Climbing in the wind...

n0dh at n0dh at
Mon Oct 16 20:26:54 EDT 1995

>I've never been on a tower at the new QTH in the mountains without wind.
>However, today was unbelievable.  Gusts to 35-40mph.  I could feel the tower
>twist during heavy gusts.  I wasn't so worried about me falling or the tower
>twisting apart...  But, the thought of a tree hitting the guy wires with me
>on the tower was a bit unsettling.

>I suppose it's all in what you are used to, but I don't know how guys like
>N6ND, W6QHS, W7RM, ect do it.  Those guys climb in these kind of winds all
>the time!

I know this will fall on deaf ears in many cases but let me relate a "tower 
wind" story which will at least keep one or two of you from loosing a limb or 
even your life. 

The picture is this: myself and another ham are roped off at the top of 120' 
of Rhon 45
trying to install a new 20' mast through the top of the tower in a thrust 
bearing. When we started up things were reasonably calm with winds under 15 
MPH. After about an hour on the tower the Wx changed and a fast moving front 
came through brining gusts in excess of 30 MPH. In one of theses gusts this 
mast got away from us and the gin pole we were using failed (bent over at the 
point of attachment to the tower). The "runaway mast" swung back against the 
tower momentarily pinching my little finger between the tower and a 100+ lb 
mast. Luckily for me I was wearing a leather glove or I beleive I would have 
lost the finger. As it was it took 6 stitches (in a little finger no less) and 
I got a detailed view of how the joint in a knucle works since the skin was 
peeled back totally from the knuckle. My climbing partner and owner of the 
tower was hit in the head by the falling mast. He luckily (?) was wearing a 
hard hat as was I and as such was more shaken than hurt.

I consider both of us very lucky to have come away as we did with minor 
injuries. The fact remains that if you MUST climb in the wind dont foreget 
that there are a whole new set of variables at play here which must be 
reconned with and PLANNED for. Wind or no wind gloves, hard hats and other 
saftey equipment always a good idea. Wait for a calm day if at all possible 
unless just plane like living on the edge. In which case take up Sky Diving  
or some such the thrills are a lot quicker to come buy ~8>).

Just my 2 cents


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