The Wrong Kind of Urban Climbing


A week ago today, an 18-year-old man, who according to police had been drinking, fell 100 feet to his death after slipping while trying climb the steel undercarriage of the Maple St. Bridge above Peaceful Valley. It would be easy to lecture about how senseless this tragedy is but the first thing it makes me think of is stuff I did that was almost stupid at age 18–when death is still an abstract concept to most people.

The other thing I wonder is: what kind of urban climbing is okay? I participated recently in the Peaceful Valley Parks Charrette and one thing that was suggested was to put climbing holds on some of the Maple St. Bridge supports so that people could climb them. This has already been done on the sly in High Bridge Park.

Would adding climbing holds to the bridge be an innovative outdoor recreation idea or would it encourage more dangerous behavior like last week’s bridge climbing fatality?

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