A notice posted to the poles at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre warns against climbing. (Mike Gregory Photo)

Donation saves Ladysmith Logger Sports pole climbing competition

The death-defying and stomach-turning skills of the world’s best lumberjacks will go ahead this year after a donation was received to replace the two deteriorating climbing poles at the Transfer Beach Amphitheatre.

Town staff posted notices on the poles several months ago after an inspection deemed the log structures unfit for climbing due to rotting.

The 100 foot poles were installed by volunteers a decade ago and replacement was inevitable given the exposure to the elements.

“The two reasons they’re coming out is that they’re starting to rot at the base, but also as the wood ages the outside gets hard making it difficult for climbers sticking their spikes in and the chance of slipping is greater,” said Councillor Duck Paterson, who also helps organize the annual event each September.

One of the more dramatic portions of the Labour Day long weekend event was left in doubt until Otter Point Timber stepped up to help.

The Ladysmith company donated the value of the two 90 foot polls to be replaced at a cost of $9,260.

The town will pick up the $2,000 tab to remove the existing poles and install the new ones.

Paterson expressed his gratitude to Otter Point Timber and the town for ensuring the popular Logger Sports goes ahead as planned.

“It’s great that the town is doing this so we can continue with Logger Sports which is a great fundraiser for Tour de Rock,” he said.

RKM Cranes and Husky Forest Services are also assisting with the removal and installation, which will likely take place later in August.

The top diameter for the poles needs to be more than 16 inches so they’ll likely reach close to 80 feet after being placed in the ground, still above the international competition standard of 60 feet.

As for the old poles, “we’re going to use that wood to replace the top of the birling pond,” Paterson said.

Hopefully news of the new climbing poles will also once again attract Vancouver’s Stirling Hart, who was at last year’s Ladysmith Logger Sports and was recently awarded the world title at the Stihl Timbersports Champions Trophy in France.

Logger Sports takes place this year on Sept. 2.

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