Jacob’s Ladder in St. Helena Is One of the Longest, Steepest Stairways in the World
1 Switzerland’s Niesen Treppenlauf – The longest staircase in the world.
Mount Niesen is a perfectly pyramid-shaped mountain in the picturesque Swiss Alps. Alongside this mountain is a two-mile-long staircase with a world record of 11,674 steps, with a 65% gradient. It is steep and long, not for people who start huffing and puffing after ten stairs! This staircase has enough steps to climb the world’s highest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa, four times; the Eiffel Tower seven times; and the Statue of Liberty 33 times! But these stairs are only used for maintenance and are not open to the public – except once a year. Around June, 500 lucky participants can experience the adrenaline pump by climbing these stairs. But this, too, often gets canceled because of snow.
2 Haʻikū Stairs in Hawaii has been closed to climbing since 1987.
The Haʻikū stairs, also nicknamed “Stairway to Heaven,” is a steep, steel-step structure consisting of 3,922 steps and a height of 850 meters. The Haʻikū stairs used to lead up to the top-secret Haiku Radio Station, built by the U.S. Navy around 1942-43. Before, it was a wooden ladder that was later replaced by metal steps and ramps. The beginning of the climb is still wooden. It is considered to be quite a difficult climb, and you need strength and endurance to climb this “Stairway to Heaven.” Some sections are too steep, while a few others are without a fence. But if you make your way to the top, you will be looking at a lush green, beautiful panoramic landscape, which will have been well worth it.
In the 1970s, after this trail became famous through the crime drama series Magnum, P.I., visitors overcrowded this trail. Due to this, access was banned. Access to the trail, as well as the station, was closed to the public in 1987. Today, if you want to climb up, walking along the route is your only option. The stairs are still unavailable for climbing.
3 The Pailon del Diablo Waterfall (Devil’s Cauldron) stairs in Ecuador play tricks on you.
It is a tropical paradise, with the gushing 265-foot waterfall Pailon del Diablo plunging into the Atlantic Ocean. But to enjoy the famous Ruta de las Cascadas (Route of the Waterfalls), you must work a little. “Work” means climbing up a scary, slippery staircase that lives up to the name of the place. It is a devil in disguise. It’s perfectly safe to look at but reveals its perilous aspects soon enough.
The stairs are uneven, have different heights, and are made of smooth, oversized pebbles with almost no traction. Add to that the peril that it always remains slippery because of the spray from the waterfall. Visitors are warned to be careful. When you make the climb, the entire scene kind of blends like a watercolor, creating an illusion of a stone slide. The stairs are a perfect example of a difficult, dangerous path that leads to a worthwhile reward in the end!
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