A Quick Note on First Climbs

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OK, I thought I would share some information about how to handle the first climb. Not everyone goes to Tower Safety training on day one, (Tower Safety is my sponsor). The probably shouldn’t because if they go to tower safety class on day one then that will be their first climb, at the class. That’s OK if that’s your structure. But what if they hate climbing? Do they know that before they climb, not always.

By the way, Dr Hester of the Hubble Foundation is looking for comments on this,  bridgette@hubblefoundation.org.

This has sparked a lot of controversy when the information came out about the Stephanie Gurney, posted here and Wireless Estimator has it here.


So with the first climb, what can you do to make sure the climber is safe? Do you just send them up the tower and hope for the best? That’s what I did when I went up the first time, and I would never let anyone do that again, it was stupid and I would like to think we have learned.

I would recommend this procedure.

  • Before sending someone up the first time I would recommend that they actually help out with a tower crew on the ground first so they are familiar with the hardware and structure of what is going on. How long is up to you. I think that 2 weeks is the minimum.
  • Then when you send them up the tower the first time I recommend that you take every precaution. I would send up the experienced person first and have them rig a safety line up high. Then make sure the new climber has a rope grab on them at all times. That way if they can’t handle the safety lanyard they will have the rope grab as a backup. I don’t care if it’s cumbersome and a pain to use, it insures they have a backup safety line no matter what. Make sure they know and understand how to use the safety lanyard and the positioning lanyard. Go up with them if possible.
  • Take the first climb very seriously. Make sure that the climber knows you are near.
  • Limit the climb to 50 feet or less until you know they are very comfortable.

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OK, excuses:

  • We don’t have time!
    1. Will you have time to bury them?
  • That costs extra money.
    1. What does a funeral cost? What about a lawsuit? What about a life?
  • If they say they are ready, then they are ready.
    1. You won’t know until they do it.
  • I know this person, they have no fear.
    1. It’s not about just fear, it’s about skill!
  • They say they are ready.
    1. Wouldn’t you say that if you needed a job?
  • I don’t’ want to embarrass them in front of the crew.
    1. Do you want them to die in front of the crew?

To sum it up, I would be overly cautious, safety takes time and money. Unfortunately many companies just don’t care. However, many do care and to those owners I say thank you and keep up the good work!

One more note, when I got certified under Winton Wilcox, he had everyone wear a rope grab. It just made sense.  First guy up rigged the safety lines.

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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I sought my soul and my soul eluded me.

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