Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Up at the O2

Yesterday, I went into London, and completed something that has been on The List for ages--and was one of my main goals for this year! Hurrah!
084. Climb the O2
I met up with Lilia, my lovely friend who blogs at Paracosm of Lilies, and we headed over to The O2, which is right next door to North Greenwich underground station!

For those unfamiliar with London's landmarks, The O2 is an entertainment complex that sits right next to the Thames, and includes an arena, cinema, restaurants, and a bowling alley, among other things.

Up at The O2 runs daily climbs over the dome, to a viewing platform on the summit which stands at 52 metres high!

After going in, we watched a short, cheesy safety video, and then the climb guide explained the equipment we'd use.
Then it was on to get kitted out: climb suit, climb shoes, and of course the all-important safety harness.

Once our climb group was ready, we went out into the typically English weather (rain!). A few flights of stairs later and we were on a platform at the beginning of the climb, where a photographer was ready to snap everyone at the start of the experience.
Then it was time to attach our climb latches to the line and begin our ascent!

The walkway was fairly steep at first, though nearer the summit the slope became smoother. It was reminiscent of a trampoline as it bounced a little beneath everyone's footsteps.

Once we were at the summit, we were unhitched from the line and able to roam around the viewing platform to take photographs. I tried to take a panorama but my phone wouldn't quite do a 360 degree shot, so here's a partial one--about 270 degrees!

Our climb guide was on hand to snap pictures of people at the top. Here's Lilia and I grinning and bearing the wet wether--snug in our climb suits! Don't we look fashionable and elegant? (At least they were warm and dry!)

I took loads of photos from the top, but am including just a few here. As the weather was wet, visibility wasn't so good, but the landmarks that were more close by were visible.
Above you can see the Thames Barrier (the line of blobs in the river, just past the bend), the Emirates Air Line cable car, and Antony Gormley's 'Quantum Cloud' sculpture (the fuzzy black thing near the bottom).

Across the river are a bunch of towers belonging to various banks. I think this area has a name, but I don't remember what it is!

The photo is blurry, but the swirly thing in the distance is the ArcelorMittal Orbit, better known as 'The Orbit', or - if you're Lilia and I - 'the red swirly thing'. It was designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. You can abseil down it (I'm not going to do that) and they're planning to open a slide in 2016, created by artist Carsten Höller. You'll hear more about him in a future blog post (and yes, yes I definitely want to go on that slide).

Of course, we had to take a cheesy selfie at the top!

Once all the views were taken in, and all the photographs where taken, it was time to make our descent. Going down wasn't quite as easy as walking up--the last section of the route was a 30 degree slope!

I'm pleased to have completed this goal, as I'd wanted to do the climb since I found out it was possible.
To the more adventurous, this might seem like a tame experience, but considering that a few years ago I wouldn't have even considered strapping on a harness and climbing a 52m high dome (let alone in wet weather) I'm proud of myself for doing it!

This was a fun experience, and a great option for a day out in London!


  1. Oh wow, that looks like amazing fun. And I think you gals look totally elegant in your suits, lol.

  2. Awesome job! I would have found that really scary, for sure. Great selfie at the end--looks like fun :)