I climbed a wind turbine


I really like Halloween. It’s pretty much the only time of year where eating way too much chocolate and treats is completely acceptable for breakfast, lunch and dinner, when adults have the excuse to parade around in costumes like children, and where children knock on doors dressed up as cute princesses or superheros and adore you for candy. It’s a pretty sweet deal. Or in Erin’s, and my case as children we were hunters every year. Yup, we’d raid my Dad’s working-the-in-woods closet grab our orange hats and walk (errr, drive) up and down our dirt road. There were no other children, so needless to say we cleaned up! Isn’t Halloween great! But as you get older the spirit of the holiday changes. Trick-or-treating is no longer cool, and passing out candy is the fun part. Then it becomes all about the Halloween parties, but no matter your reason for celebrating dressing up is always a must.

This year my Halloween weekend was particularly scary. And not in the traditional spooky ghosts and goblins kind of way. This year I was going to climb a wind turbine! Trust me this may have been more scary then the trick-or-treaters who came to my door.

You’re probably wondering how in the world did I manage to get myself into this mess? Well, for those who may not know I work at a renewable energy company. Yes, the same very fit bunch of people myself and Erin climbed the CN tower with all those months ago. My job involves events and community outreach, so naturally when TREC (the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative) met with myself and my boss about an upcoming fundraiser they were planning it was my job to help facilitate it through. Little did I realize I would be taking part.

This video would scare anyone away. Apparently bullfroggers climb stairs, not turbines.


The idea behind the fundraiser was to encourage people to raise money for TREC and in return they could climb the turbine down at the CNE. Bullfrog decided to participate (this only made sense) and invited customers to come along and climb with the Bullfrog teams. Great idea! I thought everyone and anyone interested in renewable energy would be curious to know what the inside of a wind turbine looks like. I guessed wrong. Either that or no one was interested in being on my team because the facebook invite received zero responses. But I have to agree, climbing with Tom would have more fun. I’m just the event coordinator not the president. So instead, myself and three other lucky colleagues were in.



Sunday morning arrived and after an evening of Halloween fun, I figured I had nothing to worry about. Again I guessed wrong. Climbing the turbine all the way to the top was not like the CN tower with stairs. Oh no. I climbed the rickety old metal ladder. I was harnessed in and had to wear a hard hat and everything! But I was looking quite official, and felt it too. As we went inside our friends at TREC made sure we were safe and went over standard safety precautions. But I all of a sudden was terrified. The turbine was sectioned into three stories, so you couldn’t see the very top from the bottom. This was a small piece of mind knowing you couldn’t fall all the way to the bottom. Climbing (of any sort from what I’m guessing) takes patience and rhythm. You need to find a steady groove with your hands and feet as you move up or down. I discovered this partway through, but once I did everything was better. As we reached each story the walls of the turbine got progressively smaller and smaller — yes, we could feel the swaying as we stood still — until we reached the very crowed top. The mechanics behind these things is so cool! As I poked my head outside I could see all of Toronto. That was quite a sight! Knowing I was inside a turbine only added to the coolness.

So what does climbing a wind turbine have anything to do with fitness? A lot actually because let me tell you I was sore and bruised my chins from hitting the ladder. And when you’re holding on to something in a death grip, hanging on for dear life, your whole upper body is working hard. Plus the fear factor adds to the thrill. If anything climbing is an interesting sport I never thought I would have the guts to do. But may be I do now? I always wanted to check out The Rock Oasis. I always hear good things.

Ummm… a new years fitness resolution 2013? It is very possible!

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