Super AVP scampers down skyscraper

Posted on Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jim Nicell pauses to check out the view as he rappels down the side of a 22-storey Montreal office tower Thursday to raise more than $4,000 for a charity that sends disabled kids to specialized camps. / Photo: Adam Scotti.

By Doug Sweet

A McGill flag draped across his shoulders, Associate Vice-Principal (University Services) Jim Nicell clambered off the top of a 22-storey Montreal office tower Thursday and rappelled down the side, raising more than $4,000 for a charity that sends disabled kids to specialized camps in the process.

“I felt nervous in every single cell of my body at the same time,” Nicell said afterwards. “My nose was nervous.”

The event, Montreal’s Drop Zone 2012, took place at 1981 McGill College St., which is best known as a blue office building with the big white statue of a crowd of people in front of the entrance, a block and a half south of the Roddick Gates. The daylong event involving a number of “superheroes” was in support of Easter Seals Québec, which supports programs designed to foster the growth and integration into the community of children with special needs and responding to their families’ need for respite.

It’s a cause that’s dear to his heart, Nicell said.

How did he feel before he started? “About the same as when I took on the AVP job,” Nicell joked, saying that creeping over the top edge of the 300-foot-high building was the toughest part.

“It was a very interesting experience. You had to put your trust in a rope to hold you for 22 stories.” And the rope, he said, became elastic as he progressed down the building, causing him to bounce up and down when pausing.

But the big question is: would he do it again?

“I think I would,” he said, upon reflection. “Now I feel confident with the equipment. It was a very neat experience.”

With feet planted back on terra firma, Jim Nicell shares a post-rappel smile with his family. / Photo: Adam Scotti.

Two minutes later, he noted, however, that he could cross this off his “bucket list.” Which suggests there may be no immediate plans for a repeat.

A sizeable crowd of McGill staff cheered the exploit, and Nicell acknowledged their cheers by stopping partway down and turning to wave at the people below.

That’s when he got a much clearer sense of just how high off the ground he was.

Was it tough to turn around and wave?

“I had to force myself.”

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Category: Extra! Extra!

2 Responses to Super AVP scampers down skyscraper

  1. enrico says:

    Mr. Nicell, (Jim) never seizes to amaze me, known him since he was a prof. When work gets tough for me all I need to do is see what he’s involved in, he’s always doing something in helping the McGill Community & the environment. I get so motivated in seeing him doing what he does to the point I too began volonteering in bettering McGill and I owe a great part of this to Jim amongst others, he has always inspired me.
    PS: doesn’t mean I’m going to be climbing down any building anytime soon! lol


  2. Maria says:

    Well done Professor Nicell! Your family including McGillians must be very proud of you. Too bad I did not hear about it, I would have come to watch you conquer that building. Bravo!!!

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