Last Updated: June 2016
My experience in climbing the CN Tower on behalf of SOS Wildlife Control for the World Wildlife Fund CN Tower Climb for Nature on April 16/16
Prepping for the CN Tower Climb
After learning about the World Wildlife Fund’s event WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature, we realized it was surely not an event to turn down. WWF’s CN Tower Climb for Nature is a fundraising event that supports work conducted to help conserve the different type of species and habitats in ecosystems all around the world. The 2016 fundraiser was among the largest group to climb raising approx. $1 million for this cause and I was very happy to have participated on behalf of SOS Wildlife Control Inc.
I met all the qualifications and was registered for the CN Tower Climb by April 13th and thought to myself “okay, I’m really doing this”. This was my first attempt to do the climb and I was excited but also nervous on what to expect. With the support of the S.O.S Wildlife Control staff, friends and family, i figured I could do this and had Adrian, fellow boyfriend, join me on this mission up the 1,776 stairs. Thankfully, he said yes.
Days approaching the climb, I had been mentally and physically preparing myself by taking the stairs at every opportunity, drinking lots of water and getting excited for the walk. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy route up, but I was definitely up for the challenge. By 9:30 am on Saturday April 16/2016 I arrived at the Metro Convention Center downtown Toronto to check-in at registration. There were a ton of people, all eager to participate in this climb, solo climbers, teams, families. Once we were all checked-in began the journey to the bottom of the CN Tower. A shout out to all the volunteers who helped out at this event and made the entire process extremely easy for all the climbers, they did a great job! At the bottom of the stairs, we were met with security ensuring that all our items had been left at the bag/coat checks as it was a completely hands-free climb- no cell phones, water bottles, wallets, or anything that wasn’t important documents, medical information etc. Once we had passed this, the climbing began.
The first point was to stamping our time-sheets. 10:02 am. We were met with someone I presume was security who high-fived us and wished us luck and then suddenly it was official – I was at the very bottom of the CN Tower, on my way to the top. The staircase was quite standard. Wide enough to fit two sets of climbers, right-side for walking and left-side for passing. I began on the right side. I had made it a couple flights up before feeling the effects. I was tired, my legs were sore and I was out of breath so I took a break and slowed down my pace. I feel like I maintained a reasonable pace after my first break and kept climbing up with Adrian giving me support and encouragement when needed. Several flights up I wanted to know my progress. Each flight was numbered, but I had forgotten how many there were in total so it felt like a never ending journey, unsure of how close I was to the top. The question came to mind several times during the climb.
Throughout the journey up, you never once feel alone as there are people ahead, behind and passing you through most of it feeling the same way you are. In addition to this, every once in a while you’ll hear somebody’s voice echo through the staircase yelling words of encouragement! The sights weren’t dull either. Posted on the walls were pictures drawn by children encouraging climbers to keep going and reminding us of how we were supporting a great cause. I remember one that said, “just a couple hours left!” and I have to admit, my eyes widened. Participating in the climb were also people dressed in costume. Teams in brightly colored tutus, a guy in a Spider-man outfit – this definitely took your mind off the fact that 500 steps remained!
As we continued, more and more people were crowding at the base of each flight taking a breather. I still didn’t know how many flights there were in total, so I didn’t know when I was getting closer to the top, but seeing these people resting was an indicator that were maybe getting closer? I was sweaty, exhausted, and needed a drink of water. I hoped we were almost there and so did the people around me. At one point somebody had yelled, “does anybody see sunlight up there?” and I had that exact question. Suddenly, you hear cheering above you, and you know the end time-sheet stamping station was approaching . I gained momentum once I knew the end was near, and jogged up the final steps. My sheet was stamped at 10:34 am. 31:49 was the amount of time I needed to climb up 1,776 stairs. I’d like to think it would of been much shorter had I prepared just a little bit more, but I didn’t care that much because I had made it! To the top of the CN Tower via staircase. After getting the sheet stamped there were “cool down” steps up to the platform where we were met first with the WWF Panda Mascot who was the first to high-five us in a long line of volunteers cheering climbers on.
On the platform we found the water bottle station and happily chugged down the contents. We were welcome to stay there and enjoy the view of the city from the top of the CN Tower alongside other climbers, everyone exhausted but feeling accomplished for both supporting WWF’s climb for nature and climbing up those stairs. I can say for myself that although it wasn’t easy, I had an amazing experience and will likely participate again next year.
A big thanks goes to WWF for hosting the event towards a great cause allowing us to participate and contribute in helping support the conservation of ecosystems around the world! Another thanks to S.O.S Wildlife Control for sponsoring my climb allowing me to participate!