Seriously. Really friggin’ early this morning, we’re talking 6 am on a Saturday, before my body could even figure out what the heck was going on, a good friend of mine hauled my butt downtown to do a charity walk up all 1,776 steps of the CN Tower. That’s 113 stories, in case you were wondering. This is an event that I have considered doing, and then talked myself out of doing, multiple times over the years, but it finally became a rather sobering reality today. I was originally going to do the climb with my friend Klodia, but she unfortunately had to back out for medical reasons. So, climbing by myself it would be – well, along with tens of thousands of other nut jobs, that is.
Now, if you are not familiar with the CN Tower, then you are clearly not Canadian. It’s as simple as that. Even if you are, here are some interesting factoids about it that you might not know:
- Built in 1976 for C$63 million, it officially became one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World in 1995 (according to the American Society of Civil Engineers).
- It is the world’s tallest Tower at 1,815 ft 5 inches = 553.33 m (where Tower is defined as ‘a building in which less than 50% of the construction is usable floor space’).
- It is still the tallest free-standing structure in the Americas. For other ‘mine is bigger than yours’ phallic building comparison trivia, click here for the wikipedia details.
- The glass floor was opened to the public on June 26, 1994.
- The 360 Restaurant was opened to the public on April 25, 1995.
- It takes 72 minutes for the 360 Restaurant to revolve all the way around once.
- 1,330 super bright LED lights were added to the tower’s elevator shafts in June 2007.
- In 2011, The Edge Walk around the outside roof of the 360 Restaurant at the CN Tower opened, and has been officially recognized by those lovely Guinness people as the highest external walk on a building at 1,167.97 ft = 356 m above the ground. The only appropriate reaction to reading that and seeing the photo below is WTF!?!??
Getting back to that point about the magical 1,776 stairs, which, by the way, is a big part of what makes it the tallest metal staircase on earth, I have a bit of a bone to pick. The ‘core’ part of the stair climb, between the points where they stamp your time card, consists of 144 flights of 12 steps each. That number does not take into account the ‘bonus’ stairs you need to climb to get out of the parking lot, or into the Atrium on the skywalk in the first place, nor the stairs up and down to go around the current aquarium construction to get to the main entrance.
What it might include, though, are the absolute bull-shite extra 10 or so mini flights of stairs tucked away behind hidden door number one, that you only go through after they stamp your time card and you think you’re all done. I have never come so close to throwing up on someone merely out of spite in my entire life.
To be fair, I’m pretty sure that they recommended doing some kind of training for this event. Oh, I don’t know, like maybe a few months of serious cardio, preferably on a stair master, might have been a splendid idea… As much as all that effin’ hot yoga helped with my flexibility, no amount of tree poses were going to help subside the pounding in my head and aching in my lungs from the sheer effort of breathing during the climb to that altitude, which was past the point where my ears popped. I still managed to record a slightly above average time of 27:44 (that’s in minutes), which I am delighted with, all things considered.
The highlight of the day for me, though, had to be when I told my friend to wait for me at the base of the tower, saying that I should be done in about half an hour. Well, after a full hour went by, she started to get somewhat concerned, knowing that we had been out for drinks the night before, that we had gotten precious little sleep, and that I had not really done any cardio training whatsoever. In fact, this led her to bet money against me being even able to walk after the climb for like a week. So, naturally, she asked if there had been any ‘extractions’ from the climb under my name. Hilarious! That did somewhat help to explain the look of amazement she had when I did finally re-emerge. The delay was in large part due to the lineup in the women’s toilet at the start (naturally), but mostly to the lengthy queue at the top to get the elevators back down.
So, will I ever do it again? As much as I like to believe in never saying never, I am fairly confident that my answer is a resounding ‘hell to the no!’. I mean, why would you when there are perfectly good elevators available? And it’s not like there’s a giant wheel of cheese with a side of porto or anything waiting for you at the top, or even a snuggly live baby polar bear (did I mention that the charity was the WWF?). Now imagine what an incentive it would be to have live bears chasing you up the staircase… THAT would definitely help to improve my personal best. But there’s probably some kind of rules or whatever against that… Ah well. In any event, I feel completely justified in taking the rest of the weekend off from any form of exercise besides lifting my elbow. Hope to be walking again like a regular person real soon. Cheers!