[TowerTalk] RE:[Towertalk] safety harness
Fri, 24 Mar 2000 08:56:24 EST
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
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
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