. They also work as headphones to listen to music and with the addition of a small microphone enable her to be hands free to make and take calls.
I am not always so, but I try to look for the positives and I decided that if I was loosing my hearing, if I had to go through all this, then I wanted to do it in the most comfortable and least obtrusive way. But at just under £5,000 for a pair, that isn’t going to be easy.
My climbing partner and dearest friend Simon set up a crowdfunding page, I wasn’t keen and felt ‘odd’ asking for friends to help me pay for these.
SO…… I have decided to do something to EARN the money from my friends and family, in the form of sponsorship. And this is where the ‘Cheesegrater’ comes into it.
That is the nickname given to The Leadenhall Building, 122 Leadenhall Street, the 225m (738ft) building that towers over The Gherkin; as is shown here:
So, the challenge …… To climb this height, all 228m of it, that is a whole 45m MORE than The Gherkin or 147ft in old money!
The tallest straight wall at Calshot is 14m (45ft) meaning that it will take 17 climbs up the wall to complete the equivalent of the buildings height.
Sounds simple when I break it down like that. But I know I have lots of training ahead of me, and a date to set. But I hope that you would agree, it is worth a little bit on sponsorship money?
The fundraising page: HelpTeeHear is up and running, so feel free to pop over and have a look, it shows the hearing aids in much more detail. I would appreciate your support.
On Wednesday 17th September, me and Simon faced our challenge of climbing the height of The Gherkin. We set out to climb the 180m between us. We felt that this was a realistic challenge to conquer.
How wrong we were……
The climb equalled 90m each, on a stretch of wall we both knew well. The climb was for endurance, rather than climb technique. After all, Simon faced a bigger challenge than me. He had to climb blindfolded. I have only ever climbed blind, so I didn’t have that additional element to deal with.
We got 120-odd meters into the climb when we both agreed that it wasn’t enough. We then made to interesting if not slightly bonkers decision to continue climbing, until we had both individually climber 180m.
I say bonkers decision, as we both felt the adrenaline going at that point…. The very same adrenalin that began to wear off at around 300m. Redbull, Kendal Mint Cake and Dextrose Tablets saw us through the last 60m….. Along with a VERY large amount of finger tape !!!!!
It was an amazing adventure. One that has left a few scars and bruises, but one that has spurred us both on to do something even bigger and even better.
So, having doubled the climb height, we are still pushing forward to ask those who wish to support us to show their support. The Just Giving page is still up and active. As is the ability to send a text donation from your phone.
Having started rock climbing earlier this year, I have found a real passion for it. I am always after a challenge though, so thought to myself “Why not bring the two together?” So, I decided that my challange for 2014 would raise money and awareness for Open Sight, a Hampshire based charity that has helped me so much within my sight loss journey, that I want to give something back.
So, a climbing challange it was to be. Simon too needed to agree as I can’t climb alone. He has on occasions climbed wearing a blindfold, so that he can understand how I climb, so he agreed that any challange we took on, he would ‘equal the score’ by wearing a blindfold. He has many many years of climbing with challanging himself to reach a higher grade, he agreed that he too needed the challange, so he suggested the blindfold.
The type of challange was decided, the who was involved was decided. Now to decide the distance…..
Something BIG. Something ICONIC. Something even those with no sight could understand its SCALE.
IT HAD TO BE A SKYSCRAPER !!
The Shard in London was suggested, but at 310m (or there abouts) it was too big. A buiding that comes in at just under half its size came in as a suggestion. The Gherkin, named as such for its fully glazed exterior and dome shaped top resembling that of the pickled vegetable.
It measures 180m or 510ft in old money. As the building is completely glazed it isn’t physically possible to ACTUALLY climb it. So, between me and Simon, we will climb the equivalent distance of it at Calshot Climbing wall.
Me with my limited vision and Simon wearing his blindfold.
I think he is beginning to regret that decision, as he is probably now facing a larger challenge than me!
So, now for the ‘over to you’ part of this post.
This is a personal challenge for both me and Simon, but in doing this we wish to raise money and awareness for a great charity Open Sight…. We can do the climb (I hope) but we can’t raise the money without your help.
Please support us via our Just Giving Page www.justgiving.com/gherkinblindclimb or click the button below.