The first 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb was held when 5 Colorado firefighters gathered at a skyscraper in downtown Denver to climb 110 flights of stairs on September 11, 2005. In doing so, they symbolically completed the journey started at the World Trade Center by their fallen FDNY brothers. Participation in the Stair Climbs steadily increased, and in 2010, the original group from Denver worked with National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to develop a template that would allow the event to be replicated in new cities, leading to dozens of Stair Climbs across the country.
Prior to 2015, climbers in Denver were hesitant to embrace the fundraising element of the experience that seemed to come from outside their fraternity because they preferred to focus on the memorial aspect of the experience they created. Their reluctance was representative of climbers across the country who shared the commitment to honor fallen firefighters through the Stair Climbs. With dedicated and passionate climbers participating in 41 Stair Climbs across the country, the organization needed a solution that would allow a culture of fundraising to develop around their heartfelt events in an organic way.