How Many Tube Escalator Steps Make A Mountain?

How Many Tube Escalator Steps Make A Mountain?
Original photos by Calum Robinson and Frank Schmidt

You've travelled for an hour. You had to change not once but twice. You emerge from the tube platform and see passengers with tears streaming down their faces. You wonder what could cause such a mass breakdown, when you notice it too. The escalators aren't working. As you trudge up those cold metal steps, salty tears streaming, you can finally empathise with those mindless thrill seekers who climb actual mountains. Or so you think. How many escalator journeys actually make a mountain?

*We thought we should warn you that the visual cues in this article — despite looking realer than life — are Photoshop mock-ups. Sometimes we took ourselves aback with our own skill.

Angel escalators up Everest

Angel escalators all the way up Everest. Original photos from Michael Foley and Doug

We start with the big dogs. Angel vs Everest. Both kings of their respective classes. Angel escalator towers above all others at 27.39m... while Everest is just a tad higher at 8,848m. So you'd need to climb Angel 323 times to make it up Everest. If Angel forms part of your daily commute, you might just have climbed the equivalent of Everest in a year.

Holborn and K2

Climbing K2 with the Holborn escalators. Original photos from Sean Batten and Stefanos Nikologianis

Holborn escalators piloted a new system where passengers stood on both sides. Heresy we know, as there was no way to bound up its 23.41m. If this slow system was still in place, it would cost you hours in your bid to conquer K2's 8,611m. That's roughly 368 trips of standing twiddling your thumbs all the way to the summit.

Canary Wharf and Ben Nevis

These two took an alternative route to the summit of Ben Nevis. Original photos from martin_vmorris and Doug

The escalator at Canary Wharf up to street level is only 12.09m — slightly smaller in stature than some of the others on this list. However, the same can be said for Ben Nevis and its fellow mountains; Benny Boy is just 1,345m tall. That's equivalent to just over 111 trips up Canary Wharf's escalator. We'll call it 111 and the first five steps shall we?

Matterhorn and Swiss Cottage

Admire art deco design on the way up the Matterhorn. Original photos from Tetramesh and alex.ch

The Matterhorn is such an individual and stylish mountain — instantly recognisable. We immediately knew that only one station had the old school artistic intensity to be paired with it: Swiss Cottage and its 10.67m of glorious art deco. 4,478m of mountain maketh 420 (we know, that's really HIGH) trips up Swiss Cottage. Your legs will hate you, but your eyes will love you.

Hampstead stairs and Mount Fuji

The Hampstead stairway to Fuji. Original photos from Sam Codrington and peaceful-jp-scenery (busy)

Yes we know. There are no escalators at Hampstead. We felt it would be wrong to just leave out the deepest station (58.5m to the surface) on the entire underground network though. To make the 3,776m of Mount Fuji, that's just 65 trips up those Hampstead stairs. Simple.

Last Updated 15 February 2017