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Report - Willington Cooling Towers: A different angle - 25/05/2014

Discussion in 'Noteworthy Reports' started by Bigjobs, May 27, 2014.

  1. Bigjobs

    Bigjobs Official Smartarse
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    What's the process that leads you to be climbing halfway up a cooling tower while your mate is sat on a light fitting above you, grinning to you from his perch like a ginger hawk?

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    Well, this story started several years ago. I was busy running up and down chimney ladders and tower cranes most nights, and it had started to feel normal, run of the mill almost, and I was looking for something new. So when we visited Thorpe Marsh cooling towers, I knew I needed to get on top of them. AndyJ, Pixilulu & I drove back one day to test a theory I'd had, and I managed to get some paracord over them using 20 condoms full of helium, but the day had run late, and so we left it at that.

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    picture courtesy of pixilulu

    It was some time later that I found out about Willington, and that they were doable. It was years still till I figured out how to do them, safely: of sorts.

    The constituent parts that encompass doing this came from unlikely places, finding out how rough the concrete at the top was came from a skydiving instructor who had BASE jumped one in Belgium (no rope over the top). Which tower to climb came from getting halfway up the first one previously (the bolts get real small when you get past the first light fitting). Previously, I'd been belayed from the ground, but that proved to not be an ideal way to do it. The longer the rope, the more the stretch, the longer the fall if it all goes tits up, and I fucking hate falling. There were lots of little problems that you wouldn't normally think would be an issue, and the answers came when I was least expecting them.

    It really was a case of try, fail and come back later. 3 trips I made to this place before we sat on top. It's kept me awake at nights, and given me something to think about when driving home after a night of running around sites when everyone else in the car has passed out.

    The difference this time was that the belayer was going to come up behind. This fixed 2 issues. Firstly, the dynamic rope was never really that far away, 25mtr at most, and secondly, there was someone there with you while doing it. It was damn lonely when I got halfway on my own.

    Morse had said he wanted to climb it, so he was going to second me, but he was away this weekend, FB wanted to do it, and Morse agreed it was ok.

    FB wanted to lead a part of it at least, and as I'd already been halfway up, I proposed that he lead the first part, and we switch at either the light fitting or the door. Getting to the light fitting, he offered to let me past, but I was quite happy following him up, so he took the lead all the way to the top.

    We made it up to the door, had a rest, sorted gear, and FB lead up to the top. I'll leave it up to him to describe that.

    Felt like the king of the world. Eventually. Seeing as I was shitting myself when I got up there. Took ages to calm down enough to get my camera out, but FB had brought some ham & cheese sandwiches and lucozade along, so that was nice :D

    On with the pictures, some DSLR, some phone.



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    WraithPriest, Windy, BillAnd and 7 others like this.

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  2. fb

    fb big in japan
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    Man that was long, we were on the bloody thing for hours but I loved every minute. I think the first couple of sections were by far the most strenuous, but after a bit we got into a decent rhythm until we hit the top. The bolts don't go all the way to the top lip you see, they finish about 3 meters below it. The only thing you have to go off then (other than the slightly forgiving incline of the bare concrete) is the top light fitting. Mega faff x 1000, especially when you have to make it safe in the event the 50kg block of metal you're hauling up onto (that you have no way of inspecting) falls off and takes the whole show with it.





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    and back down from the 3/4 point for a cheeky 75m abseil. Hoo Rah!

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    #2 fb, May 27, 2014
    Last edited: May 27, 2014
  3. GAJ

    GAJ Mr Muscle
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    Absolute yes, beyond yes & all of my yes! Fucking top work on this one, so glad you went back for it & you've nailed it properly!

    Well done guys, absolutely awesome stuff :thumb
     
    roadie0169 likes this.
  4. Clough

    Clough L.L.S
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    We walked round here yesterday and found loads of cut climbing rope must of been yours. Jesus christ you guys are mad. Unreal well done
     
  5. raisinwing

    raisinwing 28DL Regular User
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  6. The Franconian

    The Franconian 28DL Regular User
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    cool action and very nice / good shots
     
  7. jST

    jST LLS.
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    Fuck man - you mental bastards. Like Cregg says, we saw the red rope at the base of the second tower and thought it could have only been you lot.
     
  8. Bigjobs

    Bigjobs Official Smartarse
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    The red rope.

    I retired that rope several months ago, gave it to my dad to use on his building site, got it back to give to someone else, and never got round to actually stop using it.

    When I got down, I made sure I could never use it again, it was stupid using it here (or anywhere really).
     
  9. elliot5200

    elliot5200 28DL Regular User
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    Mmm that sandwich must have tasted good! Looking forward to the page 3 ;)
     
    KM_Punk likes this.
  10. Idle Hands

    Idle Hands 28DL Regular User
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    Love this :thumb

    Well beyond my capabilities though!
     
  11. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Fking lunatics..whats wrong with you people....fantastic and a great write up but the pictures say it all :thumb
     
  12. Pixielulu

    Pixielulu away with the fairies
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    HA! brilliant, I thought you would never get this done, well done at last!! pics look fantastic :)
     
  13. paulpowers

    paulpowers Massive Member
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    Menthol like a locket

    Did you see the peregrine falcons
     
  14. Leeds(Ex)plorer

    Leeds(Ex)plorer 28DL Regular User
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    Mad skills and much balls, top work lads!!
     
  15. Mr Beady

    Mr Beady Over 8
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    Christ. Mental. The view looks mint
     
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