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

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

Ryga Arts Festival to include virtual and in-person events

Arts festival in Summerland will run from Aug. 15 to 23

Okanagan and Shuswap MPs want federal funds to help stop invasive species

Concerns raised that spending favours Eastern Canada.

Summerland Ornamental Gardens remain closed

Staff and volunteers continue to weed and maintain plants

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Most Read