The event has firefighters racing up 69 floors of the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle wearing full structural firefighting turnouts and an airpack, all while breathing air (facepiece on, regulator clicked in). This translates into 788 vertical feet of elevation, and 1,356 steps. Competitors start at the 4th floor, are allowed a bottle change on the 40th floor, and then continue on to the observation deck at the 73rd floor. Gordon was lucky enough to have his father be his bottle changer and give Gordon that extra encouragement to finish out the competition.
Gordon trained for this event for over 3 months and found it to be one of the most physically difficult and demanding things he has ever done. Gordon finished with a time of 18:53-429th out of 1794 overall, and 43rd out of 203 in his age group. To put that in perspective, the overall winner of the event finished with a time of 10:43! Truly amazing given how absolutely grueling and painful this competition is.
Every competitor must raise at least $300 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in order to participate, and due to the amazing generosity of Gordon’s family and friends, Gordon was able to raise nearly $3000. Every dollar raised for the Stairclimb goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Gordon’s dedication to this event was in memory to the Fountain Valley Fire Department’s retired Captain Larry Hammer Jr., who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in early February 2016.
Next year the department may look into bringing a team of Fountain Valley Firefighters to participate in this incredible event to raise money for such a worthy cause.