The Climb To The Top Of The Cathedral Of Learning

Achievement: #94. Climb the Cathedral Stairs

Climb the Cathedral Steps
Despite the fact that I’d probably climbed the equivalent of the Cathedral of Learning’s 34 flights over my six years at Pitt, I’d never truly climbed all 34, and certainly not in one sitting. We decided to tackle the historic fitness event on the least-muggy late May day we could find.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
(You can tell it was in May, because Michael is rocking a Penguins playoff beard that hadn’t *quite* gotten out of hand yet.)

We opted to go earlyish on a Sunday morning, which we thought would be good, because less people would witness our sweaty, not-conditioned-for-this-type-of-activity selves attempting this climb.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
The trade-off was that without scores of other humans there to conquer Leg Day, we didn’t have anyone to follow, and we wound up taking a wrong turn at the very start, leading us up the completely wrong stairwell.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
It did enable us to get this totally beautiful shot of the Common Room, which yes, we Pitt alumni are aware, looks like it was taken from the pages of a Harry Potter book.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
So, as it turns out, Stairwell A is the one you need. All others result in a dead end. But Stairwell A will get you as high as you can go!! Only took us like 12 minutes to find that out. (But that’s why we do these Achievements – so you don’t have to suffer through the wrong turns, dear readers.)

Climb the Cathedral Steps
There was a bit of construction along the way, but it didn’t prevent us from scaling the stairs!! It just prevented us from nebbing on whatever happens to be on Floor #14.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
At one point, the direction of the stairs swaps from counter-clockwise to clockwise. It’s nice to give your brain a swap, I think. Makes 34 flights of stairs a little less boring…. I think.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
It’s a loooooong way down.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
At last, we reached the 34th floor. This is the highest you can go for fitness, and there’s only the one elevator, so they recommend you go down one more flight before taking the elevator down to the ground.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
The views from the 34th floor are pretty awesome though, and they make the struggle of the climb worth it.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
(Even if, I guess, you *aren’t* supposed to do this.)

Climb the Cathedral Steps
They put in fancy, high-tech new elevators since I graduated many years ago, and we took advantage of them instead of trying to go back down via the stairs.

Climb the Cathedral Steps
And what do you know, we found the stairwell we were *supposed* to start at, after all!!! (It’s by the coffeeshop on floor G, for those of you who may want to attempt this climb.)

I wouldn’t recommend the Cathedral stairs in summer, as it’s a massively tall, un-air-conditioned building, but once the weather cools off a bit, if you’re looking for a place to cross train and work on your quads, give the Cathedral steps a try. Even going as slowly as we were with wrong turns and stopping to take lots of pictures, were up and back down in less than half an hour. If you get really ambitious, you could go up a handful of times in a single visit!

2 Comments

Filed under #94, #94-17, fitness, oakland, pittsburgh

2 Responses to The Climb To The Top Of The Cathedral Of Learning

  1. Woubbie

    Awesome achievement! And I did not know that the Cathedral was not air-conditioned! That is an unpleasant piece of trivia!

    • steelcityfox

      I think some areas of it might be, but the stairwell is not. I don’t think the Common Room is either, if I remember correctly. The stairwell is sooooo humid.

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