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By Jim Cornelius
News Editor 

Firefighters complete stair climb


Last updated 3/15/2022 at Noon

Tom Craig

Weary but satisfied firefighters at the top of the Columbia Center. They took 69 flights — 788 vertical feet — in full turnouts and breathing apparatus. It’s all in aid of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Kris Kristofferson may have mourned a Sunday morning coming down, but on March 13, eight Sisters firefighters celebrated a Sunday morning going up. And up. And up.

The team from Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Department participated in the annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Firefighter Stairclimb at the Columbia Center in Seattle. The event is a major fundraiser for LLS. The 2,000 participants are career, volunteer, or retired firefighters who climb up the second-tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi in full turnout gear, weighing over 60 pounds, while using breathing apparatus.

It’s not easy. Firefighters climb 69 flights of stairs covering 788 vertical feet of distance.

“The way I’ve described it, kind of tongue-in-cheek, is that every step is misery,” Deputy Chief Tim Craig told The Nugget, “but when you get to the top, the adrenaline rush is worth it.”

The sense of accomplishment is profound,” Chief Craig said.

The Sisters team was led by team captain David Ward, with Travis Bootes, Travis Martin, Campbell Clark, Rachel Ulm, Craig, Avery Deutz, and Tyler Smith.

The crew trained hard for the event, working on conditioning by running on a stair-climber. The firefighters also train regularly in full gear, which makes a big difference in being prepared for the heat, fatigue, and breathing challenges of the event, Craig said.

The most important aspect of the event is, of course, the fundraising for LLS. In that, the Sisters Fire team looms large. They set a goal of $18,000 and, as of Monday morning, they were at $23,158 — money raised through community contributions.

“For such a small department, we’re actually a pretty big fundraiser,” Craig said. “We’ve been incredibly well supported.”

Fundraising continues through June. To contribute to the Sisters Fire fundraising efforts or for more information on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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