Climbing Stairs at High Tower Court

It’s the last day in April, which means two things: 1) Almost time for a weigh-in (look for that in an upcoming post), and 2) my next stair climb race is now 1 month away. I haven’t yet mentioned this race on the blog, mainly because it’s so intimidating that I prefer to just not think about it. I will mention it soon, though, I promise!

Ever since my Aon Center race 3.5 weeks ago (recap and video here), I haven’t been on a StairMaster or trained on actual stairs, and it’s been great. I haven’t slacked on working out, I’ve just been doing other things. After doing three big races (Aon Center, San Diego, and Las Vegas) in a little over a month, I was due for a little stair hiatus. But with my next race on the horizon, exactly one month away, I decided to kick off my training by going somewhere new. And the place I found has an awesome view!

Broadview-Terrace-Selfie

I was in the Hollywood Hills, baby! Specifically, an neighborhood called High Tower Court, which is in an area called Hollywood Heights. High Tower Court was first built in the ’30s, and it’s a cluster of homes and apartment buildings (some of which were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son) at the top of a steep hill. None of these homes are accessible by car. Instead, there’s rows of garages at the base of the hill – and only two ways up. If you live in one of the houses, you have a key to access an elevator, which is housed in a tower at the end of High Tower Drive:

High-Tower-Elevator

If you don’t have a key, or you’re an exercise enthusiast like me, then you take the stairs. The Broadview Terrace Stairway has 136 steps, beginning with these…

Broadview-Terrace-Stairway-Lower-section

…and ending with these:

Broadview-Terrace-Stariway-upper-section

Once you reach the top, the elevator tower looks a lot smaller:

High-Tower-Top-Hollywood-Heights

Because this whole neighborhood was built for foot traffic only, there are many more sidewalks and little bridges and paths. These people all have addresses that refer to sidewalks, not streets, so halfway up the Broadview Terrace Stairway is a sidewalk intersection with street signs, which really freakin’ tickled me:

Broadview-Terrace-Los-Altos-Street-Signs

I arrived and explored for about 20 minutes, walking the hills and stairs, scoping the place out. There were little lizards scurrying around everywhere.

Lizard-on-sidewalk

It was a nice warm-up, but then the workout really began. I decided to do five sprints up the Broadview Terrace Stairway (there are two expanses of flat sidewalk, too, maybe totaling 40-50 yards), with the goal to beat my previous time during each sprint. I messed up my stopwatch during the first sprint, so that time is a mystery, but my times for the subsequent sprints were as follows:

  • Sprint #2: 1:27
  • Sprint #3: 1:25
  • Sprint #4: 1:24
  • Sprint #5: 1:19

Success! I didn’t time my rest periods, although I knew they increased as the workout progressed (between sprints 3 and 4, for example, I helped a lost pizza delivery guy look up an address – poor guy was about 1/2 mile away from where he needed to be).

Then, on to Part 2 of my workout, which happened… on a completely different staircase! The Glencoe Stairway is a few blocks from the Broadview Terrace Stairway, and they’re longer: 213 steps, spread out between two long blocks. You start here…

Glencoe-Stairway-Start

…then tackle these…

Glencoe-Stairway-Lower-Section

…and then you only have all these to go:

Glencoe-Stairway-Upper-Section

While the views from the top of the Broadview Terrace stairs were nice, the views from these were even better. At one point, I saw the Hollywood Sign in the distance:

Glencoe-Stairway-Hollywood-Sign-View

And even further away was the Griffith Observatory (read about my Observatory hike here):

Glencoe-Stairway-Griffith-Observatory-View

And even farther than that were the skyscrapers of downtown, including all three that I’ve raced up:

Glencoe-Stairway-Downtown-View

The sprints took it out of me, but I decided to climb the Glencoe Stairway three times, at a moderate pace. I finished my workout with a celebratory selfie:

Glencoe-Stairway-Selfie

Workout stats:

  • Total time:  80 minutes.
  • 6x up the Broadview Terrace Stairway (1 during warm-up, plus 5 sprints) = 816 steps
  • 3x up the Glencoe Stairway = 639 steps
  • Total number of steps = 1,455 (this doesn’t include additional steps on smaller stairways during warm-up)
  • Total distance covered = no idea (I forgot to set my RunKeeper app, dagnabit!)

There’s one more local landmark in this neighborhood that I specifically didn’t mention, and that’s because it’ll be another primo training location, and I have tentative plans to go there soon with a friend. In the meantime, I felt good about this workout. I felt a little rusty on the stairs, but I was expecting that. I loved being outdoors and exploring an area I’ve driven by countless times. Plus, with this workout under my belt… I’m officially back in training! 

Keep it up, David!

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13 Responses to Climbing Stairs at High Tower Court

  1. Sarah Van Houten says:

    WOW! nice workout

  2. Maggie says:

    So fortunate to call this my neighborhood! Next time, can you water my plants ;) Great post, David. Keep it up!

  3. Dana says:

    Wow! Great workout, can’t wait to hear about the next race.

  4. Bev Jull says:

    I think I know where you’re going . . . ok, so I google mapped your location LOL . . . all the stairs look like a crazy kind of fun!!

    • David says:

      Yea if you look at a map, the other local landmark is glaringly obvious! And “crazy kind of fun” is a VERY good way to put it.

  5. G.M. Grena says:

    Way to go, David! Thanks for sharing the info about the stairs at these 2 locations. Another fun workout in the same general area can be had at the Beachwood Canyon stairs, especially if you like visiting historic film locations. I made a video last year documenting my time of 19:18 climbing/jogging all 6 sets, & included some extremely bad acting for the grand finale to simulate the climax from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (check the links in the About section to 2 other YouTube video-snippets for movie context). As a ballpark target for your time to cover the same course, I calculated the ratio between your times & my times at the recent Strat & Aon races (1820/1315 in terms of seconds), & arrived at … [drum roll] … 26:43. But if you’ve never been there, I think anything under 30 minutes for your first attempt would be excellent … assuming you can evade the snatchers & live to tell the tale!

    • David says:

      Thanks, George – I do love Hollywood history, and I’ve never seen “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I’ll have to check out your video and hopefully make it to those stairs! I’ve written a few other posts about stairs in film/TV: check out this post (Laurel & Hardy, The Three Stooges) and this post (a cancelled TV show called “Welcome to the Family”).

  6. Mom says:

    Wow, your workout makes me feel exhausted!
    xo

  7. Catherine says:

    Some day you’ll have to plan out some of these workouts and invite us all to join you! I’m not very familiar with Los Angeles (I so want to do the Culver City Stairs), but you would make a great work out tour guide for your followers.

    • David says:

      Thank you! It’s a good idea. I wished I planned more workouts with some advance notice… something to work towards in the future!

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