At risk of boring folks, here's my last (I promise!) safety speech on this
subject. See http://www.buckinghammfg.com/ for a ton of info on pole and
tree climbing equipment. Southwesten Bell uses Buckingham pole belts,
straps, and climbers. Buckingham also makes a completely *different* line of
equipment for arborists. I don't know about the others. I expect some use
Klein, also. Just as pole climbing and tree climbing are different, pole
gaffs and arborist's gaffs are very different. Using pole gaffs in a tree
will get you hurt (they are way too short and incorrectly shaped for
penetrating bark). If you plan to climb trees, at least ensure you have tree
gaffs first, which are anywhere from 3" to 5" long with thinner points
compared to short fat 1-1/2" pole gaffs (they are definitely not "a.k.a.
tree climbing gaffs").
I apologize to the list for sounding like the safety police on this pole
thing. I spoke up because I sensed a bit of "no sweat, anybody can do this",
and "heck, I ain't skeered" attitude on pole climbing among some, and I
already see too many guys in wheelchairs at hamfests. As a hint, Ma Bell
spends 2 weeks of intensive and expensive 8 hrs per day training (with about
a 20% washout rate) to teach people to climb safely. Some can't do it, some
won't do it again after they try it once, and just go find another job. In
my particular class, I was the second fastest guy to qualify out of 16. Five
of the 16 dropped out or flunked out. Average age (excluding me, I was 52 at
the time) was about 23.
In spite of what I have said, a few of you hardy young souls out there will
still just buy some used gaffs from a fleamarket and strap 'em on and go for
it. If you are one of those, I sincerely wish you and your families the
best, and I promise to get off my soapbox and quit wasting reflector
bandwidth on this subject.
BTW, I don't have any idea where or if a guy can get formally schooled on
climbing either poles or trees, unless you work for a utility company (not a
bad job, by the way, even for old geezers like me) or a tree/logging outfit.
Best of luck to all you climbers out there.
73, Jerry W5KP
----- Original Message -----
From: Dave N6NZ <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2001 1:14 AM
Subject: [TowerTalk] Will trees kill me, too?
> It just so happens that the new QTH has some nice Ponderosa pine that I
> thought would make dandy supports for wires. Recently, the friendly UPS
> brought me some innocent looking equipment that seemed like just the thing
> to implement my plans for wires in trees.
> But... and here the plot thickens... now I read on TowerTalk that these
> new, shiny, pole climbing gaffs (a.k.a. tree climbing gaffs) are plotting
> my demise even as they slumber, unassembled, in the shipping box that
> brought them into my innocent and unprotected tool shed.
> Seriously, can someone tell me (and the rest of the reflector) exactly how
> a beginner should go about using these things safely?
> 73, Dave N6NZ
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