About SkyRise Chicago

SkyRise Chicago challenges participants to conquer the world's tallest indoor stair climb in one of three ways:

By foot power
Sprint, jog or walk to the top of Willis Tower! Don't be daunted. From the start line, you're just 2,109 steps away from SkyDeck Chicago featuring The Ledge. Here you can take in panoramic views of up to four states. Learn more...

By hand power
Crank your way to the sky! Test your upper-body strength in the hand cycle category using stationary hand cycles calibrated for resistance and time to match the 103-floor stair climbing experience. Feel free to bring your own stationary hand cycle if you prefer. Anyone can do it! Learn more

By brain power
Exercise your creative talents and discover just how big an impact you can have in patients' lives when you flex your fundraising muscles!  Challenge yourself to make the biggest difference possible. Learn more

Participant Information

Experience the thrill of a lifetime when you climb the tower steps or hand cycle the equivalent distance knowing you are fueling cutting edge patient care and innovative research.


All participants receive:

  • SkyRise Chicago t-shirt
  • Finisher's medal
  • After event refreshments
  • Access to SkyDeck Chicago and The Ledge, glass floored balconies offering views 1,353 feet down onto Wacker Drive and the Chicago River.

*Please note that the SkyDeck is only accessible to our participants; family, friends and others may wait in designated areas at the Willis Tower.

Important Reminders and Day of Event Information

Climb Times

  • You will receive your assigned climb time at packet pickup. Your time will be printed on your bib.
  • Although we always attempt to assign the requested times we cannot guarantee your will be assigned the time you requested.
  • Firefighters, climbing in gear, will only be allowed to climb after 10:00 am. Acceptable gear; jacket, pants, boots, and helmets. Absolutely no air tanks or facemasks are allowed.

Packet/Bib Pick-up at the Willis Tower 233 S. Wacker Drive; located on the lobby level

  • Friday, November 3rd from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 4th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • All participants must pick up their packets prior to event day. There is no event day packet pick-up. Participants who fail to get their packets during packet pick-up and have met their minimum fundraising requirements may get their participant bib on the day of the event and participate in the climb. Participant bibs can be picked up on the day of the event by going to the SkyRise Chicago customer service area. Participant goodie bags and t-shirts will not be available at that time.

Fund Raising Minimums

  • In order to pick up your packet and participate in SkyRise Chicago 2017 you must have met your fundraising minimum. If you have not met your minimum you will not be able to pick up your packet and participate in the event. Donations can be made at packet pick-up.
  • Minimum donation amounts do not include the event registration fee.
  • Registration fees are non-refundable.
  • If you are a member of a team, and are unsure about your team’s fundraising status, please check with your team captain.

Day of Event Information

EVENT WEAR: Shoes are required; no one will be permitted to climb with bare feet. Wear lightweight clothing that will wick away perspiration, and durable trail-running or cross-training footwear for climbers. Participants are asked to leave obstructive clothing, costumes, equipment or accessories at home. Backpacks will not be permitted in the stairwell.

BIBS and TIMING BANDS: All participants must pin their numbered bibs on their shirts. Climbers, you’ll find your timing band clipped to your bib. When you arrive at Willis Tower, peel off the timing strip from your bib, wrap timing strip through your shoelaces, remove adhesive tab, match open holes and seal. The d-tag should be in the shape of a loop and your number should be staring back at you.

ARRIVAL TIME: Be on time for your climb. You are required to arrive at Willis Tower 30 minutes before your assigned start time. Use the Franklin Street entrance only. Hand cyclists are asked to go directly to the Hand Cycle Arena; climbers will be asked to report to the staging area for climber line-up. Please note: The final climber group will enter promptly at 11:15a m.

GEAR CHECK: Gear check is available in the lobby. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate the storage of luggage and large bags; we will not be able to accept such large items in gear check. Please do not check valuables, as we cannot be held responsible for your items.

RESTROOMS: Restrooms are located on the Second Floor Restaurant Level and on Lower Level One. An accessible restroom is on the lobby level, at Customer Service. Please see a SkyRise Chicago Volunteer for assistance. Restrooms are not available in the stairwells. Please remember to use the facilities before your climb.

TEAM PHOTOS: Team captains will be sent a tea m photo, courtesy of Photogenic, Inc. Gather your team and report to the team photos area, located on the north side of the building near Starbucks, before lining up to climb.

INDIVIDUAL PHOTOS: Photos will be taken as you enter the stairwell and in various spots in the stairwell. They will be available for purchase at the Photogenic Photo Sales Booth located by the Wacker Drive Entrance of the building after your climb.

CLIMBING INSTRUCTIONS: Listen for your starting time block to be announced and line up with your group. Climb single-file on the right side of the staircase and allow faster climbers to pass on the left. You can stop on a landing to catch your breath, but be aware that other climbers are coming up behind you. If you need to stop the climb for any reason please inform one of the volunteer marshals, who will be stationed on every other floor. Monitors will be stationed throughout the stairwell to assist you. There are exits on floors 33 and 66 for emergency use.

Climbers may only ascend the tower once. Carrying infants and small children is prohibited.

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE: Emergency medical crews will be on site for those who need assistance during the event. In case of emergency, stairwell volunteers will communicate with emergency medical personnel. Red phones located inside the stairwells can connect you directly to Willis Tower security.

AWARDS: High fundraiser incentive prizes and team photos will be mailed out after the event.

TIMING RESULTS: Unofficial results will be available for climbers in the Lobby after the event. Cyclists will have immediate access to their results. Final results will be posted on

SPECTATORS: Access to the SkyDeck is for climbers only. Spectators may wait at Lower Level 1. The Willis Tower

DONATIONS: If you receive additional donations, they can be dropped off at the donation table in the Customer Service area of the lobby. Checks should be made payable to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. They may also be mailed to SRALAB c/o Institutional Advancement, 355 E. Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611.

SkyRise Chicago Fun Facts

How many flights to the top?

103 flights to the Skydeck

How long does the competition take to complete?

Top climbers finish in as little as 13 minutes, while the average participant takes from 30 to 45 minutes to finish.

What is the record time?

13:09 minutes, set in 2009.

How High Can You Go?

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Incentive prizes!

  • Raise $1,500 or more will receive custom SkyRise Chicago Gear!

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