Climb the Wall has been a standing tradition for Hope’s firefighters for a number of years. This year, though, like so much in our world, the endurance event looks different.
The uphill climb takes on a much more literal sense as a team of Hope firefighters are climbing the Hope Lookout in full fire gear on Feb. 28 in support of the B.C. Lung Association. The team members for the 2021 climb are Rebecca Arrowsmith (team captain), Jenn Cook, Monica Cummins, Branden Stewart, Nolan Lothian and Joshua Westcott. Mark Duncan was also on the team but has since moved away from Hope.
In an additional local twist, Hope fire chief Tom DeSorcy is the B.C. Lung Association’s vice chair.
Coming up on its 20th year running, the Climb the Wall event normally takes place at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver, in which firefighters from all over the province climb 48 flights of stairs – nearly 750 steps – in 50 to 60 pounds of firefighting gear to raise awareness and funds for the lung association.
“We know so many of us have been impacted by lung disease, either personally, or through those we love,” reads an excerpt from the Hope Fire Department’s donation page. “We are challenging our lungs for those that simply cannot. The money we raise will support the BC Lung Association’s efforts in air quality and tobacco prevention initiatives, patient support programs and lung health medical research. We all breathe the air. The fight belongs to all of us.”
Thus far, the team has raised almost $1,300 for the cause.
Also sometimes called “Hope’s Grouse Grind,” the Hope Lookout trail spans about 2.5 kilometres outside of Hope and is notorious for its steep ascent and the rewarding view at the end.
In nearby Harrison Hot Springs, firefighter Zack Martyn has created his own approach to Climb the Wall, launching a No Fun Run in which he will run four miles every four hours for 48 hours in support of the B.C. Lung Association. The journey will see the firefighter, who once struggled with asthma himself, loop around Harrison Hot Springs 12 times over the course of two full days.
According to the B.C. Lung Association, 1 in 5 British Columbians suffer from some lung or breathing condition.