The Sheraton Wall Centre towers 150 metres above downtown Vancouver.
The staircase from the lobby to the top floor consists of 739 stairs more than 48 storeys – a daunting climb under any conditions.
But Michael Esau, with the Malakwa Fire Department, took it on in full firefighting gear while sucking a dwindling supply of air through breathing apparatus.
Esau was one of more than 250 B.C. firefighters who participated in the Climb the Wall fundraiser on Feb. 23, benefitting the B.C. Lung Association. He made it up the tower in 13:43, a time he said 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 became aware of the fundraiser after meeting one of the five Revelstoke firefighters who planned to make the trip to Vancouver for the climb. Esau was immediately interested but made a final decision to go just 10 days before the event.
Despite only having less than two weeks to do so, he raised a little over $300 for the lung association.
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 watch before he started his ascent.