Owner of Seattle’s Great Wheel claims climber not part of publicity stunt

Jun 25, 2012, 5:47 AM | Updated: Jun 26, 2012, 5:31 am

A daredevil poses atop
Seattle’s Great Wheel in a photo posted to an anonymous
Flickr account.

Seattle’s newest landmark attraction doesn’t open until
Friday, but at least one daredevil has gotten an
unprecedented and unauthorized view from the top,
illegally climbing the structure and posting pictures of
the exploit online.

While some have guessed that the climb and photos were a publicity stunt, the co-owner of the Great Wheel said that’s not the case.

“We had nothing to do with it,” said co-owner Kyle Griffith.

One of the pictures posted on photo-sharing website Flickr shows the daredevil
straddling a beam atop the 175-foot wheel on Seattle’s
waterfront. Another shows him
standing on one of the spans, while a third offers a
unique perspective from high above through the structure
towards downtown.

Griffith said when he first heard the news, he thought it must be a misunderstanding, that it must have been one of their maintenance people working on the wheel.

Once he saw the photos – Griffith knew someone had broken in.

There is no indication of who the climber is, his face
was blurred out in the posted pictures.

The culprit was likely a professional climber, according to Griffiths. They were wearing climbing shoes, and scaled parts of the wheel that weren’t designed to climbed by maintenance workers.

Since the incident, the owners of the Great Wheel have stepped up security. Some of the security cameras weren’t functioning at
the time, and they are adding additional fencing around the property.

Griffith said they’re happy no one got hurt, but they probably won’t be able to identify the culprits in the coming days. “We tried to see if we could identify anybody, but they had their faces all wrapped up, so you couldn’t tell anything from that.”

Seattle’s Great Wheel opens to the public Friday. Rides
cost $13 with discounts for children, seniors, and
military members.

Wheel climb

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Owner of Seattle’s Great Wheel claims climber not part of publicity stunt