Imagine a very deep mine. You have to carry a whole lot of precious ore (say thirty pounds worth) on your back. You don't have enough energy to run, and the high heat underground is getting to you. How long would it take to get to the surface using stairs?)

(Edit: This means walk up steady.)


closed as off-topic by Renan, L.Dutch, rek, Azuaron, sphennings Feb 23 '18 at 21:42

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  • $\begingroup$ A hundred feet vertical climb? Just walk up steadily or run like Smaug the dragon is going to get you? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 23 '18 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ Are you talking ladder or stairs? $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Feb 23 '18 at 20:08
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    $\begingroup$ You can figure this out yourself with a stop watch. Just move like you would expect someone with a load to move with the slope you imagine and time yourself. Maybe find a building with stairs and wear a backpack. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat Feb 23 '18 at 20:10
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    $\begingroup$ I notice that you seem to have edited the question twice, each time increasing the weight of ore by ten pounds. Now it's up to thirty pounds. This tends to invalidate the answers you received to date. Also, this sort of practice is frowned upon here. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 24 '18 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ @pojo-guy: And 30 lbs is getting close to ultralight backpacking. From personal experience (YMMV), the difference between 10 and 30 lbs is not really that noticable. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 24 '18 at 19:13

I worked at a small mine where the only way up or down was via the single ore car, and if it was carrying passengers it wasn't carrying ore so if it wasn't a shift change and I had to go up or down, I tended to use the stairs that ran alongside. From the 700 level (roughly 700 feet from surface), it would take about 10 minutes to walk up, and it wasn't as though I was the epitome of athletic perfection.

For comparison, the CN Tower in Toronto frequently has tower climbs, where people walk (or run) up the 1,776 steps to the main deck (1,100 feet) for charity. Average time is 30-40 minutes (record is 7 minutes 52 seconds).


I used to run stairs in a 14 story building, 4 times up and down in 20 minutes. Call it 560 feet up and 560 feet down. On your back, you wouldn't notice 10 lbs but it would slow you down by a percentage of body weight. I weighed in at 130 lbs back then, so with 10 lbs I would expect to take roughly 2 minutes longer to run the same distance.

10 lbs of ore is a rather smallish stone. For scale, here is a link to a 3 1/3 lb rock sample, a sphere 10cm in diameter. Three of these is 10 lbs. http://www.texasrockshop.com/crafts/spheres/sphere_images_001up/shr009_sphere_.jpg

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ It might be a cultural thing, but what is the thing below? It does not carry any markings to my perception so I don't see how it helps getting a sense of scale for the stone? $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Feb 24 '18 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ Found a picture with a better scale. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Feb 24 '18 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ The OP seems to have edited the question twice, each time increasing the weight of ore by ten pounds. Now it's up to thirty pounds. This is to the disadvantage of your answer. $\endgroup$ – a4android Feb 24 '18 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ That's okay, it means he's reading and growing his world. I'm not concerned about the points $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Feb 24 '18 at 13:29

Average step rise is 6-8 inches.

If you're young and not tired, 3 steps per second. As you get winded, it decreases to 2.5 steps/second. You get winded more quickly if the rises are higher. However, the question specifies that you lack the energy to run, so let's slow those down a bit to more of a walk or trudge.

An eight-inch rise, 2 steps per second, and you finish the climb in about 5 minutes...but you will be winded and your thighs will complain.

Alternately, a six-inch rise and 2 steps per second, and you finish the climb in a bit under 7 minutes. Hope you remembered a bottle of water!

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    $\begingroup$ How did you get 5:00, the math does not look right. And (imho) 2.5 steps/second is very optimistic for a winded person, I see people go down to about 1 step/s if not completely stopping for rest. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 23 '18 at 21:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Alexander "winded" is not "exhausted". The question leaves a lot open - no sense if the climber is young or old, conditioned or not. So, yes, my assumptions and estimate are for rather well-conditioned folk. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Feb 23 '18 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ 5:00....6:45....consider adding units to these numbers $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Feb 24 '18 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T great suggestion - done. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Feb 24 '18 at 15:06

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