Seven-hundred and seventy-five vertical feet consisting of1,204 steps in 55 flights of stairs, all leading to the top of Calgary’s Bow Building.
That is the formidable endeavour a pair of firefighters with close ties to the Sicamous department will be taking on, the weight and bulk their firefighter turnout gear adding to the challenge.
Sicamous firefighter Dan Roddick and Jessy Horsfield, who was on the Sicamous Fire Department for four years but now lives in Fort St. John, make up team Time to Bail. They will be ascending the Bow Building’s staircase in what Horsfield estimates is 60- to 80-lbs of firefighting gear as part of the annual Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge on May 5.
Roddick and Horsfield have worthy causes spurring them on. The firefighter stairclimb challenge raises money for Wellspring Calgary’s efforts to support firefighters and other community members who are impacted by cancer. Horsfield said she is also making the gruelling climb in hopes of raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer, which she feels is under-funded and lacks the notoriety of other cancer fundraising causes.
Horsfield said she plans to send gold ribbons, a symbol of childhood cancer awareness, to everyone who donates to their cause.
This will be Horsfield and Roddick’s third ascent of the Bow Building, having participated in the fundraiser for the past two years.
Horsfield said the challenging climb took them by surprise the first year and remained strenuous the second time, but the elation they felt at the top had them resolved to take it on again.
“It’s quite the challenge. Both mentally and physically,” she said.
Although she has two years of experience behind her, Horsfield said this year’s climb may be the toughest yet; she fractured her ankle and tore all the ligaments in it. Horsfield said she has received clearance from her surgeon to take on the climb, but the injury threw a wrench in her training and she expects it will make the climb more difficult.
“This one will probably be by far the hardest one and the most painful one, but the cause is far greater than what I will experience in the climb,” she said.
Horsfield said firefighters from all over the world travel to Calgary to push themselves in the stairclimb challenge. She said participants are expected from Europe, Australia and many parts of Canada.
Donations supporting Wellspring Calgary are received online at calgarystairclimb.com. Those wishing to donate to Roddick or Horsfield in particular can do so by searching their names under the ‘show a firefighter support’ tab.