The Winchester

"Not all those who wander are lost" – Tolkien

Vertical Limits

with one comment

April 2011

My own sense of reality struck as I harnessed up at the base of the jib. The City of London is a noisy city, sirens screaming at all hours of the day, and as Neb explained how he would lead up the crane, climb down and then allow me to top-rope up, my legs turned to jelly and cotton-wool mouth took over. As often as we big ourselves up on blogs and forums, it’s remakably easy to feel very small when faced with a new and intimidating task such as this. I withdrew, electing instead to play a supporting role in Neb’s climb by belaying for him.

The crane at Aldgate is a substantial enough climb as it is, mounted from within the building site and taking on ladder after ladder until the dizzy heights perhaps 25 stories up are reached, affording some excellent views of buildings such as The Gherkin, Tower 42 and Heron.

I’ve done cranes before – in the most primitive of terms you can describe them in two ways. Either they’re shaped like a ‘T’ or like a ‘Y’, and it’s the ‘Y’ shaped cranes that offer another challenge. Once at the cab, the ladders stop and the only way up to the top is via climbing the skeletal frame, a climb that paralysed me with fear. There’s nothing in place to aid the would be climber, just the climbing tools that you put in place as you climb up.

One of the reasons for this fear was the exposure that I felt at the top of this crane. Although from street level, it’s hard to make out the top of the crane and even harder to identify any activity, rational thought is removed from the psyche and the desire to depart without any authoritative consequence as such can be allowed to dominate.

We talk of pushing boundaries and the achievements both sub and sous-terrain made in recent years have been excellent, however it is the personal crusade in which to better yourself, to have the richest of experiences and to enjoy every moment of life that surely pushes each and every one of us into new and exciting ventures. Although I enjoyed the experience of being at the crows nest of this sizeable enough crane, I left feeling a pang of regret at not pushing further, onwards and upwards to the level of those such as Neb and Loops, who can truly look down at this city with pride.

I’d hate to get into the habit of leaving dissatisfied with the experiences I have, but as you tick more and more off the mental list you create in your head, you also look to enrichen the experiences that you have by pushing yourself. I’m not as good a climber as many of my peers, and both this and allowing fear to take over and dominate is something I need to work at in myself. It’s rational to get scared and overcoming that in instances such as this is a requirement for the experience just as much as finding a way over a fence or past a security guard.

Written by Winch

April 19th, 2011 at 11:49 pm

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  1. […] much as I enjoy heights, acts such as this tend to make me question my own abilities to maintain concentration without those thoughts of panic setting in. As such, I tend to avoid interactions like this, my […]

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