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New Year's fitness challenge: Climb the world's highest mountains on your staircase

For many of us, reaching the summit of Mount Everest or Kilimanjaro is a pipe dream that we'd never seriously give much thought to. But, if you have a staircase in your home — or even just have access to a long flight of stairs in your local neighbourhood or park — climbing the equivalent of some of the world's highest peaks could still be within your reach.

We've calculated how many stairs you’d need to climb in order to reach the same height as 20 of the most famous mountains from around the globe. So, even though travelling to the Himalayas or the Alps might be off the cards for the next few months, you can still take on a new fitness challenge without breaking the COVID-19 restrictions. We've even included an estimate for how many calories you'll burn — ideal if you're hoping to get back in shape after the festive period.

How many steps would it take to climb 20 famous mountains at home?

Mountain Country Region Height (metres)[i] Number of steps[ii] Total calories burned[iii]
Kilimanjaro Tanzania  Africa 5,895 29,475 5,011
Mount Kenya Kenya Africa 5,199 25,995 4,419
Mount Stanley DR of Congo/Uganda Africa 5,109 25,545 4,343
Mount Speke Uganda  Africa 4,890 24,450 4,157
Mount Meru Tanzania  Africa 4,565 22,825 3,880
Everest Nepal Asia 8,850 44,250 7,523
K2 Pakistan/China  Asia 8,611 43,055 7,319
Kanchenjunga India/Nepal Asia 8,586 42,930 7,298
Lhotse  Nepal/Tibet Asia 8,516 42,580 7,239
Cho Oyu  Nepal/China Asia 8,201 41,005 6,971
Elbrus  Russia Europe 5,642 28,210 4,796
Shkhara Georgia  Europe 5,068 25,340 4,308
Mont Blanc   France/Italy  Europe 4,807 24,035 4,086
Matterhorn Switzerland/Italy  Europe 4,478 22,390 3,806
Aneto Peak  Spain Europe 3,404 17,020 2,893
Ben Nevis  Scotland UK 1,343 6,715 1,142
Ben Macdui Scotland UK 1,309 6,545 1,113
Snowden Wales UK 1,085 5,425 922
Scafell Peak England UK 978 4,890 831
Slieve Donard Northern Ireland UK 852 4,260 724




















Nick Acaster, Managing Director here at Stair Rods Direct, agrees that it makes a great fitness challenge: "While you might not often think of climbing the stairs as exercise, it can be a surprisingly effective way to get fit. If you were to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest in your home, you'd burn around 7,523 calories — the equivalent of almost 15 McDonald's Big Macs [iv].

"There are other benefits, too. For one thing, exercising on your stairs is much simpler than scaling a real summit. Out on the mountain, you'd have to contend with difficult terrain, altitude sickness, and dwindling oxygen levels, as well as freezing temperatures and poor weather conditions. So, even though you may not get those once-in-a-lifetime views when climbing the stairs in your home, at least it's not going to cost you your life, either.

"Plus, when scaling a real mountain, you'd need to carry all of your equipment and food with you, which makes it even more challenging and time-consuming. Exercising on your stairs is a lot cheaper and easier than flying halfway around the world, too!"

Tackling Mount Staircase: Tips for climbing at home

January is traditionally the time when we set new goals and challenges for the coming year and, for many people, that means making a commitment to work on their fitness. So, if you’re looking for some new ways to keep active in the New Year, why not try tackling some of the world's highest and most challenging mountains from the comfort of your own home?

To do this, you'll first need to work out exactly how many times you need to ascend your staircase. The number of steps we've shared above is based on a standard stair height of 200mm, which tends to be one of the most common step sizes in the UK. But, if the stairs in your home are slightly higher or lower and you want the figure to be exactly right, you can always crunch the numbers yourself to work out exactly how many steps you need to climb. To do this, measure the height of one step on your staircase, and then divide the total height of the mountain by this figure. This will give you the total number of steps you need to climb to scale that particular peak.

To make it simpler to keep track of your progress as you climb, you may also want to work out how many steps are in one flight of stairs, then divide the total number of steps needed to climb the mountain by this number. For example, if you had twelve steps in your staircase, you would need to climb the stairs 44,250/12 = 3,688 times in order to scale an equivalent height to Mount Everest. 

Climbing a mountain is famously difficult, even when doing so on your staircase. So, it's important to go about it safely, steadily, and sensibly. Here, we've shared a few tips for scaling a summit on your stairs at home.

Start small

Unless you're super fit already, it’s probably not a good idea to attempt to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest for your first challenge. So, start with one of the smaller mountains on our list, and work your way up to taller peaks if you're successful. Whichever peak you choose, we'd also advise spreading the challenge out over the course of a few days to give yourself some recovery time.

Get training

You wouldn't attempt to run a marathon without training first, and the same goes for your stair-climbing challenge. Before tackling your first mountain, spend some time training to build up your strength and stamina. Remember to warm up before you start, too!

Dress the part

While you might not need thermal jackets, goggles, and crampons to climb your stairs, it's still sensible to dress the part. Sturdy trainers or running shoes and comfortable workout gear are the safest and most sensible options.

Consider making it a sponsored challenge
If you'd like to raise some money for charity as you climb, why not make it a sponsored event? This will also help to motivate you to keep climbing when the going gets tough.

Make sure your stairs are ready

You might be ready for your climbing challenge — but is your staircase? Before you start your ascent, check that your stairs are in good condition and that any carpet or runners are securely fixed to reduce the risk of a trip or fall. This might also be a good time to beautify your staircase by installing stair rods, giving your banisters a fresh lick of paint, and hanging up some pictures!

Take your time

Even real mountaineers will stop for breaks, meals, and sleep during an ascent, and this is a marathon, not a sprint, so take your time. Allow yourself regular breaks, use the handrail, and move at a comfortable pace. If you’re tackling one of the bigger peaks, you'll need to spread the challenge across a few days and keep a record of your steps.

Have some fun

Climbing your staircase isn't quite as scenic as scaling a mountain, so you may find that it helps to provide a bit of background entertainment — listening to music, the radio, or a podcast might help stave off boredom. You might also want to ask a loved one to cheer you on and keep you company. At the end of the day, it's supposed to be fun!

With COVID-19 restrictions set to continue into 2021, it looks as though there won't be many chances for big outdoor adventures. So, if you’re looking for a way to beat the January blues and get active at the same time, why not try taking on one of the world's most famous peaks in your own home?  



[ii] Based on stair height of 200mm,

[iii] Based on 0.17 calories burned per step,