Stair Climb for Los Angeles
by Ruth D. Kahn
On September 23, 2011, I had the thrill of participating in my first major stair climb. Together with more than 2,800 other participants, I climbed 1,500 stairs to the top of the West Coast’s tallest building, the US Bank Tower. Not only is it the tallest building in Los Angeles, it is the tallest building West of the Mississippi River! How tall is it? Well, I will tell you. It is 75 stories or, more precisely, 1,108 feet. I am proud to have climbed to the top in a little over 23 minutes, finishing well within the top half of my division and overall. Most participants climbed to the top in 20 to 45 minutes. It truly was a thrilling experience.
In addition to the YMCA staff, the Stair Climb was supported by hundreds of volunteers, the community, friends and families. The downtown area was filled with the same level of energy and adrenaline that is felt when the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA championship. The event raised more than $360,000 for the Stuart M. Ketchum Downtown YMCA’s programs that support youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
My team consisted of four lawyers, all from Steptoe & Johnson LLP: Lisa Petrovsky (also a member of WLALA), Patrick Foley and John Swenson. We began training about six weeks before the event, both in high-rise buildings located downtown, and outdoors. I was pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie and friendships that developed in stairwells between the 35th and 45th floors and beyond, and on multiple and successive trips to the top of the Bunker Hill steps and the wood stairs in Santa Monica Canyon. Likewise, I was impressed with the courtesy and respect that the stair climbers showed for one another. Thanks to the 18th Annual Ketchum Downtown YMCA Stair Climb, I am stronger and in better condition than I have been for years, and I look forward to doing this again next year.
Ruth D. Kahn is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP and currently serves as the President-Elect of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles.