TORONTO – Only halfway up its 1,776 steps, one participant in the CN tower charity climb is already passing the frozen bodies of those who didn’t make it last year.
“It’s hard to see all those frozen bodies in their T-shirts and spandex shorts,” said climber Laura Gregg, taking a brief second to make the sign of the cross over one of the route’s many ice mummies. “But there’s nothing you can do for them.”
Although the frozen, warped and sunbleached bodies of former climbers line the route to the CN tower’s summit, some aspirational drive still causes thousands to attempt the ascent every year.
“Man was meant to go beyond,” said Clark Horner, keeping his grip on the banister in spite of all that the furious elements could do to dislodge him. “Ex-cel-si-orrrrrr!”
Horner was then picked up by a slight draft, and flung down 1,342 steps to his death.
While many wish the city would do something about all the bodies, experienced climbers say it’s too difficult and dangerous to bring them down, and that it’s the kind of funeral plot any true climber would die for.
“This is what Jimmy would have wanted,” said Gregg, crouching beside the frost-scaled body of her late climbing buddy, as a bird tried to peck one frozen eyeball out of the corpse’s head. “To die in the pursuit of the extraordinary is no death, but an eternal life.”
“Do you have any Gatorade? I’m pretty thirsty.”
If Gregg makes it to the summit alive, she says it will be an even greater personal achievement than the time she rode her bike from the lake all the way up to Yonge and St. Clair.