Reaching the Top of the TransAmerica Pyramid


So yesterday my coworkers and I were given a rare opportunity to reach the very top of the Transamerica Pyramid. Security is extremely tight at this building, since it is a recognizable San Francisco landmark. The building was the intended target of a foiled terrorist attack involving the hijacking of airplanes (this was in 1995). So after 9/11, access to the very top has been completely restricted.

People can book the 48th floor, which is the top floor with windows. As you can see from the picture, however, there is still quite a distance from that floor and the very tip of the pyramid. In order to reach the very top, you have to start at the 48th floor and climb several stories of stairs.

These weren't ordinary stairs, however. This was a steel rail stairway extending up at a steep 60 degree angle for approximately 6-8 stories. These stairs were so steep, that it felt like we were climbing ladders. So imagine climbing a steel ladder several stories high, and you get the idea of how much of a workout we got.

Once we got to the top of stairs, we had to climb actual ladders (2 of them) to the very top. Once at the top, we climbed into a glass pyramid cap that houses the building's aircraft warning light/beacon. It's similar to being inside the top of a super tall lighthouse, except that it was extremely cramped. There was only enough room for the four of us, and even then we had to crouch down.

One of us found a visitor's log, and we each signed it. The log was started in 1997 and had maybe 3-5 pages worth of signings.

Anyway, it was an awesome experience. Now every time I look at the San Francisco skyline, I can say I reached the top of the Transamerica Pyramid.


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