Chris Backhouse, Patrick Schryburt and Tom Clements of the Lake Country Fire Department participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Big Virtual Climb fundraiser Saturday, June 13, 2020. The event had moved online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled the March 8, 2020, in-person event scheduled in Seattle, Wash. (District of Lake Country)

Chris Backhouse, Patrick Schryburt and Tom Clements of the Lake Country Fire Department participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Big Virtual Climb fundraiser Saturday, June 13, 2020. The event had moved online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled the March 8, 2020, in-person event scheduled in Seattle, Wash. (District of Lake Country)

Lake Country firefighters climb mountain in lieu of stairs

International fundraiser goes online in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

Lake Country firefighters were unable to attend the annual stair climb event in person in Seattle, but the novel coronavirus couldn’t stop a few members from donning their gear and taking the steps anyway.

More than 2,000 firefighters from the United States and Canada were slated to climb to the top of the Columbia Centre in Seattle, Wash., on March 8, but the novel coronavirus forced organizers to think outside of the box and create a virtual backup plan.

Instead, the Big Virtual Climb challenged firefighters to tackle 61-storey climb or around 1,762 steps — equivalent to climbing the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco — on June 13.

Three local firefighters, Chris Backhouse, Patrick Schryburt and Tom Clements, trained for several months before taking to the base of Mt. Baldy and ensured a congratulatory fist bump concluded the climb at the peak.

“As we have nothing of that height in our area,” Backhouse told the District of Lake Country of the 61-storey climb, “we chose to do a hill climb instead, using Mt. Baldy as it is fairly similar in height and a steady, stair-like climb.”

“Not all stair climb events are done using full SCBA and breathing tank air, but as our original event does, we followed through with the full gear,” he said.

The gear, Backhouse said, weighs between 50-60 pounds in total.

Backhouse said he and his colleagues prepared by using a stair climber and circuit training at the fire hall.

In a trip to Vancouver, Backhouse said he took advantage of the hotel’s 30 or so floors to practice in full gear.

The event, which was originally to take place in Seattle, Wash., was swapped to a virtual climb in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the required physical distancing.

The LLS Firefighter Stair Climb is an international fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Backhouse said although he’s disappointed the original event was cancelled due to the virus, he is looking forward to the next one.

“I’ve got to do it now.”

READ MORE: Provincial funding sought for Okanagan child care centre

READ MORE: Couple apprehended on stolen motorcycle in Lake Country


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap Revelstoke’s homeless outreach coordinator Carly Shipmaker and practicum student Sarena Bryden take a turn on Thursday, May 6 on the stationary bike. They were cycling under the blue sun canopy outside the CMHA thrift shop to promote Mental Health Week and to prepare for this year’s Ride Don’t Hide event in June. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Getting the wheels turning for Salmon Arm’s Ride Don’t Hide event

Canadian Mental Health Association awareness and fundraising campaign to run throughout June

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Interior Health provided updated data breaking down the vaccine administration totals in communities throughout the region on Monday, May 3, 2021. (File photo)
Nearly 40% of Shuswap adults vaccinated

More than 12,000 people in the Salmon Arm health area received their first COVID-19 vaccine

Ian Syme gets ready to swing the bat during skills training and picture day for Salmon Arm Minor Baseball 6U players at the Hillcrest Elementary field on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Young Salmon Arm ballplayers in training

Salmon Arm Minor Baseball Association seeking sponsorships for batting cage

The monthly totals from Jan.1, 2020 to April 30, 2021 show COVID-19 cases for most Local Health Areas in the North Okanagan-Shuswap, other than Vernon’s with the largest population, staying well below 400. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
16 months in, COVID cases in North Okanagan-Shuswap areas stay under 1,000

Vernon, with the largest population, hovers under 900 cases since January 2020

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The Primary Urgent Care Centre on Martin Street officially opened on March 31, 2021. (Brennan Phillips)
Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District reverses funding decision on care centre

Approval now granted to fund $1 million for Urgent and Primary Care Centre in Penticton

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New temporary outdoor shelter in Kelowna opens

The new area on Richter Street and Weddell Place replaces the Baillie Avenue site

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read