Why Climbing A Building Using Suction Cups Is A Bad IdeaPosted: September 7, 2010
Last night I ran across news coverage of Dan Goodwin climbing the Millenium Tower building in San Francisco. Though he obviously successfully ended his climb, I’d have felt better about his chances if he had been using anything other than suction cups.
Suction cups have never worked for me. I certainly don’t see climbing 40+ stories with them as my lifeline. Let’s me run through my experience with suction cups so you can see why I believe them to be a poor choice should Mr. Goodwin decide to pass on using the elevator again.
The Dart Gun
When I was little I liked to play with dart guns. I’m not talking about an animal tranquilizer gun like they used on nature shows back then. I’m talking about those spring loaded guns that launched a suction cup tipped dart. In a perfect world, those darts were supposed to stick to their target, assuming the target was smooth and solid.
Apparently I did not live in a perfect world because those darts never stuck to what I shot them at – the target that came with them, windows, televisions – they never stuck for me. Sure, one of you is saying to yourself “you have to wet the cup”. I tried that, it didn’t work either.
The Bow And Arrow
Undaunted by the consistent failure of the dart guns, I saved my pennies and eventually bought a toy bow and arrow. Same concept, except a little kid bow and rubber tipped arrows. Again, no luck.
Suction cups had let me down again. On top of that, things sort of got broken when I actually hit what I aimed at. Generally the breakage was not well received.
Gladys, The GPS
I own a GPS system for my car. I know that isn’t anything unusual, it’s just the only application for suction cups that I am aware of in the adult world. My GPS, Gladys, attaches to my windshield with a suction cup.
I use the term attach very loosely here. The usual plan is that when I get in the car for a long trip, I stick Gladys to the glass where she hangs and tells me where to go. This arrangement suits us both well.
Unfortunately, our friend the suction cup does not like this arrangement and releases its grip at inopportune times. Gladys the GPS then crashes to the dashboard, and tumbles off uselessly on to the floor of the car. If she keeps working after her fall, she typically sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher under the passenger seat. The combination of space age navigation and a 1960’s bow and arrow attachment system renders Gladys useless.
Gravity VS. The Suction Cup
My friends, I believe my portion of the suction cup based building climber population is fairly small. So I address my concerns mostly to the rest of you. I hope that if someone you love is a building climber, you can address your concerns with them using this post as a conversation starter. If you are a suction cup building climber, I urge you to reconsider your hobby.
In the battle between suction cups and gravity, gravity will always win – ask any kid with rubber tipped arrows