Saturday, April 27, 2019
The Bow Building
500 Centre St SE, Calgary, AB

Climb for Wilderness 2018: Why We Climb

Written on February 23, 2018, by

Why do we climb?

As a new participant or even as a returning climber, you may be wondering what all your fundraising contributes to. When you Climb for Wilderness (C4W), all funds raised go directly towards the Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA). Our focus is on advocating for Alberta’s wild spaces and the wildlife that rely on them. With a committed staff of conservation specialists, volunteers, and board members, we rely on people like you to help protect some of our most treasured spaces and creatures.

What do we protect?

Chinchaga, Parkland Dunes, Castle Wilderness Area, caribou, trout, sage grouse, grizzlies; these are just some of the things that need our help. In the lead-up to the 2018 Climb, keep an eye on this space. We’re going to use it to tell some stories about all the ways your support helps us. These stories will come from our staff of conservation specialists who advocate for these areas all around Alberta. Their intimate knowledge and experience is a valuable resource for all of us to learn from.

Earth Day

C4W is Calgary’s biggest Earth Day event and the only one where you get to enjoy views from the top of one of Calgary’s most spectacular skyscrapers, the Bow. We believe that by teaching people to protect what’s in their own backyard, we open up their eyes to protection worldwide; so take the chance to celebrate and share our love for Alberta’s wild spaces and join us for C4W.

We want to hear from you

If there’s a story close to your heart, we want you to reach out to us. Tell us and all our followers why you’re participating in Climb for Wilderness and why you want people to know. Even better, tell us why you’ve joined the climb or your feelings about AWA and we’ll share your story with our followers. When we all work together and speak as one voice, we are a powerful force in protecting our environment.

How to reach us



2018 Climb for Wilderness Update

Written on February 13, 2018, by

Planning is well under way as we get ready for the 2018 Climb for Wilderness and there’s lots of news to report. Many of our supporters have returned and their generosity means everything. From a great venue – the Bow glass walled staircase to climb with great views all thew way to the top, free fruit at the finish and amazing fundraising prizes. There is something for everyone at this great Earth Day event.

Prizes are being confirmed daily which means those of you who are registered and raising funds are eligible. Keep an eye on the prize page and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds to see all the exciting updates as we get closer to April 21st.

We can’t thank our faithful and new supporters enough. We hope when you win a prize you will remember to thank them too!

One of the great views from the top of the Bow.

The list of confirmed 2018 Climb for Wilderness supporters so far:

  • Patagonia Calgary
  • Brooks
  • Gord’s Running Store
  • Canadian Western Bank
  • Cenovus Energy – Venue sponsor
  • Earth Distributors
  • Higher Ground Cafe
  • Loblaws
  • WDX courier
  • The Hitmen
  • Alberta Prairie Railway
  • Ollia Macarons & Tea
  • Heritage Park
  • Calaway Park
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum
  • Steam Whistle Brewing
  • Telus Spark
  • The Calgary Flames
  • Westside Recreation Centre

This year we’re also making a big push on social media to spread the word as we try to take the Climb for Wilderness to new heights in 2018. You can help – when you register be sure to tell your friends and share our posts!

Highlights from the 2017 Climb for Wilderness

Written on June 1, 2017, by

Thanks to everyone that came to the 2017 Climb for Wilderness! Here’s some of our favourite moments:

20 month old Karina Eustace Wallis, walked up all 1188 steps, one at a time, with the odd break for a treat or a little chat while her mom, Lindsey Wallis and her dad, Kyle Eustace watched carefully and cheered her on.  Grandpa Cliff was nearby too.

Elek Szabo – 98 years young and strong emerges at the top of the 54th floor!

Our bear meeting and taking photos with climbers at the top!

Emma Hergott with proud grandparents Ed and MaryAlice.  Emma raised over $1300 for her climb!

Gord Hobbins of Gord’s Running Store and family and friend David Smith – faithful supporters of Climb for Wilderness.

Two thumbs up from our dear friend and supporter 100 years young Dr. Richard Guy who raised more than $6000 from his friends for his walk up the stairs.

Vanessa and Andrew who flew up the stairs in 10:28!


Abigail Hadden (third from left) and the friends she brought to climb with her.  Abigail has climbed every one of her 8 years and was our top fundraiser in her age category earning more than $1500 for Alberta Wilderness Association.


MLA Dr. David Swann and Vicki Reid of Cenovus welcoming folks to the new event.

8 year old Kailum Melnyk timed himself as he climbed up the stairs, an impressive 8 minutes, 28 seconds!

26th Climb for Wilderness – A Resounding Earth Day Celebration!

Written on April 22, 2017, by

Alberta Wilderness Association’s (AWA) 26th Climb for Wilderness surpassed expectations as climbers, volunteers and supporters filled the stairwells of the iconic Bow Building, courtesy of Cenovus Energy Inc. Each step of the way, climbers showed support for wilderness and wildlife at the best Earth Day event in the west! More than 800 participants from babies in backpacks, to outstanding athletes, seniors, and families enjoyed the Earth Day fun.

Participants from every age and walk of life supported the event today. Two of our young climbers – Abigail, 7, and Emma, 6 – were very successful in fundraising through bottle drives, social media posts, family and friends. Abigail told us, “I have climbed at this event every year, starting in a backpack with my mom.” She added, “It is important that I can hike, find hidden waterfalls and know that wildlife have safe places to live.”  An undeniably wise and inspiring role model is Dr. Richard Guy, who at 100 years young is a faithful supporter and climbed all 1,188 stairs one step at a time. Proceeds for the event are expected to top $80,000 in support of AWA’s conservation work.

AWA Executive Director Christyann Olson shares her gratitude for every climber that came to the event today. “From a child’s wonder to a senior’s wisdom, we know caring for our wild spaces, wildlife habitat and the legacy we leave is vitally important. This event like so many Earth Day events is all about showing we care,” said Olson. “We depend on the untiring support of many; our 26th event t-shirt proudly recognizes both our corporate supporters as well as the endangered species we work to protect.”

“Teams of people representing their company, their family, or their loved ones helped to make the day special and memorable” said Joanna Skrajny, AWA Conservation Specialist. “The stairwells were filled with conversation and the chance to celebrate Wild Alberta. 2017 promises great progress for protection of wild places and safe habitat and the chance to climb the stairs for wilderness once more.”


For more information:

Joanna Skrajny, Conservation Specialist,  AWA    403 483-4683
Christyann Olson, Executive Director, AWA          403 863-2412


The Climb is this Weekend

Written on April 20, 2017, by

We are all set to fill the stairwells on Earth Day, April 22.  The 26th Climb for Wilderness in support of Alberta’s wilderness and wildlife will be held at the beautiful, iconic, energy-efficient Bow Building in the heart of Calgary courtesy of Cenovus Energy.

When you climb the stairs on April 22, you are helping to make a difference in some of Alberta’s least protected regions, such as our grasslands and wild prairies, as well as for the wildlife that depend on healthy habitat, including grizzly bears and endangered caribou.

The climb to the top of the Bow Building consists of 1,188 stairs and 54 floors. Climbers of all ages and abilities are invited to climb anytime between 8:30 am and noon on Saturday, April 22. Climbing will take an average climber 25 minutes to complete, with information about conservation work in Alberta guiding you up the stairwells.

At the top, climbers will be greeted with majestic views and a great suite of activities including live music, activities for kids, mascot Smoky the Bear, a premiere showing of  images of Wild Alberta captured on screen by Alberta photographers, as well as coffee and treats for purchase from Visionary Catering. Outstanding prizes are available for top fundraisers and fastest climbers.

Confirmed dignitaries in attendance include:

  • 100 year young climber Dr. Richard Guy
  • MLA Dr. David Swann, Leader of the Liberal Party of Alberta
  • MLA Dave Rodney, PC Opposition House Leader
  • NDP MLA  Graham Sucha
  • US Consul General Tom Palaia

Climbers should register in advance of arriving at the Bow Building at A detailed FAQ section is provided at the same website.

Climb for Wilderness is known as one of the very best Earth Day events. Earth Day is about taking time to celebrate where we live, the outstanding natural resources we have in Alberta and the people who make a difference to the wilderness legacy we will leave.

Richard Guy

Centenarian and Climber – Dr. Richard Guy

See related videos:

​ Centenarian Climbs for Wilderness

​ Abigail’s Story about Climb for Wilderness

Thanks to corporate supporters

Cenovus Energy
Gord’s Running Store
Canadian Western Bank
WDX Courier
Visionary Catering
Alberta Prairie Railway
Group 933
Kananaskis Delta Hotel
Calaway Park
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site
Westside Recreation
Albino Muppet Photography
Higher Ground Café
Steam Whistle Brewing
Telus Spark
​The Calgary Fla​mes

and all
Volunteers and Climbers
for making this an
Earth Day event.

Thanks to all those
​climbing and
representing their
school, church,
business, family or
in memory of
someone special

Amber Shurb-Beach
Anytime Fitness
Anytime Fitness Silverado
Astute Environmental
Athena Environmental Consultants Ltd.
Alberta Wilderness Association
Banded Peak
Bear Country Inn, Wanham
Brennan Family
Build Studio
Calgary Transit Team CT
Connect Charter School
CrossFit Pyro
Dillon Consulting Limited
Fifth Avenue Place Chiropractic and Massage Therapy
Free Life Photography
Graham Construction & Engineering LP
Grbavac Family
Justin Havre & Associates
Livestock Water Recycling Inc.
Madeleine d’Houet
Mantra Wellness Centre
Mountain Equipment Co-op
MZED Immigration Consulting Services, Inc.
Peak Consulting Ltd.
Plc pacu
Queen Elizabeth School
Team Wilton
Team CT Calgary Transit
Unitarian Church of Calgary
University of Calgary
Wild Rose Brewery Ltd
Wildwood Dental
Zeidler BKDI Architects

and the friends and family climbing

In memory of
Amber Shurb-Beach

What does climbing 1,188 stairs mean for conservation?

Written on January 31, 2017, by

What does it mean to climb 1,188 stairs at the Bow Building on April 22?

Eleven hundred and eighty-eight stairs is also the number of kilometres to drive from the town of Peace River to the Canada-US border south of Milk River.

This equates to 54 floors, or how fast the pronghorn antelope can run in miles per hour (at 54 mph or 88km/hour, the pronghorn is the second fastest land animal in the world next to the cheetah).

You’ll gain 236m in elevation – or about half the elevation gain you’d need to hike up Plateau Mountain.

Those are cool facts, but what the Climb for Wilderness really means is to support the work AWA does every day to better protect Alberta’s wild places. AWA staff and volunteers depend every day on the support and donations from folks like you

Joanna Skrajny is a Conservation Specialist with AWA and her work focuses mainly in the Eastern Slopes and the Red Deer River Watershed. She is asking for sponsorships to help her ensure grizzly bears have a credible recovery plan and that the Castle Parks become a piece of true wilderness that we will be proud of for generations to come.

Nick Pink is our newest Conservation Specialist, and acknowledges it’s not an easy job. “Our work has many hardships and obstacles,” he says, “but knowing that we have so many caring community members behind us gives me a lot of motivation to do the best I can.” Nick is excited for his first year at the Climb in the best looking building in Calgary.

“Grasslands and our wild prairies is where I spend a good deal of my time these days,” says Christyann Olson, Executive Director. “Sponsoring someone at the Climb for Wilderness means you are making a difference and helping save endangered grassland species.”

Carolyn Campbell’s work at AWA this year is focusing on wetland and caribou conservation. “Cenovus’ commitment to caribou habitat restoration is above and beyond many other companies, making the 2017 Climb for Wilderness a great collaboration.”

Whether you are coming to climb yourself, or donating to one of our dedicated staff, AWA appreciates your support. Earth Day at the beautiful, energy-efficient Bow Building in the heart of Calgary on April 22, 2017 is your chance to make a difference for grizzly bears, caribou, sage-grouse and trout!

We’re moving to The Bow!

Written on October 3, 2016, by

We are pleased to announce that the 26th Climb for Wilderness will be held on April 22, 2017 at Calgary’s Bow Building, the best skyscraper in Canada!

More stairs, even more magnificent vistas, and the excitement of a new venue await climbers. For the past 25 years, the Climb for Wilderness has challenged participants as athletes and fundraisers, supporting the wilderness we have in Alberta.   The tradition continues, supporting education and awareness about wilderness and wildlife in Alberta and raising vital funds which ensure AWA can continue with its independent and non-partisan pursuit of wilderness conservation.

The Bow Building will challenge climbers and families of all ages to 1188 stairs, 54 floors and a 236 metre climb. It’s time to start practicing!  We can’t wait to see you on the stairs.

Watch the website, Facebook and Twitter for details and Save the Date, April 22,2017 for the best Climb for Wilderness ever!

2016 Climb & Run Results

Written on April 26, 2016, by

We know you’ve been anxiously the results of yesterday’s Climb and Run for Wilderness. We’ll be putting together an official recap of the event but for now the results and photos from the event can be found at the page below.

Climb for Wilderness 2016 Results

Run for Wilderness

Written on April 18, 2016, by

The Towerrunning World Association (TWA) holds tower climbing races throughout the world. This year, one of the races is being hosted in Calgary by Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and the Calgary Tower as part of AWA’s annual Earth Day celebration. This is the only Canadian stop on the world circuit for elite athletes competing in TWA races around the world and is part of the 25th annual Climb and Run for Wilderness.

Towerrunning TWA logo

Towerrunning TWA logo

Five elite international athletes, (U.S., Slovakia and Mexico) have been invited by TWA to challenge local racers as they run one kilometer around the base of the tower, then sprint up 802 steps to the top where they will cool down and enjoy a well-earned 360 degree view of Alberta’s magnificent landscapes and help celebrate Earth Day. The international athletes will join local competitors challenging themselves for the best time and some outstanding cash prizes. The race begins at 8:00am.
At the event, others will participate in a test of endurance to see how many times they can scale the stairs in three hours on April 23, 2016. The endurance climb runs from 9:00 am to noon.
The TWA race, supported by Gord’s Running Store is a great racing season warm-up for a great cause, our wilderness and wildlife. Registration is open and all runners are invited to challenge themselves with these elite athletes.

20150418_c4w_power_hour_kmihalcheon (23) (Medium)
The Run for Wilderness at the Calgary Tower is part of the 25th Annual Climb & Run for Wilderness, Calgary’s biggest Earth Day event, hosted by the AWA , Saturday, April 23, 2016.
What: Run for Wilderness;
Register: online now
Where: Calgary Tower
When: April 23, 2016, 0800
Who: Racers of all ages and abilities challenging invited international elite athletes
Andrea Johancsik, AWA, 403 283-2025
Gord Hobbins, Gord’s Running Store 403 270-8606
For more information:

Celebrate Wild Alberta for Earth Day

Written on April 18, 2016, by

If you haven’t registered yet, why not celebrate Earth Day on April 23, 2016 with great folks of all ages and abilities.  There will be celebrities, clowns, mascots, towerrunning athletes from around the world and local dignitaries.

You will have fun and honest, you really can do it!  3 year olds and 100 year olds will be there making the climb one step at a time!

The climb is an easy walk if you pace yourself and take time to admire all the murals on each landing.  It doesn’t have to be a race, but it certainly can be, if that is more to your liking!

AWA’s staff and board are proud to present this 25th Climb and Run for Wilderness in celebration of our work here in Alberta.

Please register today to participate, or just come on Climb day to support us and take part in all the free activities on the main mall level of the Calgary Tower.

We hope to see you on the stairs!

A Few Highlights

  • All registered climbers are being entered into a draw on Thursday April 21 at 8pm for a chance to win 1 of 3 great prizes, for brunch, beer or dinner.
  • Fun Climbers can start at any time between 9 am and noon; the doors are closed at noon when our awards ceremony begins.
  • Run for Wilderness  starts with the sound of the horn at 0800 and is a real spring season favourite. This is not your usual race; there is a 1km sprint and then a dash up the 802 stairs to the finish line. This year, to add to the fun and challenge, the Towerrunning World Association is making this the only Canadian stop on their world circuit. TWA has 5 invited international towerrunning athletes who will find themselves challenged by all of you. Winners (male and female) in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place will each take home cash prizes.
  • Endurance athletes will begin a 3 hour competition at 0900 to see who can climb 802 stairs, the most times, up and down!
  • More than 25 booths and exhibitors will make the Wild Alberta Expo one of the most interesting ever. There are some great new booths, some sampling, crafts for children and a chance to meet great folks working in Alberta caring for wilderness and wildlife. There is live entertainment on the main level as well as the top of the tower throughout the event.
  • Be sure to stop by the AWA booth to create your own wildlife flag. Completed Expo Passports will lead you to our display about Monarch Butterflies and a free native Alberta milkweed seedling to grow in your garden and help our Monarch Butterflies.
  • Our faithful clowns Doc and Pyro will delight children of all ages on the observation deck as they create balloon animals for everyone. There’s free live entertainment; plenty of interesting folks (including 100 year old Richard Guy). Dignitaries, mascots and great fun for everyone are hallmarks of this annual event.
  •  The tallest gallery in the west (the stairwell within the Calgary Tower) has more than 170 murals painted by artists from all walks of life and telling a story about wilderness in Alberta. As well, winners of the Louise Guy Poetry contest are framed and mounted on one of the landings for your reading pleasure on the way up.

Register here and check out for more details. Just so you know, folks can sponsor you online and with their support you won’t pay registration fees.

Please follow and engage with us on social media for a chance to win great prizes!

Facebook        Twitter        Instagram

Come on out and meet new people and support the work AWA does all year round! We are looking forward to seeing you on April 23 for the 25th annual Climb and Run and the best Earth Day Event in the West!



Registration Open Dec 18, 2018

Registration Closed Apr 27, 2019

Event Day Apr 27, 2019


Registration Desk 8:00am

Climb 8:30am - 11:30am

Elite Stair Runners 10:30am

Please note: A $5 surcharge will be added for registering after 9:00PM Friday, April 26th.

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