Physically disabled scale the world's highest church tower

On 14. July 2007, 16 wheel chair users from all over Germany scaled the Muenster  tower in Ulm and enjoyed by radiant sunshine, the view over the city of Ulm and the alpine foothills.The narrow winding stairway of the church tower was conquered with the help of a mobile stair climber.

Normally wheelchair users do not have the possibility to scale the world's highest church tower because it does not have an elevator.

A view from above

The first group started at 9 am with four wheelchair users from Berlin, Cologne and the Ulm region. The wheelchairs were attached to a mobile stair-climber by means of a quick release fastener. First to take on the challenge was the team who made the stair-climber available for this campaign, from the Ulrich Alber GmbH. Man and machine mastered the 392 step ascent to the top of the 70 metre high tower with little effort. The ascent lasted just 30 minutes. After arriving at the top the climbers were greeted by the tower's caretaker. He told them all that was worth knowing about the gothic tower and presented everyone, as a reminder with a souvenir made of the same sandstone that was used in building the tower. After the presentation the wheelchair users enjoyed the view from the special viewing balcony over the City which lies on the banks of the river Danube all the way to the Alpine foothills. I was already on top of the Muenster tower as a young girl - then on foot. "Today however I perceived everything much more consciously. I especially enjoyed the light breeze on top of the tower. It was wonderful!", says Stefanie Höhe from Unterensingen ecstatically. "It would be nice if there was more opportunities like this one", says Marie Versteeg from Cologne, then there would also be more communication between disabled and non-disabled

Warm reception

The participants arrived safe and sound back on Muenster place after the almost 30 minute descent down the stairway that was on this day closed for normal use. The organisation team were the whole day in action for the four group trips to the top of the tower. Just before midday the participants were greeted by the Patrons of the event, the Lord Mayor of Ulm, Ivo Gönner and the Dean of Ulm, Ernst-Wilhelm Gohl. Dean Gohl gave his blessing and said we want that all people can visit the Muenster tower. It's fascinating to see how disabled people, thanks to modern technology, can take part in life. This is a super, highly professional event. "The warm reception shows that the event drew more than just the attention of disable people", remarked the Lord Mayor with pleasure. The ascending of the Muenster tower took place for the seventh time this year and is a very special experience for wheelchair users. "The participating wheelchair users were so thrilled that we have resolved to do it again", said Micheal Urso from Ulrich Alber GmbH. The campaign initiated by his company should draw attention to the fact that steps are a barrier for people with disabilities: "in reality two steps up to a bakery pose an insurmountable problem for a wheelchair user", states Bernd Engels, head of production management at Alber. Climbing historical buildings or church towers is mostly impossible for wheelchair users. "The scaling of the Muenster tower is for this reason a very special confirmation of our work."