[TowerTalk] Crank-up Tower - Ladder to Platform

Dick Green dick.green@valley.net
Wed, 23 Feb 2000 10:03:51 -0500

I use this technique on my U.S. Tower MA-770MDP tubular tower (no platform,

First, bear in mind that even though this technique might be safer in some
respects than climbing a retracted triangular crankup, there are still
significant risks. Slippage of the ladder at the top is probably the
greatest risk. Although there probably is less risk of catching a finger,
hand or foot between sections, I don't think the risk is zero. I'd recommend
using one of the techniques discussed on this reflector for preventing this
(e.g., sticking 2x4s through the tower and lowering the sections onto them.)

My technique is quite different than Dan's. The risk of slippage is much
greater with a tubular, so I don't lean the ladder against the tower at an
angle. Instead, I strap it to the tower vertically. This has the advantage
of allowing the ladder feet to rest on the concrete base, which is both
solid and level with respect to the tower, instead of the uneven ground
around the base.

I use a 28' aluminum extension ladder. I start by placing the feet on the
concrete base next to the base of the tower, then I walk the ladder up to a
vertical position. Then I use heavy rubber bungee cords to temporarily strap
the ladder to the base. Next, I extend the ladder a couple of feet and use
automotive cargo tie-downs (the ones with ratchet clamps) to secure the
bottom of the ladder to the tower base. I extend the ladder about 6 more
feet and put another tie-down just over my head. Next, I extend the ladder
all the way to the top. Then I start climbing up the ladder, placing
tie-downs about every 6 feet. Since I'm always standing on a part of the
ladder that's been secured, there is no risk of slippage. The last tie-down
goes at the top. I use a lot of tie-downs, but that makes it safer.

Note that I use a standard climbing belt and fall-arrest lanyard when
climbing the ladder. I attach the fall-arrest lanyard and belt to the tower,
not the ladder. I don't free climb the ladder -- I'm always secured by the
fall-arrest lanyard and/or the belt. It's only 22 feet to the top, but
that's far enough for a fall to be very serious or even fatal. I also wear
my hardhat.

Needless to say, I don't leave the ladder attached at all times because the
tower rotates. But it only takes a few minutes to setup the ladder and I
don't need to do it more than once or twice a year. Even though I have the
tiltover fixture, the ladder procedure is *much* simpler, quicker and safer
than tilting the tower over.

73, Dick WC1M

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