Glad you enjoyed it. Yes, add a blindfold, take a swig of whiskey to
keep warm, go alone, leave your cell phone and radio behind, and don't
check the guywires, see how far you can sway the tower at the top, and
bring a parachute.. :-) oh yea.. :-)
Unlike my alter ego in the mock note I wrote, I'm always super careful
on climbing. It requires extensive planning, teamwork, double safety
procedures, vigilence about weather. We were on Sunlight Peak in June
and a freak storm hit - within 15 minutes of getting off the tower - ice
pellets, rain, lightning. We were a few hundred yards from the last
tower on the Peak - just 10 minutes before all hell broke loose. In the
Rockies, storms can appear without much warning - so you depend on your
ground personnel to keep an eye out. We use weather radar on notebook
pc's tied into the net, to supplement pre-planning reviews.
Everything makes a difference, from hair cut, to clothes, boots, to
safety equipment, glasses to organizational items. I use a small
backpack with clips, organized so it can be attached nearby and serve as
a small tool bag, hardware spare parts kit, walkie talkie holder, all at
about 5 lbs. I do take duplicate tools, all the standard bolt/nut sizes
we have on the tower (3 wrenches) and spares, along with 2 small
Just having a climbing bag outfitted properly is crucial, as far as I'm
concerned. To someone who hasn't been up there it may seem trivial. I
want every second to count, every movement to be preconsidered,
everything I need in its proper place, and within easy reach. Years ago,
I realized having to make a second trip because someone pulled vinyl
tape out of the kit or splicing tape, or a 5/16ths speed wrench doesn't
While I prep each trip, I'm thinking we'll have a 'hands-off' pack with
duplicate equipment for the climb. Using a hauling rope to bring up a
new bag with missing tools is dangerous, unpleasent, and unnessary.
Take a course, work with experienced people, don't hold out for cheaper
gear, clip in often, rest, relax, focus, tell your pals to shut up
while you are climbing, clip in, rest before you go, as some one said -
bring water, dehydration is real at altitude - if you have a feeling
about not climbing *don't*, trust your skeptical instinct. If you don't
have the experience, don't climb. If you want to practice, go up 4 feet
off the ground and do everything you plan on doing 100 feet up. You fall
from 4 feet up, you are going to hurt, but you'll like be alive. Get to
know all your gear within a few feet of the ground - practice using your
backup ropes, gear, repell from a low height. Always have a backup.
And finally, don't listen to me. I'm not an instructor, and I'm not
getting paid to write this. I do care about any of you that are
climbing. It is dangerous - but fun, and exhilerating - if done
properly. :-) Take the course, be careful. Stay alive.
You forgot to mention the blindfold.
Glad wisps have a cents of humor
A. Huppenthal wrote:
First thing I do is get some leather soled, slip on shoes. I walk
through the mud and hop on the tower. I take an extra jacket that I
tie off to my waist and, if my legs get tired, re-tie it to the
tower leg and around me. Normally, the backpack I have on is filled
with tools - I bring everything, power drill, bits, wratchet set -
its heavy and bulky, but better than having to return to the ground.
I usally wear just one glove, that way if the ice on the tower is
bothering my bare hand I can just hold on with the gloved hand. I
find it challanging when the wind is blowing just before an
electrical storm to get to the highest part of the tower before I
hear the thunder. I'll count down 18.104.22.168.5 after the flash, and if I
can get to 3, I know I'm safe.
Sometimes my loose jacket will snag on an antenna on the way up and
hold me up for a few seconds but I can swing around holding on with
one hand. I never climb with a rope. If I do drag a rope up with me,
I make sure its a nylon one - light and with no give. I'll weave it
through the tower as I go up, and keep the end of it wrapped up on
one hand - usually the bare one.
Once I'm up above 100 feet, I'll lock an arm around the tower and put
much shoe into a cross member to get relaxed. Sometimes the blood
cuts off in my arm and I can't feel anything in that arm, but I know
I'm safe. Often when I'm pulling up a 150 lbs of extra stuff on a '25
tower, it tends to band into other antennas and get stuck, but if you
pull really hard, you can normally get it loose.
And if you do any of this stuff, don't call yourself a professional,
or complain if you are dead in a day of climbing.
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