HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (KELO) –The Battle Mountain Grand Staircase in Hot Springs is the host site for Challenge Dakota and their 9/11 event.
Over the past 10 years, they have presented a grand stair challenge for this day.
In remembrance of 9/11, hundreds of people are climbing this staircase today. And when they get to the bottom, many go right back up for another lap.
“They say they can do one or two and they do five or six. Everybody is surprised at how much they are able to do and that’s the biggest thing watching people,” Challenge Director Dusty Pence said.
Former Air Force member Douglas Nelson has a heart condition, but doesn’t let that stop him from taking part.
“I only have one lap in me but I make that lap count. So it took me probably about two hours last year, just because I stop at every little rest bench and just enjoy the day, and talk to the people and I did the same thing this year,” Air Force veteran Douglas Nelson said.
The Grand Stair Challenge itself is 141 steps up to the top and 141 steps to the bottom, and that equals one lap. Roughly 15 of these laps equals one tower. The record currently is 151 flights.
“Trying to see how many I could do and I feel pretty good. So I didn’t have a goal at first but now my goal is 102 or 113, and if I feel good after that I’ll keep going,” visitor Kelsie Bryant said.
This event has climbers of all ages, from kids to adults, and provides a different challenge for everyone. While the young climbers provide energy, those who might struggle or only be able to complete one lap, provide motivation to the other participants.
“Some people set aside their walker or get up out of their scooter to do this. And everything in between it’s really fun because everybody’s sort of at their own level but they’re all together, it’s not like a race,” Pence said.
Because the point of the challenge isn’t to win, it’s to honor and remember what happened 22 years ago, today.
This event is put on by Challenge Dakota who hosts multiple events throughout the year.