How To Turn Your STAIRS Into A Mountain (+ Top Hiking Tips)

Snowdon in Snowdonia Wales

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Planning on doing a hill or mountain challenge in your own house?

Many people are stepping out of their comfort zone and tackling their first mountains (from home).

Of course, as I’m now a seasoned expert in hiking up mountains in my home (hehe), I’m here to give you all the best tips for turning your stairs into a real-life adventure.

After hiking to Snowdon summit during my first week of UK lockdown up my stairs, I’ve now completed hiking to Everest base camp in Nepal, with a great team of adventurers. Check out the team on Instagram and Twitter #VirtualEBC

You can follow my interesting adventures via my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook hopefully, this will help you plan your own indoor expedition!

Here’s all you need to know about hiking (in your home)!

Top tips for hiking a mountain on your stairs

When I started writing about my outdoor adventures 3 years ago, I never imagined I’d be talking about how to hike safely up your stairs, but here goes.

Choose your mountain

Hiking up stairs at home
On my first virtual challenge up Snowdon

Maybe pick a hill that you love and have hiked many times, Catbells in the Lake District or Mam Tor in the Peak District, both popular first-time hikes!

Or you could choose a hike that you’ve never done before, time to summit some of those UK hills and mountains you’ve always wanted to do.

Once you’ve decided on your challenge, you have two ways of calculating the ascent to the top.

  1. Climb up the total height of the mountain, for example, Snowdon is 1,085 metres
  2. Or climb the ascent of the route to the top, for example, Snowdon via the Pyg Track route is 700 metres (approx)

Suggestions hills and mountains

Ben Nevis, Scotland – 1,345 metres

Scafell Pike, Lake District – 967 metres

Kilimanjaro, Tanzania – 5,895 metres

Mam Tor, Peak District – 517 metres

Mam Tor in the Peak District
Hike up Mam Tor height in your house

How many steps?

You’ve picked your challenge, now here’s how to calculate how many steps you need to climb!

If you’re struggling, get the kids to work this bit out 🙂

Measure your stairs

Start by measuring the height of one step (in my house they are 19 cm)

Then count the number of steps in your home (I have 13 steps)

Multiply the height of step by the number of steps (19 x 13 = 247)

Calculate the steps

Now turn the height you are climbing from metres (m) into centimetres (cm)

Snowdon is 1,085 m is 108,500 cm

And the final calculation is the height in cm (108,500) divided by the height of your stairs (247 cm)

Snowdon stair reps – 108500 / 247 = 439.27 (So rounded up 440 reps)

Warm-up for your challenge

Hiking up the stairs at home
About to set off on my stairs hike

If you’re not a regular stair hiker then it’s important to warm up properly for your expedition.

Start with a couple of stair reps then when your body and muscles are warmed up do some light stretching.

I recommend starting your hike at a steady pace, it’s all about the journey, not how fast you do it!

And stretch afterwards (+ during)

This is a must-do, my legs hurt so much after the Snowdon challenge!

Never stretched before? Try a light yoga session from YouTube (another great indoor activity!)

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Hiking a mountain on your stairs

Take your time

You can complete the challenge in one go (this will hurt).

Or alternatively, split your stair hiking challenge up over the day or even a few days. 

This week I’ve hiked to Everest base camp, over 5 days, each day I hiked between 430 to 640 metres, making it a much more enjoyable challenge. Search #VirtualEBC to see more of the trip

You can also split your hike up throughout the day, a few metres in the morning, then continuing over the course of the day. Even squeezing in a few extra reps whilst waiting for the kettle to boil!

What to wear

virtual Everest Base camp hike
Virtual Everest Base camp hike

After a 5-day expedition (Virtual Everest Base Camp), I opted for a slightly unusual outfit for much of my hiking, check out my Instagram highlights for more details!

Let’s just say, it gets pretty hot when hiking in the house, so I’d recommend shorts and t-shirt, once you’ve got warmed up.

As regards to footwear, I have a carpet so mixed it up with trail shoes, socks and even bare feet. Do what works for you and maybe consider what’s the quietest option if you live with other people or have neighbours close by!

How to keep count of your steps

If you’re counting high numbers, if easy to lose count. There are a couple of ways you can keep count whilst you’re hiking.

  1. Use a counter app on your phone (I did this)
  2. Make a tally chart at the top of your stairs

How to make it harder (if you want)!

As if hiking a mountain isn’t already hard enough, here are a few ways to make the challenge even harder (if you like that kind of thing!)

  • Pack a day bag – this can real items that you’d take on a day hike (or a few books in a bag!)
  • Exercise at the top or bottom of your stairs – I added push-ups on the stairs for an arm work out too!
  • Forget the day bag, go full pack and let’s see what you’re made of!

Don’t take risks

The idea of this challenge is to have fun and be active during a time when we are being encouraged to stay at home.

Please don’t be an idiot and turn this into a speed challenge where you end up falling down the stairs, not cool!

It’s also worth thinking about what to wear on your feet to keep yourself, socks are NOT recommended on shiny stairs!

The NHS staff aren’t going to be happy if you turn up at A & E because you fell down your stairs – just saying!

Be creative 

Michael Palin book and rainbow
The top of my stairs

Here’s the fun bit, especially if you have kids that need occupying, then set themselves a challenge to make some pictures.

I decorated my stairs with plants to give it a more outside feel as well as turning the top of my stairs into a mini-summit with my Himalaya book and Nepalese prayer flags.

And during my hike, I put on a mix of music, for example, ‘Climb every mountain’, ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’, as well as listening to a few nature sound playlists!

You can also wear your hiking gear and eat lots of yummy hiking snacks too (any excuse!)

Don’t stop at the end of your hike

Wild camping in the garden
Wild camping in my garden

When you’ve finished your hike for the day, it doesn’t stop there.

Cook dinner in the garden, have a picnic outdoors and maybe a glass of wine or a beer!

Then get your tents out and set up a wild camp in your garden or house, whatever works for you and let the adventure continue!

The important thing is to have fun.

My stair challenges so far

Snowdon in Wales

My very first virtual challenge and in one day, I climbed up and down my stairs 440 times.

And yes, I hurt a lot the next day (see my tip on warming up + stretching!)

Everest Base Camp Expedition

Virtual Everest Base Camp Team
Virtual Everest Base Camp Team

This was a team effort, over 30 hikers, climbers, runners and adventurers, who had way too much energy joined forces to hike to Everest Base Camp in Nepal (check out #VirtualEBC for more about the team). 

You can meet the rest of the team right here – learn about the highs, lows and ridiculous things we got up to on the hike!

Led by expedition leader Rory Southworth, in 5 days we hiked between 430 to 680 metres each day on out stairs, steps and whatever else we could find.

If you want to check out our video (coming soon) on this epic and crazy adventure, click here.

Listen to my BBC Radio Nottingham interview about the hike here

And that’s all you need to know about hiking the stairs in your own home!

Keep following to see what I get up to next!

Keep safe and have fun. I’d love to see your photos on social media so tag me in any photos you take.

Let me know what you think of my hiking on the stairs challenges in the comments below.

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Hiking a mountain on your stairs
Hiking a mountain on your stairs

*Becky the Traveller participates in the Amazon Services Associates Programme, as well as other affiliate programmes. If you make a purchase through these, I earn from the qualifying links. This is at no extra cost to you. Read more here.

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