Training for stair-climbing events isn't easy without stairs, which is why people in L.A. are at a disadvantage compared with those who live in 60-story apartment buildings in Manhattan. According to Chris Solarz, who last year set a Guinness World Record with 33,000 feet of stairs climbed in 12 hours and was ranked sixth in the world in 2010, you need at least 30 continuous floors for good training. That's roughly 650 steps. You'll probably have to settle for fewer in L.A.
The Aon building opens three times a week for climbers in the three months before the Fight for Air Climb in March, and the YMCA event, this year on Sept. 28, has a three-day-a-week training program that gradually ramps people up in successively taller buildings.
But getting access to stairs, up to 500 of them, may be easier outdoors. L.A. is one of the best cities in the country when it comes to a number of tall, always accessible outdoor stairways. For a list of the Top 10 stairways around town, we talked to Charles Fleming, a Times editor and author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and double-checked the Los Angeles Stairs map at http://www.communitywalk.com.
1. Murphy Ranch Trail, Pacific Palisades: 512 steps (concrete stairs that descend from Sullivan Ridge into Rustic Canyon)
2. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Stairway, Culver City: 375 steps (steep and uneven)
3. Upper Bushnell-Pullman Stairways, Monterey Hills: 266 steps (two stairways, 126 steps and 140 steps, that are connected in an L shape; start at 5417 Bushnell Way and climb to the bottom of the Pullman Stairway at 5401 Monterey Road)
4. Baxter Street, Echo Park: 231 steps (on a remote hillside, beginning near 1501 Baxter St. and ending at 2101 Park Drive)
5. Tourmaline Stairway, Montecito Heights: 223 stairs (starting at 4400 Tourmaline St. and ending near 4804 W. Rose Hill Drive)
6. Avalon East Stairway, Echo Park: 192 steps (two blocks away from Baxter Street, starting at 1550 Avalon St. and ending at 1893 Lucretia Ave.)
7. Eldred Street Stairs, Highland Park — Mt. Washington: 196 steps (this historic wooden stairway begins at the top of a steep street at 4864 Eldred St. and ends at 790 Cross Ave.)
8. Santa Monica Canyon: concrete stairs, 188 steps (crowded, popular workout that starts at Entrada and North Ocean avenues and tops out at 406 Adelaide Drive)
9. Beachwood Canyon, Hollywood: 176 steps (popular route in the hills above Capitol Records that is found between 3020 and 3030 Beachwood St.)
10. Santa Monica Canyon stairs: 170 wood steps (starting at 421 Entrada Drive and ending at 526 Adelaide Drive)