Linking Summits & Stairways!

Analysis shows ‘fun’ ways for commuters to ‘climb mountains’ on their way to work, and compares the fitness travel plans of workers in major cities.

hashtag #UrbanMountains (the brainchild of outdoor retailer Snow+Rock) has calculated how Londoners can scale the equivalent of the world’s highest mountains simply by avoiding the escalator and taking the stairs on their daily commute.

London’s Tube platforms are dug seriously deep, giving commuters the chance to accumulate significant altitude as they travel to and from their daily 9 to 5 grind. For example:

  • Hampstead Station is 58.5 metres underground, so climbing it 151 times would be the equivalent of the height gained climbing to Mount Everest’s 8,848 metre peak.
    • Starting on 1st January, and with just one ascent per day, you could be planting an imaginary summit flag by next month, July.
  • If that seems too ambitious, 40 ascents of Euston Station’s 33 metre stairs add up to the 1,344 metres required to walk up Ben Nevis.

For runners, there’s a chance to up the ante by tackling a mountain marathon in a single run, covering 42 km up, down and between London Underground stations, with well over a thousand metres of ascent. The “underround” is an anytime challenge.

Statistics from Strava, a social network for cyclists and runners, reveal that the average cycle commute in:

  • London is 15 km/hr;
  • Milan is 31.9 km/hr;
  • New York is 14.1 km/hr;
  • Amsterdam is 25.6 km/hr (flattest terrain); and
  • Barcelona climbing on average 771.5 metres per ride.

Running commutes in the world’s great cities are a remarkably similar length at between 7 and 8 km, with Paris runners setting the pace at an average of 5:33/km, followed by London in second at 5:36/km and Berlin in third at 5:42/km.

In all bar Sao Paolo, Tuesday is the most popular day to commute in trainers.

Tube StationEquivalent No. of Times Walking Stairs/EscalatorMountainSummit Height (Metres)
Hampstead151Everest8,848
Covent Garden166Mount Denali (McKinley)6,168
Highgate157Kilimanjaro5,895
Angel133Mont Blanc4,810
Belsixe Park126Matterhorn4,478
Russel Square112Eiger3,970
Euston40Ben Nevis1,344
Holborn34Snowdon1,085
Goodge Street33Scafell Pike978
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