Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preparing for the CN Tower Climb!

Are you wanting to climb the CN Tower this year??? Here are some common questions that I get from my members on climbing the CN Tower!

1). What would you recommend we eat before the climb and how long before? Since the climb lasts somewhere around 20-40 minutes per person you do not have to do any carb-loading the week prior. However I would increase carb intake slightly Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Just increase you carb intake slightly each time you eat for those particular days. This will ensure your glycogen storage in your muscles are full and you will have the needed energy to complete the climb in the quickest amount of time possible.

The morning before the climb you should eat what you have always eaten in the morning. Do not introduce any new food at this point. It may cause GI distress or not agree with your system at all. Therefore if you have always had oatmeal, then stick with oatmeal, if you have always had toast in the morning stick with toast.

You want to make sure thou that the meal before your climb is small and light, with little to no fat, and more carbohydrates then protein. Keep it simple: Oatmeal, eggs, and some coffee to kick start you. Eat your meal within 30-90 minutes of the event.

2) Do we get to take the elevator down? - Yes. You will not be allowed to go down the stairs as this will create too much chaos. You will not be allowed to stay at the top for long either. They want to make sure the top of the tower does not get overcrowded.

3)How is the climb done, are people staggered up? - Yes for these climbs that have 2000 + people attending (For WWF its 5000+) they stagger everyone up. If you are one of the first people to make it to the tower then you will not have to wait long in order to climb the tower. You have to go through security checkpoints, but that does not take long. Usually they let 15-30 people go every few minutes.

4) What is the average time of the climb? Our group is regular fitness fanatics - The average time is 20 - 45 minutes depending on your fitness level. For elite females anything under 15 minutes is amazing, for males anything under 13 minutes is amazing!

5) Is it hot in the stairwell? - Depending on the weather conditions outside the stairwell can be cool and dry, or hot and muggy. I experienced this phenomenon last August when I attempted to break my PB. The weather outside that morning was humid and there was fog that day. Inside the stairwell it was humid and got even more humid as we reached the halfway point. I ended up being a minute slower then my previous time in April, even thou I felt I was more conditioned and in better shape. All of my friends experienced the same phenomenon! Lets hope its a cool day outside!

6.) What is the biggest challenge about the climb? - I would say the biggest challenge is being mentally ready to handle the pain of the climb. Especially if you are trying to beat a certain time or break a PB. The mental aspect of climbing stairs that have that much elevation and that quick is the pain factor. You must be tough enough to take the pain and not stop, no matter what. Of course you have to be physically ready to push yourself to that level, or you will be forced to stop. - Psychologically it helps if you know that the total amount of floors is 144.

7.) Can you see outside during the climb? No you cannot. The stairs are closed, with no view to the outside. This is a good thing for climbers. For people that are scared of heights, the stairwell is designed so that you cannot see the bottom when you climb. My advice for people that are scared of heights. Look up at the number of flights done, and keep your feet moving. If you stop you will have time to think...and thinking will get your mind racing!

8.One of the sillies wants to know if the bar is open at the top? - Ironically they do have the bar open early! A few years ago when I climbed the tower I was the first one up to the top. I actually went to the bar at the very top and they were having a ceremony with all the people from the United way that had put on the event. Of course there was no alcohol, but there was plenty of muffins, coffee and juice!

On a side note, if you are climbing to beat a record of if your climbing as fast as you can be prepared to cough for a few days afterwards. I have experienced this every single time I have climbed. It is sue to the rate of elevation and the workload on the lungs. Because of the quick elevation and the extreme workload on the lungs the aveoli sacs in the lungs become slightly damaged, causing you to cough. No worries thou, the damage is fixable and you should stop coughing within a few days!

For more stories on stair climbers climbing the CN Tower check out stair climbing stories from out members here

Trevor Folgering
The Canada StairClimbing Association


  1. *NEW* Stairclimb. The Steeltown Firefighter Stairclimb will take place January 30th in Hamilton, Ont. There are four divisions which include a Civilian division. There are awards for speed and fundraising. The climb website is www.firefighterstc.ca and the climb is listed on the Towerrunning World Association. https://towerrunning.com/races.html

  2. What happens if you get part way up and feel you can't make it the rest of the way?