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

Musical Lineup!

Written on April 14, 2016, by

We’re excited to announce our wonderful musical lineup for this year’s Climb.


Mural Gallery: See it April 23

Written on April 4, 2016, by

The walls inside the Calgary Tower are covered with over 170 original murals, six of which were added on April 2nd. The judges for the mural competition said the pieces this year were “imaginative, beautifully designed and beautifully painted.” The artwork was added to whats known as the tallest gallery in the west.

30160402_c4w_mural_kmihalcheonThe stairwells inside the Calgary Tower are lined with murals depicting Alberta wilderness and wildlife. To support the Alberta Wilderness Association and protect vital habitat and creatures we love, join us for our 25th annual Climb and Run for Wilderness. The Climb is an Earth Day celebration to be held on April 23, 2016 at the Calgary Tower. For the past fourteen years, people from age five to eighty-five created murals that will delight you, surprise you, and encourage you to climb all 802 stairs to the very last painting.

25th Annual Climb and Run for Wilderness: Registrations are Now Open!

Written on January 15, 2016, by

Please join us at the Calgary Tower on Saturday April 23, 2016 for solidarity, exercise, environmental protection and fun! as we look back on the Climb for Wilderness’ amazing 25 year legacy helping raise awareness and money for the defence of Alberta’s wilderness.

We’re really looking forward to seeing you there!

What a year it was!

The world was full of optimism; communism had just fallen in the Soviet Union along with apartheid in South Africa. In solidarity with 176 other countries at the Rio Summit in Brazil, Canada signed the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, intended to guide the world in future sustainable development.

Microsoft was about to release its brand-new operating system, Windows 3.1, and AT&T was selling something called a “video telephone” for only $1,500. The first McDonalds had just opened in China, neon windbreakers were everywhere, and The Bodyguard was one of the top-grossing movies in theatres around the world, along with its inescapable soundtrack featuring Whitney Houston, flying off the shelves at A&B Sound.

And back home in Alberta, a bunch of people from the Alberta Wilderness Association got the idea in their head to raise funds for the defence of Alberta’s Wilderness areas by holding a fundraiser and climbing the Calgary Tower.

Calgary Tower 1992

Calgary Tower 1992

That was 1992, and we’re still going strong with our 25th annual Climb for Wilderness this year. Who would have thought?

Ralph Klein in 1992 at the first Climb.

Ralph Klein in 1992 at the first Climb.

What an amazing journey it’s been to make it to this point.

We’d like to invite everyone to come and share in the celebration!

Registrations are now open for the following events:

25th Annual Climb for Wilderness The heart and soul of this day!

  • Fun Climb (single); for families and everyone just looking for a fun Saturday $40 per person
  • or Fun Climb (multiple); for those looking for a bit more of a challenge   $125 per person, sign up as many as you like for your team
  • or Endurance Climb; for the athletes out there looking to test their mettle  $150 per person / $600 teams of four
  • Register here

14th Annual Race for Wilderness Quickly becoming a signature part of the day, and one of the most unique climbing events in the world

Towerrunning TWA logo

Towerrunning TWA logo

14th Annual Mural Painting Competition Contribute your mural to the Tallest Gallery in the West and help decorate the inside of the Calgary Tower! The tower gallery is starting to fill up so this may be your last chance to contribute a mural!   free   Sign up here

6th Annual Louise Guy Poetry Contest In honour of Louise Guy, a truly remarkable woman who at 92 was a role model to young and old alike. The contest is open to all ages and each year we have the winning poem transcribed and displayed on the walls of the Calgary Tower stairwells.       $20 per submission Register here

25th Annual Wild Alberta Expo An integral part of the day’s events, the Expo features entertainment, musical acts, childrens’ games and events, and displays from dozens of exhibitors and environmentally-themed organizations.       free Register a display here

We’re also hoping to have some really special events to help commemorate our 25th year. If you have any mementos, videos, stories or photos from the last 25 years that you would like to share, please let us know – we would be thrilled to hear from you!

Also, be sure to keep tabs on us via social media!

Facebook       Twitter       Instagram        Youtube

Mural Competition 2016

Written on January 3, 2016, by

On April 2nd, the Calgary Tower will open its doors to the stairwell for artists to paint the walls. Add your wild art to the murals in the tower.

Register here!

2015 Climb for Wilderness Results Are In!

Written on April 18, 2015, by

Below you will find the results for the 2015 Climb for Wilderness. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the event and helped make it so successful.

2015 Climb for Wilderness Power Hour Results – Official (PDF)

2015 Climb for Wilderness Race Results – Official (PDF)

2015 Climb for Wilderness Endurance Climb Results – Official (PDF)

2015 Climb for Wilderness Prize Winners – Official (PDF)

View the 2015 Results page for photos!

24th annual event draws climbers from elite athletes to toddlers to raise funds and awareness for Wild Alberta

Written on April 18, 2015, by

April 18 2015 (Calgary, AB) – A trumpet fanfare by local musician Chris Morrison and a few words from City of Calgary Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra and Liberal Candidate for Calgary-Mountain View, Dr. David Swann, kicked off the 24th annual Climb and Run for Wilderness bright and early this morning on a crisp spring day. The more than 1,200 participants included ten elite athletes from across the world competing in the Towerrunning World Cup, babies in backpacks, Calgarians from all walks of life taking part in a fun Saturday family event, as well as dignitaries including Vice-Consul Lee Wilbur from the U.S. Consulate General and long-time climb supporter Richard Guy, who turned 98 this year.

“The 24th climb and run for Wilderness has been without a doubt the most exciting and rewarding Earth Day Celebration we have had the honour to present. Our newest element, the power hour, was an outstanding success and we continue to spread this event’s reach around the world,” says AWA Executive Director Christyann Olson. “We could not realize this success without the Calgary Tower’s amazing staff and the more than 100 volunteers that bring a vibrancy that is Calgary.”

For the past 24 years the Climb and Run for Wilderness has been celebrating Alberta’s wild water, wild lands and wildlife. This year 1,000 people ascended the 802 stairs of the tower, raising awareness and money – $100,000 and counting – for the conservation of Alberta’s wildlife, wild lands, and wild waters. Event supporters West Direct Courier and The Carbon Farmer have teamed up to plant a thousand trees in northern Alberta, one for every person who reached the top!

This year the AWA and The Calgary Tower were proud to celebrate the addition of an exciting new component to the event – the power hour! This elite event challenged competitors to see how many circuits of the tower (up the stairs and back down) they could complete in one hour. The Climb and Run for Wilderness power hour is the only event in Canada to be recognized as a Premium Event qualifying for the Towerrunning World Cup, the worldwide acknowledged ranking for stair racers. The power hour attracted participants from across Canada, the United States and even Germany. Winners Görge Heimann (the #8 ranked tower runner worldwide) and Veronica Stocker each took home a first prize of $US 500.

This elite component added an appealing new dimension to an event that is already long-established in Calgary, with the first Climb for Wilderness having been held on Earth Day in 1992. Since then the day has grown from a simple ascent of the tower to incorporate 5 athletic events including a 1km road race, a family-friendly “fun climb”, a four-hour endurance climb, a team challenge, and now the power hour. Teams in the team challenge ranged from corporate teams including teams from Suncor, Tetra Tech EBA, and four teams from Cenovus Energy, to family fun-climb teams such as “The Winded Whiners” and “The Young and the Breathless.”

There was also an eco-fair – the Wild Alberta Expo – plenty of music, games and entertainment, and cultural aspects such as a poetry competition and a mural painting competition that have turned the stairway of the Calgary Tower into the “tallest art gallery in the west” with nature themed murals all the way up the tower’s 802 stairs.

There were also more than more than 30 booths transforming the base of the tower into the wild and imaginative experience that is the Wild Alberta Expo, where everyone young and old was able learn about all the groups working hard to protect Alberta’s wild spaces and wildlife.

For more information contact:
Brittany Verbeek, AWA Conservation Specialist  (403) 200-4622
Christyann Olson, AWA Executive Director  (403) 863-2412
Fast facts about the 2015 Climb and Run for Wilderness:
•    $100,000 (and counting) raised for wilderness protection in Alberta
•    Nearly 1,500 ascents of the stairs over the course of the day
•    Over 1,500 people came out to support Wild Alberta, including climbers, racers, volunteers, entertainers, participants in the Wild Alberta Expo, friends, family and other spectators.
•    1,000 volunteer hours
•    20 teams, including corporate teams from Suncor, Tetra Tech EBA, and Cenovus Energy.

•    Fastest racers: Melissa Currie (10 min 15 sec) and Garry Beer (9 min 27 sec)
•    Endurance climb winners: Mevlut Kont (17 ascents) and Joanne Schmidt (15 ascents)
•    Team challenge winner: Team Happy Feet (50 ascents total)
•    Power hour winners: Görge Heimann (from Germany, 5 ascents) and Veronica Stocker (from USA, 4 ascents)
•    Oldest climber: Elek Szabo, 96
•    Oldest racer: Nessie Hollicky, 83

Stair-climbing “Power Hour” Challenges Athletes from Around the World

Written on April 14, 2015, by

On Saturday morning elite athletes will race up and down the 525 vertical feet of the Calgary Tower, vying to become champions of the only Premium race event in Canada recognized by the Towerrunning World Association.

Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) and The Calgary Tower have invited international top athletes to participate in a “Power Hour.” This Power Hour adds a new dimension to the 24th annual Climb and Run for Wilderness, one of Calgary’s premiere Earth Day events.  During the Power Hour, 13 of the world’s best stair-climbing athletes from Canada, the U.S. and Germany will be competing to see how many circuits of the tower’s 802 steps they can complete in one hour.

These athletes are ranked according to the Towerrunning World Cup. Established in 2009, the World Cup is the worldwide recognized ranking for competitive stair climbers. Events take place from Dubai to Beijing to Vienna. AWA and the Calgary Tower are proud to host one of the premiere World Cup qualifying events, and the only one in Canada.

Participants include Calgary favourite Jonathan Heinz, who last year won the endurance climb event with an astonishing 28 ascents of the tower and went on to compete at the World Cup Final event in Austria. Shannon Magee, another Calgary favourite, will be back this year challenged by 3 other women in the competition for top female competitor.  The event features categories for both men and women, each with a chance to win $500, sponsored by AWA.

A reception for the athletes is being held at the AWA offices (455 – 12th ST NW) from 5pm – 7pm on Friday the 17th of April.

Media are invited to attend both the Friday April 17th reception and the Saturday April 18 event.

About the Climb and Run for Wilderness

The Climb and Run for Wilderness is a premiere community event celebrating Earth Day. It is suited to folks of any athletic ability and of any age from babies in backpacks to 98 year olds. It regularly attracts participants from across North America. We expect more than 1,000 registered participants and in addition many more accompanying parents and supporters to attend. The Climb and Run for Wilderness is a family oriented athletic event which includes major additional components of education about the environment and the creation of public art. A family “fun” climbing event, a corporate team challenge, a 4-hour endurance event, and a serious opportunity to test one’s personal best in the Power Hour are all combined in this Earth Day event. This is the 24th annual climb.

Mural Painting Competition Winners

Written on March 29, 2015, by

On March 28, 2015, AWA held its 13th annual Mural Painting Competition and the judges were met with some very fine work, well worth the wonderful prize baskets the Calgary Tower is providing for the upcoming awards ceremony.  We look forward to unveiling the new murals to the public on April 18, 2015 at the 24th Climb and Run for Wilderness.  Register now for a chance to enjoy the more than 160 murals that grace the stairwell walls.

Elementary Category:  Sarah Baxter;  Landing 13 B

Elementary Category: Sarah Baxter; Landing 13 B

Family Category:  The Two Lagores;  Landing 14 B

Family Category: The Two Lagores; Landing 14 B

Senior High School:  Westmount Wild;  Landing 41A

Senior High School: Westmount Wild; Landing 41A

Adult Category:  The Awesome Twosome; Landing 49A

Adult Category: The Awesome Twosome; Landing 49A

AWA thanks The Calgary Tower and its awesome staff and our judges for their careful consideration and commentary on these new murals.


Tallest Gallery in the West!

Written on March 26, 2015, by

13th Annual Wilderness Mural Painting Competition at the Calgary Tower offers great photo ops and community stories

Mural Painting at the 2014 Competition

Mural Painting at the 2014 Competition, photo credit K. Mihalcheon

On Saturday, March 28, 2015, talented artists of all ages will get creative on the walls of the Calgary Tower’s stairwells as part of the 13th Annual Mural Painting Competition, hosted by the Calgary Tower and Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA).

The murals depict the artists’ visions of Alberta’s wildlife and wild places and will be judged in four categories – Family, Junior and Senior High School, and Adult. Seven teams are expected to brighten the tower’s stairwell this year. With more than 150 exceptional murals depicting Alberta’s wild creatures and landscapes, the tallest gallery in the West is a kaleidoscope of colour. The murals are an expression of the value of wilderness to Albertans and are a wonderful public art legacy for the city of Calgary.

There will be opportunities for photographing painters between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Camera crews will need to bring portable lights for filming in tower stairwells as there are no electrical plug-ins.

The Mural Competition is part of the best Earth Day celebration in the West – the 24th annual Climb & Run for Wilderness, to be held on April 18 and the only time the public can view the murals. Participants climb the Calgary Tower’s 802 stairs in support of the conservation work the AWA does to protect Alberta’s wild lands, wild rivers and wildlife.

Read more

Power Hour Challenge

Written on February 4, 2015, by

Do you think you have what it takes to compete with the best? Then why not sign up for our Power Hour Challenge and put it to the test!

We’re super excited to welcome back past Climb and Run for Wilderness champions Shannon Magee and Jonathan Heinz, who took home top prize for the most number of climbs by a female and male, respectively, in last year’s Elite climber competition. (Jonathan also came in 29th at the World Towerrunning final event in Vienna Austria last month, climbing the 779 steps of the Donauturm in 4:51 — way to go Jonathan!)

They will be joined by San Diego climber Zivadin Zivkovic, as well as other top towerrunners from across Canada and around the world.

And maybe you!

Competitors in the Power Hour will have one hour to climb the Calgary Tower’s 802 steps (and then back down again; no cheating and taking the elevator!) as many times as they can. The top male and female climbers will take home a cash prize of $500!

Competitors will also be invited to join us for our meet and greet reception to be held prior to the climb

Interested in signing up for the Power Hour Challenge? You can do so using our secure online web service. Registrations are $150 until February 19, then $250 afterward.


Not quite sure you’re up for something that intense? There are plenty of other events as well that you may be interested in!

The Fun Climb is a great family event – climb up the tower at your own pace and be sure to take in all the murals inside the tower that make up the “Tallest Art Gallery in the West.” Prizes for epic fundraisers, fancy costumes, team spirit and more. $40 to climb once or $125 for any number of times.

The Race for Wilderness is one of the most unique events on the world towerrunning circuit, and an old favourite. Race 1km at street level, then climb up the tower as fast as you can to bask in that warm glow of achievement at the top of the tower as you gaze out over the waking city. $40 per racer.

The Endurance Climb will give you a different kind of work-out as you compete to see who can climb the tower (both up and down!) the most number of times in 4 hours. Come as you are, or gather a bunch of friends together, pull on your climbin’ shoes, and get ready to show Calgary what you’re made of! $150 per climber, or register a team of four for $500.

Click here to register for any of the above events.


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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