[TowerTalk] RE:[Towertalk] safety harness

Mark . n1lo@hotmail.com
Fri, 24 Mar 2000 08:56:24 EST

Hello Dave,
Methods and opinions do vary. I recently went through the same process. 
Start by educating yourself about the process, available equipment, and 
descriptions of methods. Read, read, read. Seek out an experienced climber 
in your ham community, if any. Then, make the choice that makes you most 
comfortable, involving a scheme that keeps you attached 100% of the time. 
Never is your life more in your hands, literally, than when climbing!
For a starting point, you have done well to read all the posts here 
attentively. Towertalk and its archives are a great resource. I have some 
descriptions on harnesses and climbing methods at:

Follow the link to the topic summary.

If you climb professionally, your equipment must be OSHA compliant, as 
others have pointed out. Hams climbing for themselves have a little more 
freedom. In any case, *you* are still the one most in control of your 
safety. Your best tool again, is a thorough understanding of the risks and 
methods so that you will make the right decisions on the tower.
I prefer a philosophy of fall prevention vs fall arrest. I use a combination 
seat/positioning harness, so that when I am hooked in, my weight is 
supported and taken largely off of my feet, making it difficult to fall at 
I found that climbing by hooking and unhooking every couple of steps using a 
leapfrog method (centered on one tower face) with two cowtails to be so 
fatiguing for my arms that I now consider it safer to do the following:
I climb with the positioning lanyard around the tower and drag it up with me 
as I go. This is much easier on your arms if you center yourself on a tower 
leg than a face, with each foot using rungs on different faces (for Rohn 25 
& 45). If you do it just right, you can use your rising knees to lift the 
sides of the harness over bolt heads and such, keeping your hands on the 
tower. This way, your arms are more outstretched when you hold on to the two 
tower legs farthest away from you, relieving the fatigue on your biceps.
When I get to obstructions, such as guy cables and antenna mounts, I then 
use the cowtails to keep me connected to the tower and leapfrog their 
connection as necessary while I re-rig the positioning lanyard. The 
combinations you can get from two cowtails and one positioning lanyard allow 
you much freedom to move while maintaining 100% attachment.

Remember: fatigue is a *danger warning sign*.

When you get fatigued, you falter and you begin to lose positive control of 
your body. Take breathers frequently, hook in and rest your arms, but don't 
get in a hurry! When you falter, you may lose a grip, or clip point with 
disastrous consequences.
Also, familiarity breeds contempt. If you find yourself taking shortcuts for 
speed or convenience, it is time to stop for a moment and re-evaluate your 
method for safety. Sometimes you have to whack yourself in the head to keep 
your priorities straight! :~D

Good Luck,


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