Michael Esau was all smiles after completing the 2020 Climb the Wall fundraiser benefitting the B.C. Lung Association. (Karen Esau Photo)

Shuswap firefighter ascends Vancouver high rise for fundraiser

Michael Esau climbed more than 700 steps in full gear for B.C. Lung Association

The Sheraton Wall Centre towers 150 metres above downtown Vancouver.

The staircase from the lobby to the top floor consists of 739 stairs over 48 storeys – a daunting climb under any conditions. But Michael Esau of the Malakwa Fire Department took it on in full firefighting gear while sucking a dwindling supply of air through a breathing apparatus.

Esau was one of more than 250 B.C. firefighters who participated in the Climb the Wall fundraiser on Feb. 23, which benefits the British Columbia Lung Association. He made it up the tower in 13:43, a time which he says put him in the middle of the pack of firefighters.

When he isn’t climbing stairs or fighting fires, Esau works at the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre. He said he became aware of the fundraiser after meeting one of the five Revelstoke firefighters who were planning to make the trip to Vancouver for the climb. Esau was immediately interested but made a final decision to go 10 days to before the event.

Despite only having 10 days to do so, Esau raised a little over $300 for the lung association.

Read More: Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Read More: VIDEO: Minister says consider coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break

On the day of the climb, Esau dressed in his firefighting gear and took the start line with the rest of the group. Esau has been a firefighter with the Malakwa department for a little over a year. In that time he has done plenty of training while breathing tanked air. He said in his normal training, a tank of air will last him about 40 minutes. He said the exertion of climbing the Sheraton Wall Centre’s stairs, along with the excitement and adrenaline that came with competing in the fundraiser, caused him to go through air much faster. Three quarters of the way through the climb, Esau found he was going through his air too fast and had to deliberately control his breathing the rest of the way. When he reached the top he had less than 10 per cent of his tank remaining.

Read More: Neskonlith chief lays blame for ongoing protests at feet of Justin Trudeau

Read More: Salmon Arm man arrested after damaged safe found in truck

Esau said he appreciated the camaraderie among the firefighters taking on the climb. The firefighters went up the tower after competitive stair climbers and non-competitive teams also participating in the fundraiser. Esau said the teams with health challenges, including one made up of people coming back from traumatic brain injuries, were very inspiring to see before he started his own ascent.

When the call for firefighters to enter the stair climb challenge goes out next year, Esau plans to be ready well in advance. He hopes to shave time off his climb and also recruit other firefighters from the area to join him.

Donations to the stair climb challenge remain open online. The donate page can be found on the B.C. Lung Association’s website where donors can search for Esau’s name in the list of participants.


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

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Demand doubles at Revelstoke food bank

Community Connections concerned whether they can meet increasing need

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

COVID-19: Revelstoke 3D printing face shields for local hospital

‘The response has been completely overwhelming’

Revelstoke Search and Rescue notice significant drop in calls

SAR across the province dropped roughly 90 per cent last week

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

Doctors trained abroad want to join front lines of COVID-19 fight in Canada

B.C. is looking to allow internationally trained doctors to work under the supervision of attending physicians

Fake test kits and other COVID online scams play on public anxiety: fraud centre

Vancouver has seen a spike in commercial property crimes, with offices and stores empty because of COVID-19

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Feds amplify stay-home message as cost of financial aid to Canadians mounts

Liberals have unveiled around $200B in direct financial aid and tax deferrals

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

World COVID-19 update: Six million U.S. jobless claims; Russia sends medical aid to U.S.

Comprehensive update with COVID-19 news from around the world

COVID-19: South Okanagan community salutes frontline medical staff

“Honk for the unsung heros. Thanks to each and every one of you”

Most Read