Five bucket-list tower climbs

Get bragging rights for these fitness challenges that help raise money for charities

people running, runners indoors


Ready to kick your stairclimbing to the next level? Sign up for a charity tower climb or race. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to step up training. Best part? The thrill of competition, combined with the satisfaction of raising money for worthy charities at home and abroad. And there’s usually swag involved, too!

1. Must-climb event: The Enbridge CN Tower Climb and the CN Tower Climb for WWF-Canada, both held at the CN Tower, Toronto
Why: Bragging rights: you’ve conquered one of the world’s tallest buildings!
Number of steps: 1,776 steps to the 144th floor observation tower
Details: Held each October, the Enbridge CN Tower Climb raises money for the United Way of Toronto. The CN Tower Climb for World Wildlife Fund Canada is held in April each year.

2. Must-climb event: Climb and Run for Wilderness, at the Calgary Tower
Why: This unique tower-climb kicks off with a 1K road-race around the base of the building, then it’s first inside, first to climb!
Number of steps: 802, following the 1K run
Details: This annual Earth Day event raises funds for the Alberta Wilderness Association, and takes place April 12, 2012.

3. Must-climb event: Grind For Kids, at The Grouse Grind, Vancouver
Why: This 2.9K trail up Grouse Mountain pairs challenging terrain with gorgeous natural surroundings.
Number of steps: 2,830 gnarly steps over 2,800 feet of vertical gain.
Details: This challenge is about climbs completed, not speed. Register online for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Grind For Kids challenge, then complete the trail as many times as possible between June and October. You’re issued a swipe card to record your progress, which is posted online. The 2011 record was 343 climbs.

4. Must-climb event:
Vertical Rush at Tower 42, London, England
Why: It’s one leg of the Vertical World Circuit, a network of nine key international tower-climbing events.
Number of steps: 920 steps to 42 floors
Details: The climb raises funds for Shelter England, a housing-rights advocacy organization, educational resource, and charity. This year’s event is March 1, 2012.

5. Must-climb event: Skyrise Chicago at Willis Tower, Chicago, USA
Why: This popular tower-climb is held in one of downtown Chicago’s landmark high-rise buildings. On a clear day, panoramic views from the observation deck include four states. A main-floor, hand-cycle option exists for wheelchair athletes.
Number of steps: 2,109 steps to the 103rd floor SkyDeck
Details: The fundraiser benefits the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which provides innovative clinical care treatment to those recovering from a stroke, brain injury, or other trauma or illness. It’s held in November.