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[TowerTalk] Climbing Belt with Leg straps??

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Climbing Belt with Leg straps??
From: (K7LXC)
Date: Thu, 18 Dec 1997 10:48:14 EST
In a message dated 97-12-17 21:46:04 EST, writes:

> All I've ever used for tower work is a repelling harness. I use a dual
>  system of caribeaners & lanyard so that I can stay attached to the tower &
>  position my lanyard (or vice-versa) as necessary. I have fallen while
>  climbing rock using the same harness; the fall arrest capabilities are
>  Tower climbing belts are heavy, cumbersome, uncomfortable & expensive; not
>  to mention less safe than a harness because they only go around the waist.
>  If a climber incorporates the full body harness that goes with the
>  "climbing belt" to eliminate the possibility of falling out of the belt,
>  the climber has also added more weight to the system which adds to the
>  fatigue of being on a tower for several hours. Rapelling gear is made of
>  double stitched nylon similar to seat belt material which is much lighter &
>  stronger than its leather counterpart. This is why people who climb rocks
>  literally thousands of feet above the ground developed & entrust their
>  lives to these products. If a climber wants the added protection of a full
>  body harness (in addition to a repelling harness), the nylon climbers
>  harness is the way to go.

    I disagree with you. 

    I have spent several years as a mountain and rock climber so I am
intimately familiar with the hardware and software involved. Actually this is
how I got started in the tower climbing business. 

     I have also spent the last ten years as a professional tower climber and
the owner of a couple of commercial tower services companies. 

     Any piece of safety equipment is highly specialized and is designed for a
specific application. The BEST safety equipment for a job are products
designed for THAT application. While the basic premise (wearer safety) is the
same, it is the subtle differences that detract from their relative

    My opinion is that a climbing harness is about 60% appropriate for tower
work while a tower climbing belt or harness is 100% appropriate. Will the
climbing harness work? Yes. Would I use or recommend one for tower work? No. 

     They are also subject to different standards - UIAA for climbing
equipment and OSHA for tower equipment. It's an 'apples and oranges'

    There is a company that advertises safety equipment in ham magazines that
is selling a fall-arrest harness designed for window washing. Will it work?
Well, sort of but it's still a compromise and another 60% solution.

    As a non-professional tower owner, you can use (or not use) anything you
want. I've seen enough poor techniques, equipment and installations to last me
a lifetime and I would just prefer that people do things correctly and safely.
When I was your age (33), I did things that when I look back I consider myself
lucky that they turned out okay. As your age, wisdom and sense of mortality
increase, you may also change your mind.

    Anyone interested in a reprint of my 3-part series on safety equipment
that appeared in my "Up The Tower" column in CQ Contest magazine can send a
buck to TOWER TECH, Box 572, Woodinville, WA, 98072.

73 and climb safely,  Steve   K7LXC

    TOWER TECH -- professional tower supplies and services for amateurs

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