Saturday, April 22, 2017
The Bow Building
500 Centre St SE, Calgary, AB

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

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

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?

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!

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

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

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

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!


Musical Lineup!

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


Mural Gallery: See it April 23

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!

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


Registration Open Dec 19, 2016

Registration Closed Apr 22, 2017

Event Day Apr 22, 2017


Registration Desk 8:00am

Climb 8:30am - 12:00pm

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