Indoor Mountaineering

When I started working at my current place of employment, one of the things I relished was working on the fifth floor of an office block. I’ve always felt that climbing stairs is good for the heart, and having previously worked for a number of years only one floor up, having to do a more substantial climb once or twice a day was great.

A few weeks in, though, I met someone going up the stairs to a meeting I was also going to, and he made a joke about an actuary that used to work there that kept track of all the flights of stairs he went up, so that he knew when he’d climbed enough stairs to make it up Everest. He was being derogatory, as you do when you’re not pedantic about numbers and statistics, but my first thought was “What a fantastic idea!”

And so, true to form, I set up a spreadsheet to do just that. With daily, weekly, and monthly stats, rankings by number and average, and a host of other features to satisfy my need for hyper-analysis. (No, I’m not going to upload it so you can scoff at my ridiculous self-absorbtion.) Chief among them, of course, is the running total for the year, so that I know when I’ve crossed the Everest altitude. That happened a couple of weeks ago, on September 1st.

As it turns out, that was about the same time as I read an article on Everesting in Cycling Weekly (or a similar magazine of that ilk). This is where you find yourself a hill of a reasonable size, and cycle up and down it repeatedly for about 17 or 18 hours until you’ve gained the required 29,029ft in elevation. As an example, I did a bit of training last week up Scarfield Hill (have a look here if you’re really, really interested), where I rode up & down it 5 times. That hill is a mere 278ft per shot, meaning I’d have to do it about 105 times in order to Everest it. At 10 minutes per round trip, that’s 17.5 hours, assuming I take no breaks (er… not likely) and manage to keep the same speed for all that time (even less likely).

So I think I’ll leave Everesting to those with more endurance and ability than me. I’ll stay happy with having cycled up it 1.6 times this year so far, and stair-climbed it 1.1 times. All without crampons, oxygen and having to travel. Perhaps I’ll aim for a total of 3.5 times for the year over both activities. Seems reasonable…

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