Route: Wreck Beach Stairs (BC, Canada)

British Columbia, CA
0.6 km

Kim Bessler submitted the route:

Wreck Beach is an iconic clothing-optional beach located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park which is part of the University Endowment Lands just west of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Aside from lots of nudity, Trail 6 is what many think of when they talk about Wreck Beach. Trail 6 is the most developed of the trails down the steep bluff from NW Marine Drive to the beach and has approximately 500 wooden stairs. At the bottom is the most popular portion of the beach. Clothing is optional and many take advantage. This is one of the most eclectic places I have ever experienced which is why I thought it would be a great setting for an endurance challenge.
As a graduate student at University of British Columbia and an ultra runner always training for a race, a challenge or a mountain, I often use these stairs to do hill sprints as part of my speedwork. I started at UBC in September of 2018 and found the stairs shortly after. The first thing that popped into my mind was, “how fun would it be to see how many repeats could be done in a 12-hour time frame?” It took a while to find the right Saturday but now I know how many I can do. The important question is how many can YOU do?
A repeat starts at the top at the curb that touches NW Marine Drive, travels down the stairs, taps the post with the sign for restrooms at the bottom, turns around and travels back up the stairs to the curb that touches NW Marine Drive. The statistics for one full repeat are approximately 0.36 miles with approx 240 feet of vertical gain. The fun is how you keep track of your repeats (we used a tally sheet) and how you pace yourself for 12 hours of this? If done on a sunny day (it rains almost all winter in Vancouver) you will meet many interesting people and laugh a lot about how spending 12 hours going up and down stairs is so stupid. There are bathrooms at the top of the stairs which is solid gold and we set up a station with food and beverage. I believe 100 repeats can be done and I want to see someone do it!

GPS Track


I’m done!

I managed to last for 12 hours of running down and up wreck beach. I did a total of about 6,900 m. Will upload to Strava tonight. and comment on it. And share a video! 

My 12 hour FKT: 91 laps


Strava file processing details for merging two FIT files:

  • ~6:55 am start. Watch (Sunnto 9) crashed at 6:07'33 at the top (which must be ~13:02 pm). Elevation gain done was 3913 m, 77 m each = 50.8 laps, which means it is approx 51 laps; counted 51 manually. Link to FIT file
  • ~13:11 pm restarted watch and new activity log. 5:59'33 duration, though I left my watch one for a few minutes at the end. Link to FIT file.  The end time (19:10) minus the start time (6:55) = 12:15 hrs, with 7,084 m elevation gain. That means the last ~1-2 laps don't count. Need to check. Elevation was 3171 m, 77 m each = 42.2 laps; counted 42 laps.
  • Checked data for last lap, and it was at 12:09:07 hrs. But the previous lap was finished at 11:57:22.
  • Therefore, count all laps, and minus 1 for the 12 hr FKT.
  • 50 in Part 1, 42 in Part 2 = 92 laps. Minus 1 is 91 laps
  • 91 laps x 77 m each = 7,007 m elevation loss and 7,007 m gain.
  • I measure a lap to be 77 m +/- 0.5 m since I measured 92 laps for a total of 7084m which is 77.0 m per lap. Kim estimated 240 ft per lap, which is 73.2 m. I would tend to trust my numbers since I was using Suunto's top of the line watch (hopefully the most accurate).
  • My Strava activity files:

Kim, I'm sorry I didn't get to 100 repeats. I'm not sure if I could personally do that.

I propose to extend this challenge to be Covid-19-inclusive, namely to allow people who cannot travel to UBC at this time to participate where-ever they may be practicing social distancing. The challenge is to:

  1. Find a section of a trail that has 77 m +/- 1 m elevation gain.  Anywhere in the world, e.g., Grouse Mountain, Seymour Mountain, etc. Do repeats on that for 12 hours. 
  2. Report in this FKT discussion forum or in a new FKT challenge, perhaps called "Virtual Wreck Beach Stairs FKT".


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Hello Jordanne Stahl, this is Christophe Stahl!