Fear of stairs - Egyptian tombs?

Aug 17th, 2008, 01:23 PM
  #1  
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Fear of stairs - Egyptian tombs?

My daughter (27) and I are going to Egypt in October, and she has a (rather unusual) fear of long sets of stairs. It's not exactly a fear of heights - it's that when she can see a lot of stairs extending below her, she has a fear that she'll lose her balance and fall all the way to the bottom. It's worse if there's no railing, worse if it's steep, and worse if it's long (a lot of steps). Can anyone describe the stairs leading into the tombs on the West Bank in Luxor? Are some worse than others? Which ones should we avoid? Thanks!
Karen
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Aug 17th, 2008, 02:32 PM
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Many of the open tombs in Luxor that most visit are accessed down a sloped walkway, not stairs.

That's not to say that some of the tombs don't have long/high stairways outside and inside, and some down a ladder into the dark. From my one visit here, these were the ones we could visit on our own after having been into the others.

If you're with a guide, he can advise the situation with any particular tomb. If on your own, then ask.

When it comes to the Pyramids at Giza, there are lots of stairs, handrails and one's body is bent over... very hot and humid inside. However, there's a limit to the number of visitors allowed in daily. We didn't go into the Pyramids and from those who did commented "then your back and thighs thank you" - it wasn't their most pleasant experience.
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Aug 17th, 2008, 03:52 PM
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Thanks, sandi. She's fine on ramps, so it sounds like we'll get to go inside some of them at least. It's just steps - long, steep ones, especially. She got really upset (tears) at a couple of the temples in Siem Reap, thinking she could go up but when she got to the top, was terrified of going back down. It's awful for her, so I'd like to avoid it. The good thing, I guess, is she can see the stairs before going down - right? In Siem Reap, after having climbed UP, she had no choice but to go back down. A similar thing happened at some ruins in Peru. Yes, asking our guide is probably the best thing. Thanks. Anyone remember specifics about any particular ones?
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Aug 17th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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Dear althom 1122,
This might help www.thebanmappingproject.com
The web site has info about all of the tombs in the valley of the kings including maps, photos, floor plans, virtual tours, stats on height, width, pitch, etc. You can see if there are stairs, how many, and the slope. Do the following:
go to www.thebanmappingproject.com and click on
atlas of the valley of the kings. Click on Valley of the kings map, pull down the names of the individual tombs, and then click on description and also maps and plans for each. Detailed floor plans will show you all the measurements and pitch of each staircase.
Good luck.
Baracuda
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Aug 18th, 2008, 09:53 AM
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I have a fear of long steep stairs too but I'm OK if there's a rail. I had no problems at any tombs in Egypt. Don't miss Ramses XI, it was fab and no stairs, just a ramp.

A side note just in case it's ever needed: If your daughter ever considers doing the Inca Trail in Peru please tell her to reconsider. I did the Inca Trail just 2 months ago and I survived, but I got extremely nervous with so many steep climbs down stairs.
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Aug 18th, 2008, 05:14 PM
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Baracuda - thanks for the links! They'll help a lot.
And P_M - we were in Peru last year. Didn't do the Inca trail, but at Machu Picchu she was a little nervous at times. It was Ollantaytambo that really upset her. She was a little teary-eyed and shaking when she got to the bottom. We had debated about the Inca Trail (not because of the stairs - didn't know it had a lot of stairs!), but ended up not doing it. She kind of wished we had and talked about going back someday. I'll be sure and tell her about the steps! Thanks.
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Aug 18th, 2008, 06:26 PM
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althom1122, I'm glad to find this post because when I was on the Inca Trail in June, I thought I was the only person in the world with a phobia about long steep stairs. It's comforting to know I'm not alone.

For the most part I handled the Inca Trail OK. But when I was coming down from Dead Woman's pass I had a major meltdown. One of the tour guides had to take my arm and help me get down all those stairs. Please let your daughter know the Inca Trail has very few flat spots or inclines. It consists mostly of hundreds (if not thousands) of steps up and and the same number of steps down. And of course, many of these steps are very narrow and uneven. The steps at Machu Picchu were scary too but they were a cakewalk compared to the steps on the Inca Trail. Despite all that I'm still glad for having hiked the Inca Trail, but it sounds like she would have an even harder time with it than I did.

Sorry to hijack this thread.
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Aug 19th, 2008, 03:11 PM
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P_M, I talked to my daughter last night and she, too, was tickled to hear she's not the only one with that phobia. I shared the info on Machu Picchu, and she decided it wasn't for her, after all! Thanks again.
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Aug 19th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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When I first read this, I thought that a fear of stairs was weird, until you described the experience at Angkor. Then it made sense.

Those stairs at Angkor ARE steep and scary from the top. I actually had to abort one trip up the stairs at Angkor Wat (one without rails) because one of my feet slipped a little while going up. I didn't slip nearly enough to totally lose my footing, but it made me shift my balance a little while looking down at the same time. I had to inch back down, step by step.

It was a weird experience because I had been up and down steeper stairs earlier, but that little slip totally ruined those stairs for me afterward.
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Aug 19th, 2008, 06:18 PM
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In the VoK don't miss KV5/6 - there is an extra charge which is well worth it to see the Book of the Night painted on the ceiling of the burial chamber. We spent 30 minutes in the tomb alone in January. (walk is an easy, sloped ramp)
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Aug 20th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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Haven't done the Inca steps/trails, but remember Angkor temples well. The shallowest steps, uneven risers, and, of course, no handrails. Going up was fine, but coming down was a bit scary. Took a deep breath, and placed feet on steps sideways and proceeded slowly as the sweat ooozed from every pore on my body. I had never experience worse humidity anywhere in the world.

In comparison, Egypt is easy. Mostly slopes as mentioned, and you have a choice of which tombs to visit.
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Aug 20th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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This has turned out to be a great thread for a stair-a-phobe like me. If I'm ever fortunate enough to visit Angkor Wat I'll remember to enjoy the view from the ground. ;-)
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Aug 20th, 2008, 05:59 PM
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I'm so glad I'll be able to ease my daughter's concerns about Egypt. She really, really wants to see the tombs, but has been worried about the stairs. It sounds like it'll be much easier than Peru or Angkor. (And we're not doing Mt. Sinai.) It's not like she can't go down any stairs - it's just ones that are particularly long/steep. And thanks for the tips on the specific tombs! We're getting excited - October is just around the corner!
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Aug 20th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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I'm glad we could help and please post back with any and all questions about Egypt.

For what it's worth, only one couple in my group did Mt. Sinai. I asked them about it later and their response was far less than enthusiastic. I was sorry they didn't enjoy their excursion, but glad to know I didn't miss anything.
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