Scale the Strat Event to Include Hundreds of Las Vegas Stair Climbers Raising Money for Lung Disease

Posted on: February 25, 2023, 06:04h. 

Last updated on: February 25, 2023, 06:04h.

The annual stair-climb fundraiser, Scale the Strat, takes place inside The Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod on Sunday. Participants will make their way up 1,455 steps at the Las Vegas Strip gaming property to benefit American Lung Association of Nevada programs.

Alexis Trujillo of Mexico City
Alexis Trujillo of Mexico City climbs stairs during 2019’s Scale the Strat, pictured above. He climbed the 108 stories in 7 minutes and 13 seconds. In 2020, he set a record of 6 minutes, 46 seconds. (Image: KSNV)

More than 500 climbers hailing from many states and nations are expected to climb the 108 stories. The Strat’s iconic 1,149-foot observation tower is believed to be the tallest in the U.S.

Every type of stair climber will join in the effort. Some are beginners who ascend at a comfortable pace. Others are competitive athletes who try to set impressive records.

One common attribute among participants is that many have friends or relatives who have faced lung disease. Climbers want to raise money for research, advocacy, and education about the widespread illness.

Getting up all of those steps can be a challenge, but veteran climbers say it’s well worth the effort.

When you come out of that stairwell, you’re having trouble breathing, and you know what it’s like to fight for every breath,” Shannon Proctor, executive director of the American Lung Association of Nevada, told Las Vegas TV station KTNV.

Proctor’s own family members have battled lung disease. Her grandmother died from lung cancer, and both of her parents have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Raised $2.8M

Since it began in 2008, the Scale the Strat event has raised more than $2.8 million. This year’s event already raised $226,256.83 as of Friday. The fundraising goal is $350K.

The teams that have raised the most money for Sunday’s climb are Golden Entertainment, $5,019.00, Bank of Nevada, $3,890, USA Stair Climb Championship, $2,755, UnitedHealthcare, $2,105, Cirque du Soleil, $1,860, Beasley Media Group, $1,560, Advantage Electric, LLC, $1,450, Kindred Healthcare, $1,400, Valley Health System Hospitals, $1,281, and, $1,225.00.

Last year’s first-place team was the USA Stair Climb Championship. Members included Andrew Drobeck of Montana, Cole Hetzel of Kentucky, Jason Larson of Minnesota, and Mark Henderson of Washington State.

The 2022 top individual finisher was Wai Ching Soh of Malaysia, with the Towerrunning Association. His time was 06:57.

In second place was Drobeck. His time was 07:32. Hetzel came in third at 08:14.

The average time to make it up the stairs is about a half hour.

Overcoming Challenges

Some climbers have gotten widespread respect for their efforts. Back in 2020, among the participants was Travis Strong. The Army veteran lost his legs in 2006. So, he made his way up the stairway with his arms. His time was 1 hour and six minutes. In past years, participants also have included firefighters in full protective gear.

The Strat observation tower
The Strat observation tower, pictured above. The iconic Las Vegas Strip structure is the setting for a weekend fundraising event. (Image: TripSavvy)

Registration for Sunday’s Strat event takes place in person between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday. There is also same-day registration on Sunday morning.

Elite athletes start their climb at about 7:30 a.m. Others will make the trek in staggered starts up until about 1 p.m.

Participants are asked to show up at least 30 minutes before their start time.

The Strat stair climb is affiliated with the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb national events.

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