MISSOULA — The Columbia Center in Seattle is the second-largest building west of the Mississippi.
Missoula firefighters are ready to conquer its 69 floors, 1,356 steps, and 788 vertical feet of elevation gain, all while wearing about 65 pounds of gear.
“We'd like to be competitive but we also like to be out in the community and meet community members and fundraise for a good cause,” said Missoula Fire Department firefighter and EMT Andrew Pace.
The firefighters are training and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to help raise awareness and money for those battling blood cancer.
Montana is a close community, and that's why firefighters are climbing this year for one of its own.
“Billings firefighter's son was diagnosed with blood cancer, and he asked us if we would go to Seattle and win the event for his son," said Pace. "So we're climbing for Tristan this year.”
Missoula firefighters have dominated the competition over the last 1o years, winning every year from 2012 to 2019 and having a climber finish in the top three for the past 10 years.
“We all have a little bit of extra motivation to try and put forth a little bit more, maybe up our workouts a little bit more," said Pace. "And we have a huge team this year. I think it's nine members. So for us to have that many people to take their time and to go for this cause is awesome. So I think it's a good chance that we'll bring it home.”
To support the firefighters, you can contact the fire department.