Firefighter plans Big Climb

Lake Tapps residents Scott and Kristy Thorsteinson are gathering names for those who would like to join Team Climbing for Caleb in the 2009 Big Climb, taking place at 11 a.m. March 22 in Seattle’s Columbia Tower. The event benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Lake Tapps residents Scott and Kristy Thorsteinson are gathering names for those who would like to join Team Climbing for Caleb in the 2009 Big Climb, taking place at 11 a.m. March 22 in Seattle’s Columbia Tower. The event benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Scott Thorsteinson, 30, is a North Highline Fire District firefighter who has climbed the building’s 69 flights of stairs annually since 2002. He and his wife have served as team captains of the Big Climb for four years and Scott has served as team captain for the Firefighter Stair Climb for seven years; that climb will take place two weeks earlier on March 8, when he will attempt to beat his 2008 time of 22 minutes, 25 seconds while dressed in approximately 50 pounds of gear.

The Thorsteinsons had the largest team in last year’s event, he said, which honored the couple’s nephew, Caleb Thorsteinson, 21 months old and diagnosed with leukemia. The LLS has designated Caleb as this year’s honoree for the event.

“Last year, there were 247 people on our team,” Scott Thorsteinson said. “This year we are shooting for 300-plus. We raised close to $35,000 as a team.”

Participants of the climb wear a timing chip on their wrists and race up to the top of the tower in 15-second intervals. Along the way, water stations are available every 10 stories and they can view large photographic displays of young patients. Once they reach the top, they have not only a view of the city from the highest point in Seattle, but the chance to see additional photos.

This year’s organizers are limiting the number of participants for the climb. Scott Thorsteinson encouraged those who wish to participate to register as early as possible and sign up for the timed climb.

“This way, we’ll all stay together and won’t get split up to different parts of the building,” he said.

To register or donate toward the Big Climb, visit www.bigclimb.org and sign up with Climbing for Caleb, or call 206-427-9558.

Reach Judy Halone at jhalone@courierherald.com or 360-802-8210.

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