Bridge Climbing

Is Bridge Climbing on the Up?

Are we on the verge of an explosion in the popularity of bridge climbing? If we are, then remember that you heard it on the blog first! A staggering three incidents of bridge climbing have recently been reported by the BBC:

During the early hours of the morning on Friday 26th of December, a man was spotted climbing the Tyne Bridge on CCTV. Police officers told the man to climb back down the bridge, and he complied. He was arrested and given a caution for causing a public nuisance.

A mere 3 months earlier, on Tuesday 23rd of September 2008, a 16 year old got stuck whilst climbing the Tyne Bridge. The bridge was closed to traffic for 20 minutes while the fire brigade rescued him. Unsurprisingly, he was arrested for causing a public nuisance.

“Spiderman-Style” Incident

The most recently reported incident of bridge climbing occurred on the Forth Road Bridge. On Thursday 8th January 2009 the Forth Road Bridge was closed for an hour when a man was spotted climbing the bridge, “Spiderman-Style”. The man was arrested and is due to appear in court.

UK Bridge Climbing

The buttress at Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol was the subject to access issues in April 2008. People have been climbing on the buttress wall, underneath the bridge since 1956. When Bristol City Council banned access to the buttress the British Mountaineering Council were quick in their actions, lobbying the council to reverse the decision. However it all turned out to be a misunderstanding and climbing on the Clifton Suspense Bridge buttress has been resumed.

Another popular, yet not so well known location, for bridge climbing in the UK is the disused railway bridge at Clifton Reynes, near Olney, about ten minutes drive from Milton Keynes. There are two bridges here, built of roughly dressed limestone, offering climbs of about 6 meters or traverses of about 15 meters.

The climbing tends to be steep and fingery. The second bridge is probably the best.

According David Quinn on the UK Climbing website.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climbing

Possibly the most popular Bridge Climb in the world is at Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. Organised by a company called Bridge Climb you can climbing over the Sydney Harbour bridge legally and in safety.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. Source: Flickr by Niels'

Bridge Climbing for Profit

Perhaps the best time to climb a bridge is during its construction, so why not get involved in bridge construction if you like bridge climbing! Climb bridges and earn money. The photograph below shows the construction of third Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, USA. There is  a nice footpath but apart from that, there is not a lot to hold onto!

Tacoma Narrows Bridge
Construction of Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Source: Flickr, by Nordique

The first Tacoma suspension bridge suffered catastrophic failure in 1940 when wind-induced vibrations famously tore the carriageway apart.

The Future of Bridge Climbing

Will bridge climbing become a new extreme sport? If you have climbed any bridges let us know, just click on the “comments” link below. Which bridge did climb? Did you get into trouble with the police?

Obviously we are not suggesting that anyone should go out and illegally climb a bridge. But, if you could climb any bridge, legally and in complete safety, which bridge would you climb? Let us know, just click on the “comments” link below.

Climbing is a dangerous activity. Whenever you go climbing it is vital to have the correct climbing equipment and to know how to use it. There are plenty of safe places to go climbing, the BMC provide a list of indoor climbing walls.

Artwork, a Form of Expression or Vandalism?

Some people like to use the underside of bridges for graffiti. An example is shown below. The main piece is perhaps not the greatest example of graffiti, but obviously took some time, thought and talent.

Artwork or Graffiti on the Underside of a Bridge.
Artwork or Graffiti on the Underside of a Bridge. Source: Flickr by Heart of Oak

8 thoughts on “Bridge Climbing

  1. Humber , Severn , Runcorn Widnes , Middlesbrough transporter , Tees Newport and lots of foreign ones..
    Climbing bridges rocks but has its down side (prison & huge fines if caught) so not to be taken lightly:D


  2. Three friends and I climbed the Thea Foss in Tacoma. It was built in 1912 and closed to traffic since 2007. We climbed the ladders all the way to the very top, then walked across the middle section which seemed very shaky. We did not get in trouble with the police, but probably easily could have. Most fun I’ve had in a long time.


    1. Thanks for your comment about bridge climbing Alex!

      Below is a photo of the Thea Foss bridge in Tacoma. That middle section does look rickety!

      photo © Michael Lane for CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

      The Murray Morgan bridge across Thea Foss in Tacoma: closed to motorists, open to climbers?


  3. I have not ever never not climbed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge twice with my friends 😉 😉 WINK… not during construction on the walk way under the cable, and not after construction on the round slippery when wet giant cable it’s self while harnessed to the two guy wires that run parallel to the main cable. i can “imagine” how AMAZING the view is from the top, and I “don’t” have any pictures from the top, or video of the trip up 😉 just don’t tell WSP that I “didn’t” climb the bridge. Although I doubt they’d care because I wore a harness when I didn’t climb the bridge. I also “didn’t” go inside the legs of the towers from the hatch that “isn’t” on top, and I also didn’t decent down the ladders and spiral staircases that are on the inside of the tower legs. The fun part was “not” coming down the cable of the bridge that I “didn’t” climb, and then “not” having the WSP follow me and my friend in my truck all the way from the bridge to I-5 SR16 interchange. We thought that we were busted for “not” climbing the bridge, but then the WSP “didn’t” turn off and went the opposite direction, towards lakewood and us back home to SKC because we were never there to be followed by the WSP after “not” climbing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  =)  


    1. Thanks for sharing your story about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that you “didn’t” climb. Sounds like you “didn’t” have an excellent adventure!


    2. Hey dave when did you go to climb the bridge was it late at night and nice out? would love to find out more infomation about “not” climbing it!


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