When word arrived over the summer that the downtown LA's U.S. Bank Tower, that fabled "tallest building west of the Mississippi," would get its own observation deck, locals who receive a lot of out-of-town visitors must have breathed a sigh.
"Phew, something new to show the relatives," was one likely thought. But a thought left unthunk? That anyone would need to climb the tower's 1,679 steps to reach the top of the sentinel-like skyscraper.
Still, people do that, each and every September, as they will again on Friday, Sept. 19. But they're not in the colossal building to reach any observation deck (which is not yet built, let's note); rather, intrepid climbers hike up the 75-story building to raise money for the Ketchum-Downtown YMCA.
Did we just type "hike" there? It's a true word, but let's asterisk that: Many participants do hoof it up the 75 floors at a steady pace, and bravo that, but some people run. Up 1,679 steps. Inside the tallest building on this side of the Mississippi River.
R. U. N.
That's major, but what is more major are the impressive times; the 2013 elite runner results reveal that Tommy Coleman of San Diego completed the up, up, up, up, up course in well under ten minutes. And many other gifted athletes posted how'd-they-do-that? times in the 11-minute, 12-minute, and 13-minute windows.
Heck, they're all applause-worthy. Whatever your time is. Let's clap for the climbers.
Because you've seen the U.S. Bank Tower? Sometimes still locally and lovingly called the Library Tower? Yeah. It's the biggest thing to be found on postcards of LA, just about, save the ocean and mountains, which are bigger than the tower by virtue of being the ocean and mountains.
Want to help the Y's many community-nice programs, cheer on a climber, or simply marvel at one of the most unusual and quickly finished races, well, west of the Mississippi? Grab a bannister and climb this way.