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Report - Athena jib climb, London

Discussion in 'High Stuff' started by loops, May 27, 2009.

  1. loops

    loops AgBr→Ag+½Br2
    28DL Full Member

    Mar 31, 2007
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    Been eating away at my little insides for a while, my friendly neighbourhood crane :) First visit last year in the cold and the fog, after it rocked up to its full height leaving the building behind. Building's 27 storeys, the crane deck two above that and the jib gets up about another seven... 350ft or so to the top.

    Couple of weeks ago I spent half the night stumbling 'round identical undecorated bubble-people flats meeting a lot of big, shiny, new, and locked windows leading onto balconies alongside the tower. It'd been walled in on the lower floors where it used to be easy to step across. Eventually I quit dicking around and wandered past the site office, toilets, and designated smoking area, up to the generators and up a bit of scaffolding over the usual ply box around the base. I've never seen or heard anyone here, even the first time when I ended up hanging upside down from the main gate on my way out.


    Climbing noises and sweating for a while. Reached the deck, festooned myself with assorted bits of nylon, dyneema and alloy and started before I got cold.

    I was imagining a lot of pullups, cranes not being designed as climbing frames particularly, but the bars aren't really that far apart and it's easy enough to switch sides to follow the most horizontal ones. This jib had the 6" strip of mesh floor most of the way up - not so hot for footholds but gave a bit more sense of "floor" to what was mostly "hole". Fortunately I didn't feel the jib move at all. I was expecting bouncing, like the Landmark jib. That one was really the more Playmobil type of crane though...


    Half way up, what with all the twatting around admiring the spacious living accomodation time was getting on and all, and I was getting tired and all, and then it bloody started raining, and all. Crane lube on the hands is actually quite sticky and fine for gripping, which is lucky since I was now covered in the fucking stuff. But water, not so much. I hung from a bar for a while, took some pictures for a while, then down. Which pictures made me cry when the roll came back. Lewis fails to load his camera properly... again.

    Next day I missed some underground excitement with Zero and Siologen because my body was screaming at me from all directions, me being one massive pussy from the quadriceps up.


    FF>> the weekend having brought me a barbeque (improvised from a beer barrel, an angle grinder and a shopping trolley), a full belly, a lot of increasingly shitfaced friends and bareloads of 90s two-step, I buggered off back up there.

    Part II all went smoothly enough... got a little tricky at the top where things get narrow, got even a little more covered in grease than the first time, but film wound on in the camera properly, so eh. I haven't invested in a Manfrotto scaff clamp, so there was a lot of staying quite still, holding the camera against bits of the crane and not breathing while the shutter was open. Hence the limited angles. Sorreh. And the softness :(


    It was what I can only describe as that bitchin' time in the morning when the pollution really disperses the light into that beautiful rainbow band where the sun will rise, and the more serious buildings over in Docklands start to reflect the sky and you can't see into lit windows any more. You see more the little dark streets and the pale buildings in relief than the black mass and the traffic lights. There were birds and car noises and probably milkmen and stuff. Hence, by the way, the blue vs. yellow Dutch colourscheme here... the sky vs. the street lighting. It's better either in the dark with the yellow, or as the sun rises with the pink and the blue. Humble apologies.

    It was frustrating how little I could really appreciate the view at the time. I was much more about the hands, the feet and the anchors than the just sitting. The mind goes very blank when all that's in front of you is four blue bars, four red slings and a shiny MGO. It was even hard to track where I was up to... tricky to see much when you're inside.


    The price of admission: one suit of clothes ruined with grease and concrete dust. One MGO and three crabs needing a serious bath. Three slings I really don't feel like using again and one harness, sticky to the touch. Two sunburnt feet lying in the grass all Sunday recovering.

    A tug of the forelock and a tip of the cap to everyone I bugged about protecting climbs like this. Don't try it at home, now.


    Peace'n'gravity x

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