A tall order – Paul takes on 5,462 steps again

Paul Smith from Aylesbury is trying to break the world record for climbing a vertical mile at Tower 42 in London. Picture sent by Paul.
Paul Smith from Aylesbury is trying to break the world record for climbing a vertical mile at Tower 42 in London. Picture sent by Paul.

An Aylesbury man is looking to step up to a record-breaking challenge for the second time after falling just short at the first ascent.

If climbing the 902 steps of a 165-metre building once sounds a tall order, then doing it more than six times in less than an hour might seem an impossible task.

Paul Smith is aiming to do just that and become a world record holder in the process.

Last year, Mr Smith scaled London’s Tower 42 nine times in non-stop succession and thought he had done enough to take the record on the way. But after discovering the building is actually shorter than he thought, Mr Smith was heartbroken to learn he had reached the vertical kilometre mark five minutes late.

Now he’s back for a second bite at the cherry and is once again raising money for Shelter, with his climb coinciding with the charity’s annual Vertical Rush event at the tower.

Mr Smith said: “It was a bit gutting to say the least.

“I was beaten last year and I don’t take that lying down. This is a revenge trip.”

To prepare, he will be spending an hour walking up the down escalator at Tesco Broadfields today (Wednesday), as he did last year.

After each ascent on the day he will take the lift back to the bottom of the tower and begin climbing again. He believes the lift journeys could hold the key to his success or failure and is already eyeing up a new tower to tackle should he fall short again.

Mr Smith, of Fairford Leys, said: “Every elevator ride down is one and a half minutes out of my hour. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be pivotal. If I don’t do it this year it will probably be because of the lifts.

“If I fail I will probably approach the Shard and see if I can do it there. I think the lift travels faster in a taller building and there will be fewer lift journeys coming down. That would be a last-ditch attempt.”

Scaling 5,462 steps in an hour to become a record holder will not be enough for Mr Smith, though. Even when he has passed that mark he will go on to reach the summit 10 times, just for the fun of it.

Mr Smith said: “It’s quite a strain physically and mentally but I enjoyed myself last time and I’m keen to give it another go. Raising money for a very important cause is just a bonus, but I hope people will want to support what I’m trying to achieve. My burning thighs will thank them.”

Mr Smith will taking on the challenge on March 5. To find and more and sponsor him go to www.justgiving.com/mileup