Sunday, May 1, 2022

Bisbee 1000: the Great Stair Climb - Part 1, Sunday, May 1, 2022

For the past couple of months, Bob and I have been looking forward to walking the Bisbee stairs. I was concerned that it would be really hard. One. Thousand. Steps. Wow!

Yesterday, it got really warm by the time we finished our 10k walk. This morning, we left an hour earlier. 

The thoughts going through my mind were: "Was I was going to make it?", "Would my knee be okay?" (I wore my knee brace.) "Would I slow the group down?" Only one way to find out...go do it!

The RV park where we stayed was conducive to walking downtown, so we headed directly to staircase #1. When we were almost there, I had a moment of panic. I forgot my cell phone (which is also currently my camera)! Oh, no! 

Bob came to my rescue and ran the 1/2 mile back to the RV park to snag my phone. He was quick! While we waited, we looked at all the art in an art alley.

Lots of different styles of art in the

Across the way, there was a cool mural. 

After Bob returned, we continued to the first set of steps, 73 to be exact. They start you out on a staircase with the smallest number of steps. And we're off! Each stairway has a painted number and the number of steps at the beginning of the climb.

Bob at Stairway #1.

We did a slight detour into the City Park.

This mural is painted on the benches
of the City Park seating. Very well done!

So, you go UP on all the staircases and then back down so you can go up again. I know that sounds weird, but that's how they do it here.

Bob on Staircase #2, 98 steps.

This rock wall with lots of pottery
went all along the road.

More rock wall art.

And then it switched over to glass art.

"Beverly Jean," by Jessica Gonzales
(2022) - assisted by Dakin Martin.

Cute little painted windows along
the backs of buildings on an alley

An interesting business.

Art by Muck Rock

Entryway to a home.

Another artsy entry.

Ah, the sweet scent of honeysuckle!

Staircase #3, 181 steps (the longest).

Okay, here we go. This is the longest set of steps. I like the murals they paint along some of the staircases.

Jan & Rick. Can you see them?

Looking down the stairs.

I'm in the foreground, 
Jan is up above me.

Jan & Rick.

Tree tobacco.

A nice welcome gate on 
the way up.

A decorative windmill (with
Spiderman) in the front yard .

A car-door gate.

Pottery post.

Desert bird of paradise.

Weather vane!

Looking down the rainbow railings.

From here we took a short detour to go out on Castle Rock. Yesterday, we had views of it from across the canyon. Today, we got up close and personal. The views are beautiful of Tombstone Canyon and the mountains.

Shadow fun on 
Castle Rock.

More shadow fun.

Bob, Jan, and Rick out on
Castle Rock.

There is so much art along the route! I'm not even trying to show you all of it. And I'm not duplicating any art from yesterday's Volksmarch.

An old mine opening 
across the canyon.

Rick is life imitating art.

Pretty tiles on the 
side of a house.

More art by Muck Rock.

This is someone's front fence!

My favorite art of the day! It is by
Marcela Lubian.

On our way to Staircase #4 we passed by Bisbee High School and Gymnasium. An interesting fact about this four-story school is that each level has an entrance at ground level. That speaks to the fact about how hilly Bisbee is!

We went past the high school
gymnasium first.

Next, we passed the rest of 
Bisbee High School.

Staircase #4, 78 stairs.

Beautiful little garden.

Jan enjoying her morning
coffee along with the views.

Next up: staircase #5, 151 steps. This is the second-longest set of stairs.

And, we're going up again!

We stopped part-way up
for an art photo op.
Rick & Jan with flower.

Me and Bob with the flower.
It looks like the flower wants
to eat us!

MuckRock really gets around!

I love weather vanes!

This is my favorite house today!

Looking out at Bisbee, the Lavender
Pit Mine, and the mountains.

From the road we were on we had a 
bird's eye view of the County Courthouse
and St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

Now we're higher than
Castle Rock!

There is actually an annual event for The Great Stair Climb in October. The "Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb" is on October 21, 2022. (However, if you want to go this year, it's too late. The Great Stair Climb is sold out!) If you'd like more info on the history of The Great Stair Climb (it has to do with building stairs over old mule paths to help the miners get to the mines), the course elevation graph, a map of the stair locations, and a full description of the event, click on the link above.

Just to confuse the whole stair-climbing exercise, the next set of stairs has nothing to do with the Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb, except that it takes place right after the Bisbee 1000 event in October (not sure if it's the same day or what). This is its own event called the Ironman Ice Competition (155 steps). This event takes place across Tombstone Canyon Rd. from the "Iron Man" statue. 

The 155 steps.

The way Rick & Jan described this competition is that the competitors have to run a block of ice up the stairs holding the ice one-handed with tongs! That sounds really hard, because ice is heavy. If you're up for the challenge, check out the date for the Ironman Ice Competition on their website. 

Here's the "official" description: "Another opportunity to test your grit (and your sanity!). Event is after the Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb, with Regular and Fire & Ice Full Gear Public Safety Divisions! Extreme sport! Cash prizes! Competitors grab a 10# block of ice in a pair of antique tongs, sprint up 155 stairs, dash across a trail, zoom down a steep, winding road to an exhilarating finish. Approximately 1/4-mile total."

There is a Bed & Breakfast in 
the Bisbee 1000 The Great Stair Climb
building; hence, the art above.

Rick, Bob, & Jan in front
of the Bisbee 1000 HQ.

How do you like my new
beehive, conehead hairdo? LOL!

We had a bit of a walk to Stairway #6, but there was no lack of things to look at!

The left side of a large mural.

The right side of the large mural 
(unfortunately it was in the shade).

The information about the above mural.

A historic, sepia-toned mural with
Bob, Jan, and Rick.

Glass art in a front yard.

I loved all the zebras in this yard!

in bloom.

We did Stairway #6 yesterday, but I wanted to get a better photo of the dragon gate at Mountainview Dragon Retreat.

Stairway #6, 136 steps.

The dragon gate.

After Staircase #6, we walked a long way on Adams Ave. and then down Moon Gate. As Moon Gate hooked up with Tombstone Canyon Rd., I spied a grotesque to photograph. When I looked at the photo later, I saw that James Bond had photo-bombed my picture.

James Bond photo-bombed
my grotesque picture!

We named this tree sculpture

One of the four grotesques
in the front yard of a home 
for sale. (And, no, they won't
 stay with the house.)

 A MuckRock mural of a rainbow
and unicorn.

MuckRock mural again.

And another MuckRock mural!

Rick plays guitar so he 
especially likes this mural.

We have made it to Stairway #7, 96 stairs. 

Rick & Jan on their way up.

Bob raced to the top. I 
think he was inspired by
the Iron Man.

Looking all the way down.

We walked through a neighborhood to get to our next staircase. Again, we found all kinds of art.
The Y knot.

The Fly.

A scrap metal parrot.

Another view of the Cochise 
County Courthouse.

A gorgeous dragon on a staircase.

This mural is on the end of the 
Bisbee Woman's Club retaining wall.

(See video below for the main mural.)

Today, I did not get pictures of Staircase #8, 127 stairs. I had a photo of us coming down them in yesterday's blog. So, on to Staircase #9, 98 stairs. 

Art on Staircase #9.

We made it! We finished the Bisbee 1000! Woo hoo! No hurt knee and I kept up just fine. This was an awesome walk, and very different from yesterday's walk. There were only a couple of duplications in our route.

A different set of stairs (not part of the Bisbee 1000) took us down to Tombstone Canyon Rd. From there, it was about 3/4-mile back to the campground.

Jan in front and some 

It was definitely time to eat. I was getting "hangry." That was a lot of effort and we were running on fumes from our breakfasts a few hours ago.

That will be "the rest of the story" in a Part 2 blog for today! I need some rest (and food!).


  1. You were right; I'd LOVE Bisbee. I'm ready to buy another RV and get out there and climb those steps and enjoy the murals and art. What a gem! That could entertain me for a few days for sure and just to think of the challenge! You quite possibly downplayed the climb. Tom has bad knees and would probably use that as an excuse to get out of the climb, but I can show him the pictures of you and inform him that he's a wimp if he doesn't at least try it.
    The ART: I never got tired of looking at all the neat stuff. That Muck Rock is a talented artist that seems to have no limitations. I liked the birdhouses next to Rick's favorite guitar mural. I am so very pumped after reading this. My foot/ankle is FINALLY feeling better. Planning on diving again next week, and possibly throughout the summer, depending on Debbie's health. We (Tom) can't leave here as things stand now. I don't think I'd want to be in that Bisbee 100 or even there with the crowds, but then again, the costumes looked so creative on the link. And that ICE one, o my. Carrying 10# of ice. My luck it would be melted by the time I got done. Did you notice the winner on one of the links did the 100 in 29 minutes, 55 seconds? I didn't check out all the years. I am so pumped after reading this. Thanks for another great post!

    1. I'm so happy your foot/ankle is feeling better. You have been chomping at the bit to be let out of the gate!

      Still more Bisbee to come! I love your enthusiasm. You would not be disappointed in Bisbee. There are good restaurants and bars, diverse musicians. The first time I went to Bisbee years ago, I did not do it justice. I think my friend and I just stopped briefly on our way through, not knowing how much there was to see. I remember that she and I tried to do the Queen Mine Tour, but it was sold out. (We hadn't planned ahead.) I'm with you in that I wouldn't like being there with big crowds.

      Be sure if you come to this area that you also hike in Chiricahua National Monument!!!

  2. Thanks for hints. I need to stay pumped up. Told Tom you climbed in your knee brace with no issues.

    1. You can stop as much as you want on the stair climb. There are even landings on some of the staircases. We weren't doing a competition, just enjoying the sights along the way.


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