On Tuesday, May 19, former Marine Corps. Cpt. Peter Robertson stepped out to prove just how young he was on his 70th birthday by climbing the lighthouse 40 consecutive times. The unofficial past record of consecutive climbs was 28 made by a Lighthouse staff member, meaning that if he reached his goal that record would be obliterated.

Robertson came out that day, after nine months of training for the event, with his eye on the prize. He was determined to reach 40 climbs.


Robertson (in yellow) climbing with his trainer (in red) and a colleague from his law firm (in black).

He began climbing at 9:00 a.m.. His wife sat at the bottom of the tower, encouraging him and counting each climb. Throughout the climb, a number of people showed up to support the marine including his colleagues, family members, lighthouse staff, and more. Even people who just came to visit the Lighthouse began cheering him on as well.

After about 18 climbs, Robertson’s personal trainer from “The Fit Club” came to climb the rest of the way alongside him. He encouraged him literally every step of the way.

Robertson’s shining personality showed through throughout his climb as he kept a positive attitude, even in the heat of a humid, Florida summer day. His upbeat personality made everyone absolutely certain that he was going to make it to 40 climbs.

As he began his 35th climb, it was just past three o’clock, and the weather was beginning to look bad. Because he had been climbing for over six hours and had only five climbs to go, Robertson was determined to finish before the weather came in.

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Robertson celebrating his 40 climbs with a gift basket from the Lighthouse.

Anticipation grew as he was getting closer and closer to the 40 mark.

By the 38th climb, a large crowd at the bottom of the tower had gathered, all waiting for him to finish the last two climbs. Luckily, the weather was holding off for him. When he had gotten to the top of the tower on his 40th climb, he looked down at the crowd that had assembled below. He and his trainer began waving at the crowd because he knew he was about to do it. His goal was about to become his incredible accomplishment.

“It’s all down hill from here!” Rick Cain, Deputy Director of Operations, jokingly called up to Robertson.

When the crowd saw him turn to begin the last decent, photographers and journalists began preparing their cameras. The eyes of the crowd began to draw to the door of the lighthouse, where in a matter of seconds Robertson would emerge.

At 4:08, seven hours and eight minutes of climbing later, Robertson came out, putting up his hands in the air for the finish. The entire crowd let out a massive cheer. Robertson had done it. He reached his goal, and it was definitely a photo finish.

Do you think anyone will be able to break Robertson’s record? How many climbs could you do in one day?