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Is there a short and clear word or phrase, that is not pretentious-sounding, meaning "visited and ascended", as in buildings, e.g. Bert visited the lobby of Empire State Building, but Ernie went up to the observation deck?

Ernie ________ the Empire State Building

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Will Ernie went to the top of Empire State Building serve your purpose?

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cool, I think that will do it. thanks! – sibbaldiopsis Jun 22 '11 at 3:18
If I go straight to the top of the Empire State Building, then I don't visit it. – kiamlaluno Jun 22 '11 at 3:23
@kiamlaluno: But most ESB visitors go straight to the top. – Callithumpian Jun 22 '11 at 4:11
@Callithumpian - That approach has its dangers. – MT_Head Jun 22 '11 at 5:37
@Callithumpian That is not visiting the tower, though. It would be like if I say I visited a museum, and I just went to the restrooms. – kiamlaluno Jun 22 '11 at 10:07

Usually, the term is "climbed", as in

Ernie climbed the Empire State Building.

This can be seen by the fact that people also climb tourist sites i.e."We went to KL and climbed the Twin Towers," or "Jack and Henry climbed Shoreman's Mountain", meaning to say, they visited and went up these sites.

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I think your initial suggestion was perfectly acceptable

Ernie ascended the Empire State Building

alternatively you could use

Ernie scaled the Empire State Building

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Ernie climbed up the tower

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How about "we went up the tower"?

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