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Illegally climbing the Golden Gate bridge at dawn (2011) (nopromiseofsafety.com)
188 points by jcbmllgn 1628 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments

I'm really not sure how I feel about these things. On one hand, these are great escapades, and they result in fantastic pictures. I do like seeing "forbidden and forgotten areas". On the other hand, I would never want to encourage anyone to do something like this. It's illegal for a reason. The reason is not just your own safety. If he had fallen on to the road side of the bridge, not only would he die, but he would risk the safety of others driving across the bridge. Even in the best-case where he doesn't hit a vehicle or cause an accident, the morning commute is screwed up because of what on the surface appears to be another suicide.

People committing suicide would tend to jump off the bridge into the water? There are, very roughly, one person committing suicide per fortnight from the Goldengate Bridge.

One idea to slow down that number o fdeaths is to install a big net. It'll hurt when people land on it, and that might be enough to snap them out of the impulsive decision to end their lives.

The net would cost about $45m.

Some people might feel that spending the money on mental health services and suicide prevention services would be a better investment.


Superficially it's obvious why Fresno CA has such a high suicide rate (14.8 per 100,000) - low employment, high crime, staggering drug (especially meth) addiction. But Sacramento CA has higher rates of suicide (22.7 per 100,000), and it's not as easy to work out why.

I read something about How The Mapo Bridge In South Korea Has Stopped People Committing Suicide [1]. They basically have illuminated signs that say encouraging things to people who are thinking about jumping. Dropped the suicide rate by 77%.

[1] http://www.sickchirpse.com/mapo-bridge-suicide/

I'm genuinely curious how a net to go under the bridge would cost $45m. How?

I've only been there once, but I'm picking that harsh weather, height and the need for attachment points outside the existing bridge make it expensive. I'm not at all surprised that it is expensive, but I am that it hasn't been done yet.

A primary complaint, believe it or not, is that the net would hurt the aesthetics of the bridge.

People have been pushing for a net for years, but a variety of (lame) excuses keep conspiring against it. The reality is that there's no really good reason to keep from doing it...just a lot of little bad ones that seem to win.

It's not really our job to protect everyone from themselves though and adding a net not only would hurt the aesthetic of the bridge, but serve as a constant, dreary reminder of death. In addition, adding a net is simply a small measure at treating a symptom without affecting the cause. Lastly, what would adding a net solve? The people who wanted to kill themselves by jumping off now know there is a net to stop it, so they decide to kill themselves some other way instead.

How about, "The net is estimated to cost $45m and California is broke"?

How about "it's not society's job to keep people (even insane ones) from doing what they want with their own bodies"?

You can take this to apply to everything from the inside of one's uterus to hurling oneself off a bridge.

It is societies job to look after everyone, especially the unwell. I do recall there being a handrail, so someone believes in some safety.

I feel like if we are building a net to catch people trying to commit suicide, we are "looking after everyone" the complete wrong way, not to mention way too late.

Handrails are to prevent accidents by people not trying to hurl themselves off.

You are confusing safety with coercion.

I get your first statement, however If someone falls off due to poor sight/bad knees/inner ear problems or someone jumps off due to a temporary depressive illness, I see little difference. All relate to medical problems. It's not that I'm rabidly anti suicide - I am pro suicide rights - but I'd hardly call a net coercion. Can you explain this for me? Grafton Bridge in Auckland has put up Perspex screens for suicide prevention (and the safely of those under the bridge) instead of nets. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafton_Bridge

I don't feel like "45 million dollars is too much to spend on a device to save the lives of people who are doing everything in their power to die" is a lame excuse, but whatever.

"the bridge" is a fantastic documentary which looks into issues, and talks with some of the people who lost family to depression/suicide on the Golden Gate bridge. Well worth watching

[edit] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0799954

The Golden Gate Bridge is huge - 2700 meters long and 250 meters high, with high winds and fog. That's a pretty large undertaking.

I'm actually really curious if anyone has done some sort of study into the relationship between Maslow's hierarchy of needs and suicide. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if suicide rates go up as you go up the pyramid because you're afforded more time for existential thought.

Freakanomics did a good podcast on suicide. This question was addressed at least a little, by talking about the apparent rareness of suicide in some cultures: http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/08/31/new-freakonomics-radi...

Some Googling turned up this study, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16420711, "The association between suicide and the socio-economic characteristics of geographical areas: a systematic review". At first I thought their conclusions were clear, but I find I have difficulty understanding subsequent sentences with respect to each other. I'm afraid I would need to read the whole paper to understand exactly what their conclusions are.

not sure what this had to do the parent comment, but if there's a net, people will find other ways. It's like making prostitution illegal, did it really cut down on the number of people having sex? Of course not.

As said by Scott, suicide is very rarely a well thought-out action. It's something that is decided on a whim and often passes just as quickly.

Drug companies in Britain experimented by putting pills in blister packs instead of bottles and found out that suicide rates dropped dramatically. Apparently, the amount of time it took to pull each individual pill out of the blister pack was enough to make people think about what they're doing.

The same thing applies with bridges. There have been many efforts to put signs up and obstructive railings in place. They won't deter a really determined person, but they do the next best thing - the people who aren't sure are shown that it's a decision rather than a done deal. And that's what they need at that moment in time.

I'd never considered blister packs as an impulse control measure before; I had assumed it was for ease of dosing/packaging, and perhaps longer shelf-life (The US approach of (until relatively recent automation improvements) manually counting pills into a bottle always struck me as inefficient).

A short transcript[1] from the podcast agrees though, and there's a currently previous[2] and ongoing[3] research into packaging/impulsivity.

There's some other research as well that shows that restricting pack size of OTC paracetamol/acetaminophen reduces suicides, too[4]

[1] http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/05/17/why-cant-you-buy-a-bi...

[2] http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=ht...

[3] http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01118208

[4] http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fj...

But this effectively removes the chance that it'll kill you. Getting to the GG Bridge is not a simple thing to do... If you're going to kill yourself, the impulse is there, sure, but you had to go pretty far out of your way to do it. With a bottle of pills, many people have a bottle of pills from a previous surgery or something sitting around. Way easier to get wasted while depressed and make a rash decision to down the bottle than it is to make the trek all the way out to the middle of the Golden Gate.

You're making the mistake of assuming that someone who is going to end their life is thinking in any kind of rational way.

They're not. This isn't a problem that you can't apply normal logic to. Instead you need to look at what works and copy that - and last-minute disruption/difficulty works.

Here is an example of a suicidal thought process, from my own experience: "I don't want to die, but given the situation I'm in I can't see any other option. I don't want to do it. I just need a reason to keep going."

When you can't find that reason, you do something fatal. The reason can be anything, the smallest thing can keep you going.

Some people kill themselves for different reasons, and I think people that have never suffered from depression have that kind of suicide in mind. The guy who kills himself rather than live with the shame of blah blah blah. (Or for the insurance money for his family.)

That's not a depression-related suicide, and I suspect they're pretty rare. Someone with depression isn't thinking that rationally. If they were, they wouldn't be suicidal in the first place.

But removing the ability to kill oneself by installing a net removes the possibility. If you're going to kill yourself, you don't try to do it via a means that has no chance of success. With a net installed, all the chance of success is removed, so people aren't going to try it there. You don't hear about failed suicide attempts jumping off a car onto grass. And I've battled with severe depression and alcoholism in my past. I spent nearly half a year thinking I was going to end my life every day and instead crawled into a bottle. You're right in that we're not thinking rationally, but at the same time, irrational "I must escape" thoughts also don't drive you to say "hey, I know, let me go way out of my way to attempt suicide in a way that I know will not work."

edit: if anything, more people will probably jump, but not to kill themselves. thrillseekers might do it just for the hell of it (despite the fact there will likely be a big penalty)

From what I have heard and read (see the Freakanomics podcast I link to in this thread), suicide is seen among those that study it as having a large impulse component.

People want to have sex. They do not want to commit suicide, but are driven to it.

This "they will find other ways" idea is silly, dangerous, and not supported by the facts.

I've seen an interesting television program about meth production. It's called "Breaking Bad." If anyone has an interest in the industry I suggest checking it out.

I personally climb bridges (in fact suspensions just like this) and other structures for photography now and then, and i would never do what they did without a harness and safety system preventing me, or any of my gear, from falling. Unfortunately not everyone is safe about it,

things from his post: > A slip of the foot could result in certain death. But We rolled the dice – flipped the coin. > Needing to get above the streetlights and not having time for fall protection I reminded myself to fall to the left should I slip. > https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5209/5315871803_95f74f1027_b...

Scream "this is some young kid who probably should not be doing this". Safety should always be the most important thing when doing anything like that.

Did you read onwards? He clipped himself in with safety lanyards once he was above the level of the streetlights...

"Safety lanyards" could be anything, and there's a whole lot of personal anchors that people think will protect them, but actually won't. The problem being that even in a short fall, your body will generate pretty amazing forces on static equipment.

Black Diamond did a great article about it, though they are going through some growing pains right now with a new website. The article was, "Daisy Chain Dangers"

"I hooked up [two] my shock absorbing lanyards"

You really didn't read it, did you?

"shock absorbing lanyards" could be anything, and there's a whole lot of personal anchors that people think will protect them, but actually won't.


How could he have been more specific that he was using an adequate safety device? Were you expecting him to include the brand?

If he attached the lanyards to anything other than a harness, a fall would end poorly. I've seen people mis-rig harnesses - actual paid professionals who got hurried and got stupid - in ways that would have maimed or killed them if they fell.

A snapshot of his setup would have been nice. Not so much for the gear Nazis, but to keep gear on the radar for readers who decide to try this themselves.

unlike the total lack of gear shown in this photo https://farm6.static.flickr.com/5209/5315871803_95f74f1027_b... ?

> It's illegal for a reason.

Thou shalt remember the 11th commandment and keep it wholly.

I have been BASE jumping for quite a while and within that community there is a strong thread of leave no trace. It reduces the legal risk, eliminates property damage, and keeps it open for everyone else.

Back to Joe, I found his blog and saw a picture of him setting off fireworks on top of a crane I had just climbed and jumped in the city I used to live. I kept thinking the increased security probably should have led to my arrest since setting off fireworks isn't exactly stealth and if I was property owner and found that I'd definitely be horrified enough to increase security. I tracked him down and took him out to an antenna for him to climb and photograph warning him what could happen if he kept posting so publicly. He was eventually was arrested for this:


He was an interesting dude. Modified a car to have a skin of bottle caps all over it. He does not walk to the beat of normal society's drum.

"He does not walk to the beat of normal society's drum."

...says the base jumper.

We come from all walks of life. Met more than a few start up founders, doctors, and Googlers

WTF was he arrested for?!

Defacing public cones... The guy wasn't exactly PAYING for the orange cones he was using.

Consider if every road project has to pay an extra $1000 for lost cones it becomes a police problem quickly and they crack the whip hard.

Amazing things like this make me wish I wasn't afraid of heights. Even the pictures sort of make me feel uneasy. Haha Regardless, this is incredible.

Take up skydiving and then BASE jumping. I too was afraid of heights, then one night I was on a scaffold climbing 300 ft in the air. I thought then, you know this isn't scary anymore.

Skydiving is a good way to ease into it, because you're so high it doesn't have the immediate danger that being lower to the ground, but relatively high does.

If those pictures make you uneasy then watch Jeb Corliss in action BASE jumping from the Golden Gate :-)


You're not afraid of heights, you're afraid of falling. To me, NOT being afraid of heights is irrational.

I am afraid of heights, even when I am not afraid of falling. I dislike being on a high balcony even if I am ten feet away from the edge, with a trustworthy railing there. That's the way my body works - the fear is left over from more primitive times, before high places had windows and railings.

I'm afraid of low railings on high balconies. I don't understand why they build railings that are below the center of rotation of the average person.

I've been complaining about this for years. I want a railing that will stop me from falling over the edge if I get into that situation, not one that will merely ensure I go over headfirst.

I love falling. It's hitting the ground that I'm afraid of.

This reminds me of an old joke. How do you survive a 100 foot fall? Jump off a 110 foot building.

Flying is the art of throwing yourself at the ground and missing.

Hi Ford.

I'm afraid of dying as the result of a fall from significant height, to be clear. Skydiving with a parachute? No sweat. Bungie jumping? Uncomfortable, but not too bad. Being anywhere near the edge of a 40 foot cliff? My palms are made out of water.

there is a way to confront the fear. just find an activity that involves heights, but with other people and safety equipment. like caving for example, like this (I was there): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9ichMz2sCM

Or "hike" the Camino del Rey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Nd1qtk1Go

(I didn't.)

In railfanning we don't look kindly on people who trespass to great the 'perfect shot' because they just end up screwing things up for everyone else with ever increasing rules, surveillance and fences. Please think about the consequences of your actions when doing something like this.

Same for BASE jumping. I had a talking too with the guy from this blog. He was eventually arrested, but after getting a few things we were jumping locked up.

There is a history of tar and feathering (with cold tar) people that ruin it for everyone else.

I explore places like this tons (known as UE) and the rule is never post public photos that could give away entrances/increase security ruining it for future adventurers.

If you like this sort of thing, you might appreciate Vitaly Raskalov [0].

0: http://englishrussia.com/2013/03/22/on-top-of-the-pyramide/#...

I was offered the chance to do this in Egypt. I was told that it was totally safe as long as I brought along enough bride money in the event that we got caught.

I think that'd be worth the bribe money :)

bride money you say? sounds like an even more dangerous adventure.

how much?



Not sure which was the more dangerous part, potential encounter with a water craft, or potential encounter with pathogens or PCBs.

FWIW, http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/hudson_river...

Having swam in the Hudson (NYC Triathlon) and kayaked extensively in the East River (including a trip up the Gowanus Canal - never again), the water quality in the main parts of the river is actually quite good these days. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that most of NYC runs the gutters through the sewage system, so when there is heavy rainfall, the combined output overwhelms the capacity of the system and they release untreated sewage into the rivers. There's a lot of community involvement in tracking water quality in the rivers and you can get real measurements at a fairly regular basis: http://www.nycwatertrail.org/water_quality.html I'd be far more worried about being an unsupported swimmer. Even in a kayak, the danger of boats is quite real and swimmers are even less visible (and slower) than kayakers.

> In a choice between a 300-foot-fall to water and a 30-foot-fall to concrete the winner is discernable if not immediately clear

I'm guessing the correct choice is the concrete, but for some reason I feel like I would still prefer to go for the water...

This is why I love the TV show Mythbusters: they routinely demonstrate how our intuition on these matters is wrong.

(A 30-foot fall onto concrete might still kill you, but a 300-foot fall into water will definitely kill you. And if the fall onto concrete doesn't kill you, it will be much easier to get you the medical attention you need if you're not floating in San Francisco Bay).

Mythbusters: they routinely demonstrate how our intuition on these matters is wrong.

Or demonstrate that things we're sure about are sometimes not quite right:


(Fast forward to 5 mins)

300-foot fall into water will definitely kill you.

Some do survive the actual jump and impact into the bay. Some (very rarely) are even recovered and survive the entire ordeal.

About 2% if I recall correctly.

Huh, I never saw the Mythbusters show. Why would a 300-foot fall into water definitely kill you? I know the world dive record is 172 feet. And terminal velocity for a human is about 120 mph. I imagine if you make yourself flat for most of the fall you could lower that speed and then right before you hit the water take a "pencil" position. Would you not at least have some chance of surviving that?

Water is noncompressible. Maybe the word "definitely" was misused because there's always the possibility for a fluke, but my understanding is that at terminal velocity hitting water is functionally equivalent to hitting concrete.

Look up the "hammer drop" episode of Mythbusters if you want to see the long explanation.

The second point still stands, though. I'd rather fall onto the concrete, where I could get help quickly and if I knocked myself out but survived I wouldn't drown.

In a 300 foot fall, you're not reaching the bottom at terminal velocity. Mythbusters have in fact gone over this a few times and the results are a bit different - falling from such a height onto more or less anything is almost certainly lethal. Given equivalent height, even at terminal velocity, you're still slightly better off falling into water.

You're still going about 80 mph. Just from memory it's roughly 20 mph/second until you hit 4 seconds where it's reduced to 10 mph/second due to air resistance. The greatest chance you'd have is to impact shallow water with mud. This has saved at least three people, of which there are fairly spectacular Youtube videos.

Water is incompressible. So the fall ends up being pretty close to 300 ft. to concrete vs. 30 ft. to concrete. Entering the water toes-first would just mean you have broken legs as well as being dead.

It seems to me the surface tension is the deal-breaker here. When you land feet first, your feet break the surface of the water, which allows for the water to move around the incoming object. You want to minimize distribution of force to only the bottom of the feet.

Of course the force exerted on your feet would more than likely break your ankles and possibly your knees/legs, and severely impinge your hip joint. In addition, your head will likely receive an extreme "punch" as it comes into contact with the water. This alone might be enough to knock someone unconscious or kill them, but it depends on their neck, chest, head, body position, etc.

So if the mythbusters test were done again, it should definitely not be a really fat pig landing on its side; it should be a skinny dummy landing perfectly straight.

I am not a scientist, but I do have experience with cliff diving. (The real trick is when the water level is low, you have to expand your body as soon as you hit the water so you don't shoot down and hit the rocks at the bottom!)

They did some stuff with cliff-style diving too (not quite that high, but it was good enough). That's one of many episodes that convinces me that they play at being more ignorant than they really are in the show, for dramatic purposes; it just isn't plausible that they do enough research to find a guy specialized in high diving, but somehow didn't find out what he could do before he came. I enjoy the show and I enjoy the results, but wish they would be a bit more honest at times, or be a bit more willing to say "Before we start, here's what the 'book' answer to the question is", because it's often obvious they have it. Also, editing makes it hard to tell, but it's pretty clear they very often come prepared with plans B and C to the offsites, again, making it pretty clear that they aren't as surprised that A failed as they play at.

It's the density and incompressibility. When you slap water, it hurts because there is more incompressible water in the way of the water you slap, not because the film on the surface of the water is holding together. Falling into water from some great height is pretty similar to slapping it. A smoother entry dissipates the energy of the fall over a longer period of time, reducing the experienced forces (hence diving).

Ah ok, not tension but area. So basically the less water you hit, the less force will be resisted.

If you're a diver, or sky diver, or trained you might have the sense to try that, but for the majority your brain is going to be screaming 'oh fuck' when you're half way down.

Not to mention when the fall knocks you out, you won't drown on concrete, unlike landing in the water.

Mythbusters busted that myth. Water is preferable to concrete they determined...

This is lovely and amazing!

90% of chance of law enforcement to be in touch with you soon, unfortunately. This is akin posting Youtube video of yourself breaking legal speed limits.

Just FYI:

    Date: February 24, 2011
If they haven't given him a call by now, they probably don't care at this point.

No, I know people who get arrested for stuff like this years after the fact.

I wonder whether the statute of limitations applies to such things. I hope it does.

It'd be trespass and other crimes on federal properly, so 5 years, no?

How is it federal property? It's owned and operated by an independent quasi-governmental organization.

The bridge is classified as a national monument, which would protect it as federal property.

I can't seem to find a single thing online that supports your statement, either concerning the monument part or federal jurisdiction of the bridge.

Further, it does not appear on this list:


I'm assuming you made an error.

On what evidence? He has some pictures on the web, so? Same with the speeding movies. What are the grounds?

Police can and have arrested and charged motorists on the basis of those YouTube movies.

I caught myself wondering why climbing the bridge has to be illegal.

You can't practically damage the bridge. You will mostly just hurt yourself if something happens. Theoretically the worst that could happen is you could fall onto a car but the damages incurred by a dead climber would be peanuts for any insurance company — people crash their cars by themselves alone all the time. And that could already happen because climbing being illegal doesn't stop the people who want to climb the bridge, as demonstrated in the article.

Of course, there's there "could" track where anything "could" happen thus it must be declared illegal before it happens, but you can extend that thinking to nearly everything until living just becomes impossible. For example, it "should be illegal to climb the big rocks on the shores because you could fall on an innocent party on a boat".

I would be inclined to reserve the illegal status for activities that actively affect other people. Stealing, mugging, murdering, manslaughtering, kidnapping, etc. Conversely, accidents just happen.

Because if the general public was doing it 50% or better would be squished. Public employees have to clean your guts up off the pavement each time it happens. It's not "victimless" after the same old guy has scrapped 30 people off the bridge and has mental health issues.

It is the most photographed landmark in the country

I am sorry but that is BS. I could not find any statistics about "photographed landmarks" but a quick check of any measure of tourism and this seems extremely unlikely. For starters San Francisco's tourism does not come close to NYC.


> Mining data from 35 million Flickr photos, scientists at Cornell University made some surprising discoveries: Not only did the world's most photographed cities (and the most captured landmark in each) emerge, but also so did the most common angles for shooting each place.

There are some American cities in the top twenty-five; and some Californian cities there; and San Francisco is listed at number 3, but for Union Square, not the Golden Gate Bridge.

This[1] AOL page has another list of US sights. (http://news.travel.aol.com/2009/08/27/must-snaps-americas-mo...) - they say it's the Coit Tower.

[1] A bafflingly bad page! Here's the tiny text-reading box on my display. (http://imgur.com/aRPqWr5)

Why did you say "there are some American cities...and San Francisco is listed at number 3" and not mention:

  1st most photographed city: New York
  Landmark: Empire State Building.


Found the source[1], the golden gate bridge did not make their list of top 7 in san francisco. Which could be due to the methodology but it is important to note that there is a problem of selection bias in the article, which may artificially inflate SF's prominence. Its worth pointing out that for NYC landmarks the apple store was ranked higher than liberty island (AKA statue of liberty). Francophiles can rest easy, the Eifel Tower crushed the competition.

[1] https://www.cs.cornell.edu/~dph/papers/photomap-www09.pdf

"> Mining data from 35 million Flickr photos"

I'm not sure Flickr can be considered an accurate representation of the majority of photographers.

That's what the tour guides say in SF. Actually, some of them said it was most photographed in the WORLD.

Is this a joke?

I've heard the same stat before ( I think I read it some place else) but it made no sense, either.

Awful choice of font colour.

The font color is dark gray #333 on a background of black #000. There's barely any contrast at all.

(edit: According to the Luminosity Colour Contrast Ratio Analyser [1], the luminosity contrast ratio is 1.66:1. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines recommend a ratio of 4.5:1 [2]. That'd be #777 on #000.)

[1] http://juicystudio.com/services/luminositycontrastratio.php

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-WCAG20-20081211/#visual-audio-...

I will be the contrarian and say it was a great choice of font color for at least 2 reasons.

The first is purpose: those dark images really stand out on the dark page, and the text is easily ignored, creating lots of attention on the photos and their extraordinary qualities (location, location, location, not to mention some pretty colors and compositions). Face it, the text is for people who want to know how it was done, which is one tenth the importance of "pics, or it... never mind."

The second is aesthetic. The article title "Mr Strauss' masterpiece" is even darker than the text, and the blog title "No Promise of Safety" is so dark as to be almost invisible. Hence, you have to assume that all choice of dark colors was intentional, thus serving some intent of the author. The idea of hiding in the shadows and having secrets revealed is strengthened by the text color.

Thus, I feel the dark text contributed to the impact of the page and its content. Not everything has to be perfectly readable or follow all rules of design.

Better than pure white though. Too much contrast is problematic for some people.

On my screen however, I literally couldn't read it without selecting all the text.


Direct sunlight is a bitch.

He missed the part of the story where he has to get back down!

Maybe he's still there.

Performance art from the Williamsburg Bridge:


If you enjoy these sorts of stories, you'll love watching Man on Wire -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_on_Wire

Mesmerizing. Apart of the glitz, I think of living in a city, is exploring.

When I was young with friends in SF (we were around 12), I remember the most adrenaline pumping thing we did was walk in the muni tunnel off I think Duboce (back in 01', so I'm not sure of the right names) and we'd always climb to roof access in the condo where they lived.

There's a lovely little book by John Law which includes climbing this bridge, back in the 70s: http://www.furnacepress.com/publications/law.html

Why does every photographer have to use that "make colors look like xbox games" effect on their photos? I much rather look at unprocessed photos that have not been distorted by color enhancing filters.

Someone has an idea to find what camera he used? I tried to find it on flickr and google.image but there is nothing. I really like how it captured the colors and the light.

You can get a permit for this and do it legally: http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/tours/golden-gate-brid...

Looking at those photos it seems like they just have a staged segment where you can get a "climbing the tower" picture taken, not actually climb the tower.


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