On Saturday I climbed over the O2 with a group of friends, a fun and different thing to do.
Having been underwhelmed by the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the O2 climb. I definitely wasn't expecting it to be as hard to get through the front door as it was!
We dutifully arrived fifteen minutes early for our appointment (as requested) and were told to go away. We then went back a whole FOUR minutes early and were again told we needed to wait until our allotted time. The slightly ridiculous start aside it was a good day.
After the quirky safety video it was time to get kitted up. We were all given the obligatory boiler suit and a safety harness to put on. A nice touch was that you were allowed to take a camera / phone with you as long as it could fit into a small pocket on your sleeve.
The first part of the ascent is very steep (a 28 degree angle) and I was pleased we weren't climbing in the rain as the ramp was reasonably slippery as it was. After the initial steep section the climb flattens out considerably and it is quite a gentle climb near the summit.
The best thing about the climb is the circular viewing platform at the top. We were able to unlatch from the safety rail and wonder around, looking at the view and taking photos. London's east doesn't have one of the world's most glamorous skylines. Canary Wharf wasn't as impressive as I thought it might be (perhaps that is because there are lots of good views of the Wharf to be had round London). However, there views of the Thames Barrier, Royal Naval College and glimpses of the Olympic Park.
Our guide was quite knowledgeable pointing out a Henry VIII hunting ground a few other sites. It made me think the experience could be more interesting if the guides gave a short talk, pointed out some of the key sites and threw in the odd fact about the skyline.
After 10 - 15 mins on the viewing platform it was time to descend down the other side of the O2 towards 'North Camp'. It is actually slightly steeper on the descent (30 degree angle) and I was again pleased the track wasn't slippy from rain.