Stairway to... Mt. Washington

Every March a group of Shepley Bulfinch employees (and friends) makes an excursion to the summit of Mount Washington. Situated in the the Presidential Range of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, Mount Washington is notorious for unexpected weather changes. Average temperatures for the month of March are a high of 20 degrees and a low of 5, with sustained wind gusts of up to 60 mph at the summit that can easily create a subzero windchill. Hiking at the tail end of Winter often means that crampons, ice axes, interchangeable layers, and many pairs of dry gloves are required equipment.

The hike itself lasts approximately 7-9 hours, covering 10.5 miles and nearly 4,250 vertical feet. After many months of hibernation during the blustery Boston Winter, serious training is necessary to prepare for the quad-burning ascent. Beginning 6-8 weeks prior to the climb, individuals begin hiking the egress staircase of the office building with reams of paper in their packs to simulate the weight of equipment and provisions carried on the day of the climb. This year everyone began recording their training sessions to stir up a little friendly competition and here are the results...

There are 16 floors in the office building and an approximated 736 average steps per lap (all the way up and down once) after accounting for the stairs, landings, intermittent stretch breaks, etc. Therefore it is estimated that the entire team collectively climbed roughly 349 laps, 11,168 floors, and took 257,269 total steps.

It looks like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were overwhelmingly popular for making the time to fit in stair training around busy work schedules and other committments.

Here is the breakdown of number of laps per person:

...And an analysis of the average time per lap:
Notice that as weight and amount of laps increased, overall time would often slow down significantly.

We lucked out this year with sunny, warm weather for the entire hike. Everyone summited successfully and it was another fun-filled team experience.

Special thanks to our fearless guide David Meek who year-after-year invests hours of preparation and tireless effort to ensure a safe journey for all!