Brian Bishop has been climbing lighthouses since he was eight years old, ascending towers along the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and both sides of the Atlantic. During Bishop’s childhood, the lighthouse next to his dad’s restaurant on the pier at St. Simon’s Island, Georgia, was his personal playground. As an adult, he gravitated toward the structures as calming refuges from the chaos that engulfed his life. Throughout some turbulent years of addiction, recovery, depression, anxiety, and renewal, Bishop never stopped finding lighthouses to ascend.
“It became a spiritual outlet as much as a physical exercise,” Bishop says. “A lighthouse was always a signal of strength and stability—of hope.”
All of that was thrown into doubt when Bishop started having problems with his left leg in 2012. It began with a small but persistent infection; as the condition worsened, he endured multiple debridements and surgeries over a period of years. When Bishop finally opted to have his leg amputated below the knee in 2017, his doctors couldn’t assure him he’d be able to get back to climbing lighthouses. But he knew. Eight months later he was in Key West, climbing.