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[TowerTalk] Climbing Alone

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Climbing Alone
From: (Dave Raymond-CSUS04)
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 16:25:32 -0600
These are all good common sense rules.  It's bad enough to climb when
you have no one to support you on the ground.  However, climbing alone
without a cell phone, or HT is truly asking for trouble.  Sometimes a
cell phone or HT might be worthless.  

Think about it. . . if you're up there at 130' alone, out in the
country, with no one around (my circumstances), and you pass out or
seriously hurt yourself, what in the world would happen to you?
Obviously, not even a cell phone or HT would help here.  Not a pretty
picture. . .   

I, too, have climbed towers by myself many times over the past 35 years,
but it's stupid.  At age 49 (and I am in good shape) I avoid going up
any real distance without at least having someone around that could
summon help if needed.  They don't have to be part of your "ground

Dave, W0FLS

> ----------
> From:
> Reply To:
> Sent:         Thursday, December 11, 1997 12:21 PM
> To:
> Subject:      [TowerTalk] Climbing Alone
> Hi,
>       Well, Ed's (K4SB) accident certainly has brought out quite a few
> comments.  N8JF wondered how many of us climb alone - my bet is
> probably
> an awful lot of us do.  I certainly have done many hours of climbing
> alone
> on my towers.  I just don't have enough ham friends to impose upon for
> the 
> amount of work I've done in the last few years.  My terrific daughter
> will
> help from time to time, but she's married and lives a few miles away,
> so 
> her availability is limited.  My terrific wife would, except she has a
> great
> many physical problems with her fibromyalgia.  I can count on my next
> door
> neighbor in a pinch, but I don't like to bother him too often because
> he has
> spent more than his share of time helping me with many things over the
> years.
>       If you're in the same situation as I am, then I guess the best
> thing
> to do is come up with a plan for safety.  The 2 meter ht or cellular
> phone
> is a good idea, but I don't have either of those.  I do have a set of
> common sense rules that I try to follow, perhaps these might be good
> to
> remember (even though they probably seem obvious):
>       1. Never climb a wet tower (after a rain storm).  If you
>          are foolish enough to break this rule (as I occasionally have
>          been), remember that doing so will be like walking on ice.
>          Your feet can easily slip on a wet rung, so climb VERY
>          Move VERY SLOWLY.  If the temperature is below 50 degrees,
> wear
>          gloves.  The gloves will help keep your hands dry so they
> won't
>          get cold.  Cold hands tend not to respond quickly when you
> need
>          then most.  If you find yourself starting to lose the feeling
> in
>          your fingers, it's past time to head back down.  Don't let
> the
>          fact that the temperature is above freezing obscure the fact
> that
>          you may be getting a minor case of frostbite.  Cold wet steel
>          will take the heat out of your fingers very quickly, even at
>          above freezing temperatures.
>       2. Never climb an icy tower.  NEVER, NO EXCEPTIONS.
>       3. Never climb when the temperature is below 32 degrees.  (Yeah,
>          I've done that too.)  If you really must, remember that the
> air
>          never stops moving above the tree levels.  Constant air
> motion
>          plus cold temperatures very quickly adds up to hypothermia -
> a
>          truly bad thing to have happen to you while you are on a
> tower.
>          You must wear very good gloves, and even these will probably
> not
>          keep your hands terribly warm while constantly gripping cold 
>          steel.  You must be ever so concious of how cold you are
> getting,
>          and how long it will take you to get down the tower.  Be
> willing
>          to leave your work partially done and go down the tower if
> you
>          are geting too cold.  If you wait too long, you may find
> yourself
>          in a very bad situation.
>       4. Never use a come-a-long to lift anything on a tower.  No, I
> am
>          not making light of Ed's accident.  I have used them on the 
>          ground for pulling/tensioning things, but I could tell that
> the
>          one I owned was not terribly trustworthy.
>       5. Never get yourself in a position where you can't stop what 
>          you're doing if you are overmatched by the job.  We would all
>          prefer not to feel obligated to drop an expensive antenna in 
>          such a situation, so don't get in to a position where you
> have
>          to choose between the antenna or an injury.  (If you're like
>          many of us, you might be tempted to make the wrong choice!)
>       6. When you have a heavy weight hanging on the tower (i.e., an
>          antenna or tower section hanging from a gin pole), make sure
>          you climb the tower on a different side than the one the
> object
>          is hanging from.  Keeping an eye on it also is good, but if
>          something goes wrong, it will probably come down quicker than
>          you can react.  
>       7. When raising a heavy object via gin pole (presumably you are
> on
>          the ground more or less below the object), spend as much time
>          looking at the gin pole as you do the object.  A problem 
>          developing at the gin pole is more likely to happen than the 
>          rope coming untied at the object.  Keep an exit route
> uncluttered
>          and in the back of your mind.  If you have to run quickly,
> you 
>          don't want to have to stop and think where you are going to
> run.
> I hope I haven't bored too many of you with the obvious.  I have
> learned to
> review these ideas myself before working alone.  Maybe they can be
> helpful
> to others in preventing injuries or death.
> 73, Dave Clemons K1VUT
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