Are You Brave Enough to Ride One of the World's Scariest Elevators?

4th Dec 18

To finish off the year we thought we’d write a fun post looking at some of the scariest elevators in the world. Are you brave enough to take them on?


Bailong Elevator (aka the Hundred Dragons Elevator)
Quick Facts

Location: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, People’s Republic of China
Height: 326 m (1070 ft)
Speed: 5 metres per second
One-way travel time: 66 seconds
Open to public since: April 2002
Designed and constructed by: Rangger Elevator Company, Germany
Cost to build: 180 million yuan
Time to complete: 3 years

Recognised by the Guinness World Records as the tallest outdoor elevator in the world, the Bailong Elevator is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The elevator is built into a carefully chosen quartzite cliff face which offers views out over the UNESCO Heritage Site’s karst monolith rock formations.

The first 154 metres of the vertical ride is enclosed within mountain walls with the remaining 172 metres of exposed steel running three separate, fully glazed sightseeing elevators. Too scared to take the elevator but still want to get to the top? Fortunately, there is the option to take a cable car or bus (with a reported 99 road bends) or climb the 999 stone steps to the top.

Hammetschwand Lift
Quick Facts

Location: Bürgenstock Mountain, overlooking Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Height: 153 m (501 ft)
Speed: 2.7 metres per second
One-way travel time: less than one minute
Open to public since: 1905
Designed and constructed by: Franz Josef Bucher (original) / Schindler Group, Switzerland (refurbishment 1935)
Cost to build: 500,000 swiss franc
Time to complete: 2 years (original)

Touted as the highest exterior lift in Europe, the Hammetschwand lift is a true feat of engineering given that it was originally constructed in 1905. Entering from the pit of the mountain, the first 14 metres is encased within the mountain before the incredible views of Lake Lucerne come into view.

The metal cab carries a maximum of eight people and is enclosed within a metal lattice tower with a surface area of just 2x2 metres. To get to the summit without taking the elevator, follow the legendary 5km Felsenweg Path to the top.

The Gateway Arch
Quick facts

Location: St Louis, Missouri, United States of America
Height: 192 m (630 ft)
Speed: 3.7 mph
One-way travel time: 4 minutes up and 3 minutes down
Open to public since: 1967
Designed by: Eero Saarinen
Cost to build: USD$13.4 million (plus a further USD$2 million for the tram system construction)
Time to complete: 5 years (plus a further 2 years for the tram system)

Although not strictly an elevator, the Gateway Arch is the tallest man-made monument in the United States (and it’s as wide as it is tall) so we thought it was worth a mention. The tram ride begins with interactive ‘pre-boarding’ exhibits showcasing the history and trivia behind the Arch.

The enclosed seated elevator cars are just four feet high and take you to a viewing platform at the top of the arch which offers panoramic views that take in downtown St. Louis, the Mississippi River, and Illinois. Here’s what it’s like inside the Arch. If you’re remotely claustrophobic, you might want to think twice before jumping on board!

Jeddah Tower
Quick facts

Previously known as: Kingdom Tower and Mile-High Tower
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Height: 1 km (3,281 ft)
Speed: 10 metres per second
Designed by: Adrian Smith
Creator: Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal
Cost to build: Skyscraper cost estimated at USD$1.23 billion
Time to complete: Currently under construction – due 2020

We couldn’t talk about the world’s scariest elevators without mentioning the 59 elevators that will occupy space in what will become the world’s tallest (1km high) skyscraper — the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia. Dubai’s Burj Khalifa (at only 827m), which has held the record since 2010 is set to be knocked off its throne in 2020.

To reach the world’s highest observation deck (at 644m), elevator transfers are made at three different sky lobbies nestled within the tower and with the air pressure 10% lower at 944m than at ground level, the elevator speed has been carefully considered so as not to cause nausea for guests!


Space Elevator

To wrap things up we thought we’d also mention the ‘space elevator’ concept currently being researched by experts in Japan. In September this year a miniature version of the apparatus was launched into space as proof of concept of moving an object along a cable between two satellites. Although current technology is not yet sufficient to realise the concept, the idea is now considered to be a realistic possibility in the not too distant future.


Bailong Elevator by Top China Travel
Hammetschwand Lift by Roland Zumbuehl [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
Gateway Arch by Sam Valadi, under CC BY 2.0

Filed under Commercial Lifts

Written by

As National Sales and Operations Manager, Mark’s role includes building and maintaining business relationships, and managing and overseeing larger projects, all while keeping a watchful eye out for business opportunities.  Having a background in the health and disability sector provides Mark with the necessary understanding to assist clients when considering access solutions for people with mobility requirements.

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