Climbing A 1,768 Foot Transmission Tower

This video tied my stomach into knots.

It’s a helmet-cam video of a transmission tower repair technician’s free-climb of a 1,768 foot tower. The climber reaches the tower’s top most light beacon (these towers are so tall they need FAA standardized beacons so airplanes won’t fly into them).

[ad name=”Extra Long Post Footer Ad w/ Large Font”]

219 thoughts on “Climbing A 1,768 Foot Transmission Tower”

  1. Pingback: » Blog Archive » transmission tower

  2. please tell me that these guys carry parachutes whilst free climbing. at least then a fall has a chance of being non-fatal. I suspect that they don’t but I hope they do

    thanks for keeping my comms working, I’m very glad I don’t do what you do

    1. “If a storm’s blowing through, there’s no quick way down”
      That should answer your question, Kate. I was a little afraid of heights before watching this video… I’m friggin terrified

    2. Even if the narrator hadn’t said there’s no quick way down, the use of a parachute is pointless. First, if they do fall, odds are they will hit wider structure of the tower on the way down. And second, if by chance they do clear any structure on the way down the parachute wouldn’t work because the tower would interfere with the expansion of said parachute. Would be a nice idea but clearly pointless.

          1. You are not thinking of the guy wires that hold those towers up.. If you jumped from one, you would risk getting tangled in the guy wires. It would be near to suicide.

            1. Well at least you’d have some chance of survival. I’d rather have a parachute then not have one. Hope these guys get paid a bucket!

              1. I know who would rescue me…the Coast Gaurd. Im looking into this career, Im certifed to climb 150 feet and a certified lighthouse tech, but this guy is amazing with no saftey climb?, Im not affraid of heights because of the trust I have in my training and gear. Ive never climbed higher then a tree with out my gear so I have to give this guy props. I wonder if there are any females who do this?

                1. There’s at least one! I read somewhere that there were 9 in the country but I don’t know if those 9 still climb, and that number didn’t include me 🙂 …I’ve never met or worked with another female climber, but I think it’d be cool to run a female crew one day, just because haha 🙂 I love the job!!

                2. To clarify, I mean there’s at least one female that climbs….not that free climbs 1,768 feet…that’s just stupid

        1. base[JUMP]ing and falling are two completely different things. chances are, if you fall you’re going to fall straight down, perhaps at a 10 degree angle or slightly more. When you basejump you are jumping away from the structure.

      1. People base jump towers like this daily. If the climber is a trained skydiver and can control their orientation in freefall it is entirely possible for them to correct any tumble or spin encountered during the fall and track away from the structure to deploy their parachute. Modern chutes fly forward, you would only need 5-10ft clearance from the tower to deploy safely (Assuming you open facing away from the tower, if your pointed toward the tower your in for a world of hurt). Link shows a jump from a similar tower.

          1. Well you would have to be trained obviously to base jump prior I’m sure. I think it would be more concievable. Either that or they would be paying me a crapload of money.

        1. “If the climber is a trained skydiver…”

          just hazarding a guess that skydiving / base jumping is not part of their training.

        2. Had a base jumper going around to TV towers in my area at night years ago. He climbed the barb wire topped fence at my employers tower, climbed 1100′ in the moon light, jumped while his buddies down below watched. All went well until the wind caught his chute and draped it over the high voltage lines feeding the transmitter building. It blew the fuses out at the highway. His friends cut him loose. He was charged with trespassing. At the hospital they amputated what was left of his legs.

          (I speak only for myself, not my employer.)

      2. Having a parachute that might not work 100% of the time would still give a person a better chance than free falling all the way to the ground 100% of the time without one.

    3. parachutes would not do anything to help. The climber would bang in and out of the tower most likely knocked unconsciousway before hitting the ground. Even with the safety grab If the jolt is hard enough it could possibliy break the climbers back. My husband climbs for a living and i absolutely hate it.

    4. W. Butch Lester

      Average pay for transmission tower repairman is $45,000 per year, I made almost twice that teaching science!

  3. No parachutes, but most times we were tied off with lanyards. I did this for 4 years and have friends that still do, you have to have nerves of steel, be a little crazy, or both to do this for a living.

      1. Mostly just have to be willing to travel, work long hours (and weekends at times), and oh yeah….be afraid of heights just enough to be cautious but not enough to get stuck up there. I’ve had to break a 250lb. bouncer turned tower hand off a 300 footer, not fun!!

    1. I wonder if he is still alive?
      He broke the rule of never ever having both hands securely holding on. He took both hands off the put his d-ring at the top; all it would have taken is a gust of wind and that’s it. He would have had about 15-20 seconds to think on the way down how screwed he is.
      All he had to do was throw his safety clip around the pole and clip it.
      I was up around 500 feet when a rung broke off in my hand; my other hand secured to a hold is why I am still here..
      The newer towers have a double pole and you clip on to that and climb. You fall you only fall about ten feet. I use a quickdraw to clip off while climbing.

  4. Pingback: Comment ça fait d’aller travailler tous les jours à 500 mètres d’altitude | GuruMeditation

  5. Pingback: wanna vomit this fine morning? watch this! SFW - Page 3 - discussion forums

  6. I really dig the burr-tipped lightning rods. You’d think, since the idea behind lightning rods is to leak charge away from a structure rather than absorb strikes, that ALL lightning rods would be like that. (Of course, one strike would probably melt and fuse a burr-tip, so maybe that’s why…secondary function reducing the efficiency of primary function.)

    Two guys on top of a skinny 1/3 mile high tower…. no ground view??

    The 55 mile horizon sounds theoretical…unless this is in the western US. Other wise humidity/haze has the final say on visibility; Where is this tower?

    1. “The 55 mile horizon sounds theoretical”

      I live in Western New York and from a hilltop (about eight hundred feet above lake level) I can see the Nanticoke Generating Station in Canada across Lake Erie on a clear day…. about 30 miles away. I’m sure you can easily see another 20 miles if you were up another thousand feet.

      All the same, great video.

      1. J Sample

        The distance to the horizon can be calculated using this formula: d2 = h2 + 2Rh

        If R = the radius of the earth (varies by latitude but 6365 kilometers is a safe average) and h = the height you are off the ground (539 meters or 1,768 feet) The the distance to the horizon would be 82.8 kilometers (51.4 miles). However, this calculation does not account for the curvature of the earth.

  7. Pingback: Anyone fancy a climb? - Old Skool Anthemz

      1. SERIOUSLY!! 25 dlls an hour tops?
        Either that is not right, because it’s ridiculously low
        you really do have to be incredible insane to do that job for so little money and the danger it implies

      2. $12 to $25 / hr? That’s all? Didn’t realize there were that many nuts out there.
        Oops, I’m sorry. lol O & if u do a hand stand, please do not take a picture. lol

        I have fun doing a lot things my friends wouldn’t even think of doing, but this would take me a while.

        Now let me see, Hmmm, if I started off with about a 10 foot pole & worked my way up at about 3″ a day.

        You have my utmost respect. Take care.

  8. Climbing the tower wouldn’t be so bad. It’s descending that would shake me up because, you can’t see the rungs below without looking down – causing extreme dizziness and vertigo.

  9. If the top of the scale is about $25 per hourI think there should be at least a minimum number of hours alotted for the job……………….say 100 hours.
    Even then I am surprised that there are enough brave/crazy people to do this job. Has any woman ever done this job?

    1. I don’t know if any woman has done it, but I don’t see why not. Women can be just as crazy/brave as guys. I’d do it. I love heights. It would certainly get the adrenaline flowing!

  10. I’m stunned that OSHA is ok with that. I used to work windmills, 200′ tops, and we had to be tied on at all times. But props to ’em, I’m a rock climber, but I wouldn’t climb that tower.

  11. Pingback: Você tem medo de altura? « :: Que Nerd ::

  12. What they are doing is totally against all OSHA rules. There is never a time we are allowed to free climb. It has been outlawed since 1998 I believe. I have been doing it since I was old enough to walk. Family business got me an early start. The things we used to do would cost hundreds of thousands in fines from OSHA. These two guys are stupid, I could free climb, but I don’t. They could have been tied off the entire time, but chose not to.

  13. Oh my god you all deserved about million a hours for doing that wow what do you do at the top change the light bulb and where was this shot at wow .

    1. C’mon Merritt, you already KNOW the answer to this if you indeed pilot aircraft, and you’d have gotten a NOTAM as part of any briefing if the top beacon were out.

      1. Interesting . NOTAM must be like what I do for pilots on the river, I send out Saftey Broadcasts and Notices to Mariners when a light/aid to naviagations is out on the water.

  14. Hi guys, what an amazing footage, never seen before.
    I had to force myself from time to time to keep looking, boy what an impressive climb that is.

    I can’t help wondering though why engineers, who are clever enough to built a megastructure like this, can’t provide the facilities for rapid and safe climbing, so that technicians won’t have to take risks like that to have the job done within a reasonable amount of time. 12-25$ an hour is ridiculously low, so cutting corners is the logic result.

    1. I agree with you Peter, The Engineers are as bad as Auto planners!!! From the top of the elevator platform, why did they not use a mechanical retractable pole to extend that light to the very top on a guide rail ???? Cripes, the wind up there must be horrific, and cause most of the danger. I’ve climbed windmills and not afraid of heights, but this is just plain DUMB !!

      1. Thats not the fault of the Engineers who planned this Tower, thats the fault of the companies that invested their money in this tower.
        Maybe there are dozens of Engineers who already thought about safer solutions for this kind of work, but their customers/clients are deciding how the actual product has to look like and usually the safer solution is the most expensive solution.

  15. These guys don’t get paid enough at all. The $12 – $25/ hour range is very accurate. My boyfriend, my brother and my childhood friend all work in the tower business. As far as I know, it is not OK with OSHA to free climb in any way, shape or form.

    There are women tower climbers. The company my boyfriend works for has a female climber. Unfortunately I don’t think it is very common because of the whole “it’s a mans job” mentality.

    I would also like to know where this tower is located. If anyone knows please do tell.

  16. I would sign up for this job if I can take the fast way down! Take about a 10-12 second delay and deploy! BASE Jump on compay time! Hell yeah!

  17. As one who is afraid of heights, I kept saying Oh my God, until my daughter in the other room said “what are you watching?” How grateful I am that there are these unsung heroes that do this work that I could NEVER nor would want to do. Thanks guys for taking care of it for the rest of us.

  18. I would climb it, I’m a Lineman and it is ok per OSHA standards for us to freeclimb wood poles with our gaffs strapped to our feet/legs and then belt off when we get to the top. Some companies require to be belted off and climb called hitchhiking but if our gaff slips out we can fall. I’ve been to the top of a 110′ pole which is 13′ in the ground so 97′ above ground.

  19. Hi There, What would the “boss” say if you base jumped off the top? I’m an ice ,rock, and mountain climber. I also am a rigger. I do a lot of climbing in weird places doing weird stuff . I wouldn’t even ask the “boss”” I’d get myself one of those flying squirrel suits and Save myself some time and effort. Think of the glide you’d cop. You’d be in the next county !! Not to mention the MAJOR rock and roll factor .Fear is a wonderful thing. It teaches us how to live! I’d do your job for that pay. When I first started rigging I was laughing every day at work because I could not believe they pay to do the job!!

  20. Pingback: Seriously...WATCH!

  21. Okay I’m going to risk a potentially stupid question here – Is there some reason they can’t take a helicopter to the top and lower the engineer down? I’m guessing at the wages posted above it’s just more cost-effective to have climbers – but would a helicopter be feasible? If someone did get to the top and suddenly become petrified, could they take a helicopter in to get them down?

    I can imagine a person’s first-ever climb to the top is quite a trip! And Sadie, I said the exact same thing when I shared this – there is not enough money in the world!!!! o_O

    1. I think the reason might be the wind up there. It would be pretty hard to lower someone and i am pretty sure any company would say “its cheaper to hire a climber”. Last option being the most probable from my point of view. Also i am quite sure there are a lot of people that get the kick from this sort of thing if not all of them :).

  22. I am thinking the same thing as Rick- how long does this take? That is pretty amazing. Even more amazing that it is done for as little as $12-25/hour!

  23. These are some extremely brave men. To me, they are up with rock stars and movie stars, I’m in that much awe.

    I can honestly say without a shadow of a doubt that since I’ve been on this earth, 1968, and being on the internet, 1994 I have never … ever … watched a video that gave me the chills this video did.

    Just wow .. all I can say is jesus h christ and !#$! that.

  24. There would NEVER be a sum of money large enough in the world for me to even entertain the idea of doing something like this, much less actually doing it for what these guys make. These guys have my respect and they deserve much higher pay for doing such a dangerous job!

  25. “this is madness!”
    “Madness?…THIS IS *the hardest job in* SPARTAAAA!!!!

    srsly, those are some crazy mofos. even my john wayne-esque dad was mortified

  26. Nephew in Texas still climbs. !000′ is his gymnastics. Hurricane Katrina was his ‘playground’. Clear Channel would NOT pay him for all of the hrs spent repairing the damage during and after the hurricane. Risked his life for nothing. Thanks Clear Channel. Nephew is big/strong. He carries almost twice the weight in equipment than the smaller guys.

  27. What is the difference between free climbing at this height or at 100 feet. Either way when you hit bottom you will probably be dead.

    1. Daniel Bachmann

      alot of people can handle 100 feet in the air, but less people can handle higher.
      I used to be an industrial water blaster operator and was often hauled up higher than 100 foot in a man cage off of a tower crane to blast things on mine sites in Australia.

      i love heights personally so it doesn’t bother me yet my missus was scared to hell just watching this

  28. @ The Online Engineer

    Would it be possible at all to get a higher quality version of this video online? I understand bandwidth is a concern but there are many cost effective solutions out there. This video warrants the 720p I suspect this was shot in.

    This is just an incredible unique video and I would love to share this with my family on my 60″ HD TV. In fact.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Anyone know the “average” ascent rate on a tall tower like this? Just wondering how long it might take to get to the top. The other thought was whenever I do a job, I put my tool belt on and inevitably have to go back into the garage for some forgotten or unexpected tool. Would hate to get to the top and find out I needed some other tool that I didn’t have with me:)

      1. I have been in the tower industry for 10 years. My rate of climb averages with a light load, around 1000′ per hour. Now in the case of this video, which does an injustice to properly trained climbers (free climbing was banned in 1994 by OSHA regs), the climbers took an elevator 1600 feet. This allows for doing jobs like this in a timely, and safe manner because you only have to climb less than 200 feet. For an average climber, this should take less than 10 minutes staying 100 PERCENT TIED OFF.

  29. This is seriously insane. I bet these guys look like they are on drugs in real life after these adrenalin hypes. RESPECT!

  30. Pingback: Climbing A 1768 Foot Transmission Tower -

  31. I’m glad some people like climbing towers, a 1700 foot tower with top beacon not lit needs these people before a tragic incident happens. I give them a lot credit in the work they have to do and the elements they have to endure.

  32. Pingback: Engineering 101 – Fall 2010 » Blog Archive » Thought this was cool.

  33. My lower extremities are still in an extreme “pucker state” after watching this. All I can say is, “Glad to see they are wearing helmets”.
    Great stuff!

  34. Pingback: Here it is again, to make you twitch and sweat « [ GriffinWords ]

  35. Pingback: O/T Not my kind of job - Page 2 - Professional Muscle

  36. Pingback: Climbing A 1,768 Foot Transmission Tower | karen's tour of the internet

  37. These guys are morons for doing that with no safety device. I don’t buy the whole tediousness of clipping and un-clipping. To me, it looks like it would be very easy to install a vertical life line with a shuttle for most of the way. Shame on all who set a bad example for climbers, including these folks!

    1. That is ridiculous! It seems they could have easily built some kind of guide wire that they have hook into it. Why don’t they even have a proper ladder with a cage over it, that would be ideal.

      Great video though. I also think going down would be worse.

  38. Ooooooooo! No way Jose. And, the veins in the arms weren’t even popping out. I get vertigo just looking at it, or down.

  39. Holy Transmission Towers Batman ! Yea like most other people leaving comments you could not pay me enough to climb that. Im scared shitless just watching !!!! That towers gotta be swaying back and forth also, and it looked like theres a storm comming , imagine being caught on a tower in a storm praying to god lightning doesnt strike , and in a storm the sway of the tower would probably inscrease. The video of the climb down should be shown so we can all unwork our nerves !
    My answer is robots ! could shimmy up that tower in no time and no need to send some one up there 😀 Yay robots !

    1. I know they make a lot more that the $12-$25, I have a friend who works at the New York Empire State Building and he does climb the tower all the time and the kind of life he has, cars house and boat tells me he make a good buck doing his job.

      1. “I know they make a lot more that the $12-$25, I have a friend who works at the New York Empire State Building and he does climb the tower all the time and the kind of life he has, cars house and boat tells me he make a good buck doing his job.”

        So your friend climbs (1) tower probably a thousand miles from there in a likely non-competitive union job and you assume his pay scale from what kind of car, house, and boat he “owns” (owes on?) (parents give their adult children money for consumer spending but grown man does not want to admit same to friends out of embarrassment?) and how much he blows on credit cards and how little he saves. And you think this means that you “know” what someone else makes who does not live in a city where a studio apartment costs $2000/month? Man, I wonder what else you “know”. I don’t suppose your friend showed you a financial statement, 1040, or even a pay stub, huh? I guess you can figure all that out from the brand of t-shirt he wears.

        I have a friend who said you don’t know what you are talking about.

    1. It takes about 4 hours to climb up mostly because at about a 1000 feet you will wonder why you are doing this, and about an hour to get down at a very fast pace.

  40. I climb wind turbines for a living, It is nowhere as extreme as this. We have fall arrest systems in place we only climb 65 meters and you can feel movement then, when the wind picks up the movement is unreal so i can just imagine the movement in those masts.

    1. The pay scale of $12 – $25 for a beginning/experienced tower hand is dead on, and its these guys fault! Not 100% tie off practices means unsafe tower companies can get up, get around, and get the job done faster and cheaper than a great company (one I work for) that keeps their employees safe. Of course, as has happened 7 times this year, they can get down ALOT faster too.
      Remember, you pay your car mechanic $65/hr, pay your stylist $8o/visit, but you pay the guy swapping out cell antennas AT NIGHT, so you don’t drop your call to your wife, boyfriend, buddy during the day= $20! BTW, my 22 year old brother is in Michigan right now, 11:02 PM, in the air for a major cell carrier. We’re safe, so I’ll see him in the morning.

      1. Excuse me, As a Master Automotive Technician… We top out at around $27/hr. not the a fore mentioned $65/hr.(we also have to purchase our own tools… which top $200,000 depending on what you work on) That’s like saying a Tower Technician makes $65/hr. when it’s the company charging $65/hr. for cost of overhead and the Technicians’ salary. By all means Tower Technicians don’t get paid enough, but please be accurate in your depiction of other careers.

        1. Brian
          Posted December 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Excuse me, As a Master Automotive Technician… We top out at around $27/hr. not the a fore mentioned $65/hr.(we also have to purchase our own tools… which top $200,000 depending on what you work on) That’s like saying a Tower Technician makes $65/hr. when it’s the company charging $65/hr. for cost of overhead and the Technicians’ salary. By all means Tower Technicians don’t get paid enough, but please be accurate in your depiction of other careers.
          Brian ~ I think you misunderstood, misread, or didn’t read Joey’s comment. I know what you mean the company, say: Sears will charge $65. an hour but you don’t see $65. but you still make a better wage than a dude that works at a small garage. BUT … Climbers should be making at the least $65. /hour ~ AMEN! <3

  41. I used to climb towers in the mid-nineties as a Cable TV Head End Tech and maintain microwave tx/rx equip. , antenna and beacons…this brought back memories of my climbs were usually only around 200+’. Same consequences apply though…you’re just as dead falling from 200′ or 1700′.
    You had to have a reverent fear of dying at all times on the tower…it keeps you vigilant to not get careless which happens all too often. For me, I dreaded climbing and counted my blessings when I returned safely down. Also, you must take extra tools, multimeters, fasteners etc. because there’s a good chance you might drop something…and you’ll be real sorry if you forget something and have to go all the way down and back up again.
    Physically, it helps to be young with strong legs and upper body…I was in my late thirties and swore I would not climb past 40…I followed through and got out of CATV work.
    Finally, usually climbers don’t make that much for risking their lives…I risked mine for around $12/hr. plus $50 /climb and double time pay which from what I heard was generous compared to other places.

  42. Pingback: Climbing an Antenna – VERTIGO!! | Kirill Kokarev

  43. Welcome to the world of stupidity anyone dumb enough to free climb will end up in a grave yard. OSHA requires 100 pecent tie off no free climbing allowed anywhere any time. I have been climbing for 7 years and have been up 2000 feet there is never a place where free climbing is necessary. Trust me there is no prize at the top just work, and there is no job on earth worth your life. Tie off if not for yourself do it for those who love you and those you work with. Remember friends don’t let friends go splat. Tower dogs are men of steel not stupidity.

  44. Holy freakin’ crap! I’m staying on the ground where I belong. I can’t even stand to look over the balcony on my second floor!

  45. Its not “free climbing” if you don’t use protection. Its “solo climbing”. For some real “free solo” climbing that’s HARD, check video of Leo Houlding.

    1. Thanks real climber. You are correct in that what we are seeing in the video is solo climbing. Solo climbing would be the most accurate term.

      This is a bit confusing because free climbing is an umbrella term that includes traditional (or trad), sport, free soloing and bouldering. As a result all free soloing is free climbing, but not all free climbing is free soloing. So technically, calling it free climbing isn’t incorrect (unless of course you take the elevator into consideration) but it is not as accurate as calling it free soloing.

  46. What a thrill! I can’t believe this is a real job! I just kept thinking “I’d never let my husband do this for a living!”
    Thanks for posting this video! I would never have known these people are out there to thank them for their hard work just to keep us all connected! Thank you!!

  47. Had to watch it twice, as a former rock climber and rarely a free climber I was once 300 ft up and this video got my heart pounding!

  48. In the US Navy I climbed up the mast to replace a pulley at the end of the yardarm. We were underway at about 25 knots. The wind probably about 35. No safety devices back then. But this video is even more scary.

    1. not always, there are RF suits that can be worn, and you can stand a certain amount of RF exposure for short durations. A LOT of radio / Television stations refuse to shut down, rather they reduce power to the level they guy on the ground says it would be safe (forget the guy climbing, we have to get it done!). Also, most guys that climb do not get paid for rain days when they can’t climb, and with a lot of crews if a guy refuses to climb due to weather, he gets a bus ticket home. Terrible business for the workers. But then again, you always run into a Dumb A$$ that takes terrible risks because “we know what we are doing”. The guy in this video is one of those guys. Why climb 1700 feet without using your lanyard? saves a LITTLE time, but one goof and you shut the job down and you’re dead. I have had to call one wife to say I am sorry but your hubby died today, I refuse to have to do this again. I will fire anyone I see more than 6 feet off the ground without being 100% tied off. You can call me names, but I at least am giving them an opportunity to call me names again and again.

      1. Keith, KUDOS for being smart enough to have folks tie off. I work in an industrial government facility where construction is continuous. We care for each other and watch for ANY AND ALL potential hazards from mundane and routine tasks of walking on uneven walking surfaces to tasks of highly toxic chemical handling and containment. Accidents happen, yes, but each accident is preventable and unacceptable. This mentality doesn’t always SAVE lives, but we try and do our best. You only get one life. Supers like you are the reason the worker bees get to kiss babies goodnight.

        To the rest of the comments regarding OSHA:

        OSHA is an organization which sets standards and may fine companies for breaking these standards, but do not HAVE to. What people don’t understand is that companies don’t HAVE to follow these standards. OSHA fines are minimal to the big buck some companies make and therefore the profit when expediting a feat such as this without tying off will outweigh the cost of such a minimal (relatively) fine. OSHA doesn’t shut companies down. They can’t. They also can be bought off for their silence. OSHA cares if the employees care. If people aren’t complaining or if there isn’t some accident to bring light to an unsafe situation, there would be no way for them to know. There was a report I watched about two years ago which talks about an unsafe environment which continues to work unsafe regardless of media attention as well as knowing they could do it better…see link


  49. I’ve climbed 250 towers to replace lights. NEVER on the way up or down do you not have one of two safty lines attached! I can’t believe OSHA allows them to climb like that.

  50. i used to do this in Ontario, Canada a number of years ago…we never did anything over 150 metres (approx. 480 ft)..we were paid $17.00 an hour and our owner paid us bonus after certain heights.. the most I ever made on a climb was $150 for a job that took about 3 hours at 150 metres…a number of workers have fallen over the years and been killed..highly dangerous job but the people that do it, love it…i just got too old and started to get scared…we had hawks and other birds attack us on towers as they sometimes have nests in them…

  51. Elevator to 1600′? I’m a transmission & distribution
    lineman. We free climb 200′ towers on a regular
    basis (mult times a day). There’s no stopping every
    40′ & we don’t grab onto pole steps (your forearms
    would be to pumped to do any real work ). Climbing
    is a tiny part of the job.

  52. When I was in the Royal Australian Air Force, it was a common practise to climb up our radio towers, for maintenance or repairs with limited safety gear. But never at the heights those guys did.

  53. How many tower climbers does it take to change a tower beacon bulb? Answer: 1 friggen Idiot… ( forgot the bulb in his truck!)

  54. To all the questions of pay for this job. I am a independent contractor that does this work. I bid these jobs by the foot. Yes I have climbed towers this big. yes it sucks and my payday is around $6000.00 for a tower of this height. I try to do 2 towers a week sometimes 3 . Plus travel expenses. I accually know these guys doing this tower. And yes going down is much slower and harder to do. Maybe I should video tape tomorrows tower climb and show it on youtube. Sears tower or what ever the building is called now.

    1. Hey
      Brian how do you bid for these jobs, I would like to climb towers for 6000 dollars, a climb.
      I climb trees, and the pay sucks. If you could give me info on finding these kind of jobs
      I would appreciate it.

      my email is


  55. Wouldn’t it be a bitch if you reached the top and forgot you left your special drill bit on your dashboard? What if it was just unplugged at the socket on the ground? I think a helicopter would work better. I mean how did they erect the top of this thing anyway?

  56. Pingback: Afraid Of Heights? - American Police Beat Forums powered by OfficerResource | Law Enforcement Forums, Police Forums

  57. Old Bold Climber

    I did this as a teenager when I worked at a local radio station cutting grass. Two guys drove up one day and the boss gave them a bag of light bulbs. They used a wooden ladder to bridge the insulators on the tripod frame, and they free-climbed to the top changing all the bulbs as they went. I waited until the boss was away, and I went up myself to about the 200 foot mark (out of about 360 feet). I made a picture of myself behind one of the intermediate lights, and then I came down. I agree with someone who said that the climb down was more dangerous.
    It takes thought, rhythm and strength. Later I learned to fly, and it may be because of the wonderful view I had – even from 200 feet. I’m in my 60s now, and I would do it again. You get to know yourself up there – both on the tower and in an airplane.

  58. You all about the parachutes are getting way too in to this!! Oh the parachute wouldn’t open, you’d hit the structure…….blah blah blah!! The point is Joe that that is a crazy ass video of some guys climbing way the hell up in the air. I have jumped off of many towers and that is a quick way down. Note I said jumped not fell!! That would be a little different!! Would I have a parachute on just for the hell of it?? Why yes and maybe even one of those Red Bull flying suits in another bag!! Later Homies!! 🙂

  59. I climb towers for a living, and I would not climb that tower to the top, no way no how. I don’t care how much money. I’ve been on a 200′ tower when a freak storm (Monsoon) came through (Not on weather foretasted) I was at the 180′ level and the winds were gusting 40 plus mph (Estimate) and I almost did not make it down due to the strong wind. My line was whipping and difficult to grab when I would unhook to descend. 1’700 plus feet would take an hour to an hour and a half to climb up. If the weather turns bad, it could take several hours to get down if you make it.

    Sorry, the odds are against you on this one!

  60. lol i climb towers but only up to 600 feet in saskatchewan, and someone mentioned about parachuting not being possible, in the event u fell it might be hard, but not mentioning names i worked with one guy who did parachute of the tops of them, but its illegal of course and ya gotta watch the guy wires and dishes etc. but its done,,, just not as a means of safety, guys actually used to slide down the wires but some fell so that did last long.

  61. Pingback: Climbing a 1,768 foot Tower

  62. Nice video and great to have done this for people to see the challenge. No recommendation given for storm and electrical protection on the tower including electrostatic shock. Lock-out procedures should be in effect.

    However, there are some fall hazard problems which could cost a life with 100% certainty:
    1. OSHA does not exempt tower climbers from fall protection. Cable systems make sense and a commenter showed a basic system which after installation needs periodic device inspection for wear. An HSE set of tests is recommended presently for equipment. OSHA 02-01-036 and 5(a)(1) general industry (TIA/EIA-F) depending on the work
    2. Snaphook connections over a stepbolt are not recommended even for resting because they can twist off. Alternatively stepbolts can break if cracked or corroded.
    3. Pelican Snaphook connection directly into a rosette is not appropriate due to offset load on the weak nose. The first climber seems to know this. Connection must always be loose fitting for compatibility.
    4. Pelican snaphooks shown do not meet ANSI Z359.1-2007 and Z359.12-2009.
    5.Many people in the fall protection industry have seen this video and commentary by now and are concerned.
    6. Suggest these climbers and company owners contact members of the industry eg Secretary Tim Fisher to get input to upgrade the fall protection. Free climbing appears unnecessary for this tower and hopefully all towers designed correctly.

    Any questions?

  63. Iwounder if a helicopter could be used to lower the worker in a basket, and hook to the tower, to work on bacon light.

    I have changed out a Beacon light on the VTB, Vicent Thomas Bridge in Long Beach, CA. We had a helicopter lower down a new light fixture for the two of us; where able to anchor down the fixture and wire up the new lighting Bacon light.

    It was good to see two people making the climb.

    Where is the tower located at?


  64. Pingback: What do you fear the most? - Page 2 - Stormfront

  65. Pingback: 2010: The Year In Blogging

  66. Judging from most of the comments, there is a clear misunderstanding between the terms free-CLIMBING and free-SOLOING.

    Free-climbing is where you climb WITH the protection of ropes, but without the aid of said ropes (i.e he is not pulling himself up with a rope, hence it is not aiding his ascent, but it is there to secure him in the scenario of a fall). The lead climber is trailing a rope which is managed by his belayer below, who in turn is anchored to a safety point. If a fall occurs, he will fall past the last anchored point, plus the stretch of the rope (still making a fall extremely dangerous). Similar climbing techniques are utilized by tree-loppers, other electrical service-men, etc.

    Free-soloing, on the other hand, is climbing WITHOUT the aid or protection of ropes. It appears that many viewers are misinterpreting free-climbing with this term.

    I have free-climbed, know of semi-pro climbers, and all the other info can be found on the net.

  67. As someone who has been given a year to live, I find it absurd that any body would put their life in danger for a cheap thrill. Hope it’s worth it, you’ll never know till the last minute.

  68. Pingback: Up where the air is clear | Happy Valley News Hour

  69. ABSOLUTE IDIOTS. No one in any country is permitted to climb without 100% attachment. Basic Risk Assessment would stop this job going ahead before you even got to site. I really hope the people that filmed it have lost there jobs for being cowboys.
    It does not prove to anybody that you are a hero – it only goes to show you are an absolute moron and need to go back to safety training for height works to explain how to do your job safely.
    I have been climbing for 15 years now and have seen many a person either killed or paralyzed from stupid acts like this. Even a fall from 6 feet can do some serious damage or death.
    For the truth behind this video have a look at
    That should clear up some stupid claims made in this video.

      1. I have been climbing for almost 15 years and would never climb like this . This guy is obviously never been trained properly . The narrator said that OSHA allows free climbing WRONG>>> ..100% tie of at 100% time, it takes longer but you dont have enough guts to fall twice…..


    esta torre nao mede 1768 metros como um cara ali encime disse….

    se ele tivesse a altura de 1768 metros sua estrutura nao aguentaria o peso dos estirantes ( cabos para sustentação da torre ) e eles teriam que alcançar + ou – a distancia de 900 metros da torre para cada lado de estirantes…


    mas ja da para ter medo de escalar…

    eu nao tenho medo , escalo numa boa essa ai .


      como diz no enunciado do video que ja foi arrumado ele tem 538 metros de altura (1.768 foot )…

      a mais alta atualmente é a de KVLY-TV com 629 metros de altura (2.063 foot )…

      eu adoraria poder subir em ambas as torres…..

  71. DONT LOOK DOWN !!!

    Try working up one of theses for 8 hours and relying on a thin piece of material to save your life incase of a fall ! work gets done on the towers and a lot more than changing light bulbs, things get snagged ripped and dropped and space extreamly tight in some antennas belts are often removed to gain access to work position.( this you can blame the eng for )

    parachutes !? come on people.

    They are built with derricks and helecopters and cranes for the initial sections of the tower, man riding baskets are rigged up to the structure where work takes place if it a long contract.

    See a site called MB21 and there will be pictures of Masts going up.

    And yes the wages are Cr*P, requiring you to work long hours in all weathers( -15 and 50mph winds are not fun ) and away from your family most of your working life in an industry where divorce rates are high and you spend most off your cash in the local boozer.

    ahh the romance of it all !

    love you all.

  72. Pingback: And mast climbing makes you nervous? - SailNet Community

  73. Necronomicron

    some is asking where this tower is located. It’s the transmission tower for KRIV, the Fox affiliate in Houston, TX. Kudos to Gregg1956 who found the location.



  74. Pingback: Climbing A 1,768 Foot Transmission Tower | Heath Hurwitz's Blog

  75. Pingback: How much me is there? | Life

  76. Pingback: *Video* Job Opening; Pays 60K A Year! - Stormfront

  77. Pingback: Glass Bridge of Death Offers Tourists Thrills in Chinese Mountains - Talk Delaware Online

  78. First of all, let’s clarify something. As a certified tower climber, FREE Climbing is NOT allowed by OSHA. Period. No question about it. This dude is either clinically insane, stupid, or just doesn’t give a shit about his friends or family or anyone he leaves behind when his body splatters on the ground. Whoever made this video is dead wrong and obviously not a climber. The climber is about the dumbest I’ve seen. There are plenty of anchor points on that tower and if not, thats what a choker is for! If you believe or try this, you better have a will prepared. Climber, your the reason our industry has the highest fatality rate of any job per year! you need to go back to school!

    1. Lol if you actually go to the video… And the date posted it was before OSHA came into play… If you’ve been in the business long enough you’d know that everyone free climbed whether iron worker, turbine technician, cell phone tower climbers etc… Green horn.

  79. Pingback: Höjdskräck? | Anill @ Spotlife

    1. it made me VERY uneasy just watching from home !!

      it also should give those who see it a real appreciation for those who perform dangerous tasks every day..

  80. Sean Schriver,
    Your industry does not even make the top ten list, so quit with the bravado. The list for 2010-2012 is as follows:
    Commercial fishing;Loggers ;Airline pilots and flight engineers;farmers; mining machine operators;roofers;garbage men; truck drivers and sales drivers;industrial machinery installation,repair and maintenance;
    police. Also, your job was not on any previous years for the last couple decades that I could find. Why would a person lie about that and try to belittle someone else? You are a sad little man.

    1. If you take into count per capita it does make the top of the list. There are a lot more workers in those other industries and that needs to be taken into account. We are a very small industry overall and that’s why it is among the most dangerous in the world.

  81. Hey John, You need to check your OSHA stats on “Deaths by Falls”. Why I’m even replying to you is a mystery but you’re probably one that thinks this free climbing video is cool. It’s complete ignorance, absolutely no reason to be free-climbing, and complete disregard for anyone who is remotely related to the climbers including friends and family and other workers in an industry which they are attempting to represent. We do this job everyday, as much as you drive your car and I bet you wear your seatbelt even when just going to the store. See the connection?Granted, the job itself and the thrill of what we do is something most will never experience nor want to, is appealing, this is not an accurate representation of the hazards we face every day in high winds, severe and inclimate weather, and the possiblity of “death by fall” which I referenced earlier. I ask, what possible knowledge do you have that makes you any kind of expert on what I and others do every day so you can have your precious, uninterrupted cell coverage on your phone? Unless you are a climber or in the industry, you really should do us a favor and only speak to that which you know. I don’t pretend to know anything about medical issues yet I can watch countless tv shows and claim to be. Again, you speak of which you know nothing about…

    1. Sean, You stated your industry “has the highest fatality rate per year” It doesn’t. That is called a lie where I come from. Either that or you really didn’t know what you were talking about. It’s just like all the firemaen and cops who try to impress people with how dangerous their job is when statistically, the guy selling you the slurpee on the midnight shift faces more risk of death. It happens in my occupation as well (Electrical Power Lineman), with some of the younger, more pretentious guys. They don’t impress me any more than you do. I will say however, I do agree with you on the topic safety harnesses. Until recently we were expected to free climb poles (only 90 – 100 feet max, usually much less) The industry standard is now the buck squeeze which prevents falls and I welcome it. I’ve seen three people fall in the last five years with broken pelvises, fractured heels, ribs, punctured lungs, etc. It is irresponsible to not use your safety equipment, however, it could be argued that participating in extreme sports, mountain climbing, or even motorcycling is just as potentially deadly. So if this guy is crazy enough to do something like this, you still have to kinda admire the nerve, or balls if you will, I sure as hell wouldn’t do it. I think you are just jealous he is taking a little of the spotlight from “your most fatal industry” / I am finished on this matter, reply if you will, I will read it, but any further discussion would just be argumentative. I will let the jury decide on this one.

      1. Ok John, this is getting redundant. First, we are talking about this video, free climbing, tower work (not any other work) and falling resulting in death. I believe you digress off topic to debate a non topical point. Tower workers by stat have the highest death rate “by fall” out of any industry. Check your OSHA stats. Enough said. I could care less about “tooting my horn”. I do this job for a living, the brotherhood, and staying out of an office or a factory. The view from my “office is second to none but other factors make this far from anyone’s “dream job”. I could care less about impressing you or anyone else. I know what I do, and I put food on my family’s table. This video, and the mis-information it distributes, puts my industry in a false light that we are all free climbing cowboys and my intention is to provide the proper information to those that would believe this is the norm from watching this video. Period. Free-climbing is dangerous and selfish from an occupational stand point. If you want to get personal, I don’t respect this climber anymore than I respect someone who spends their time on a transmission pole up to 100 ft. If you are watching this video thinking this job is so cool and are looking for a cheap thrill, then you don’t belong. This is serious, not a game, and not an extreme sport. You want a weekend thrill? go bungee jumping, go rock climbing, go base jumping. This job is not a playground. That is my point. it’s dangerous, and not only can you hurt or kill yourself, you can endanger your co-workers who may be on the tower or below you on the ground. lives and lively hood are put at risk by pulling stunts like this and there is no reason for it. This is why within the last 3 months of 2011, 3 climbers age 18-27 died from falling from a tower. I have graphic pics if you really want to press the issue. Why you are so intent on arguing, I am not sure. At least we agree on one major point, and that’s safety. Agreed, the video is entertaining, that’s it. But the narrator should have done a better job in clarifying that this is not normal, not approved by OSHA or anyone, and highly risky. One last point to clarify. I do not respect the climber and do not admire his “balls”. I’ve seen many a news report with mentally handicapped people and intoxicated individuals climbing 300 ft towers with absolutely no equipment at all and in one case with no shoes and legally intoxicated. All were involved in police stand-offs and made it back down safely to the ground on their own. Demonstrating anyone can do what this guy is doing, myself, you, everyone reading included. The point, he’s on the clock, not an entertaining extreme sport athlete. It’s embarrassing to my industry. So I guess, by your arguments, the next time I see a you-tube video of a lineman getting fried on a high voltage line I should laugh and think that funny and you all don’t pay attention to what your working on? I think you would agree, it’s not, and I’m sure you would be infuriated if people formed their conceptions of your industry on a video of someone taking unnecessary risks. If you have to have the last word to entertain yourself, you can have it. I’ve said my piece, proven my point, have a nice life and don’t get fried like I see in other videos.

        1. Just wanted to put my 2 cents in. I watched the video and realized right off that both climbers were not safe. The spotter, (technically it would seem that both clibers are spotters for one another) is supposed to ensure the other climber uses all aspects of safety equipment during the ascent or descent of the tower. I dont care how brave a person looks, stupidity always trumps bravery in the long run. Thats why people die.

          I hope that whoever does this for a living has life insurance as well as gets paid very well. Thank you for keeping my cell service active so I can call my family and friends.


        2. Sean don’t you understand that for there to be a bunch of deaths people wouldn’t be using the harnesses because the harnesses are there to prevent that and if there are so many deaths then most of those people probably were not using the harnesses and most people wouldn’t people wouldn’t jeopardize their employment therefore I don’t think there are any regulations against it plus the smartass remarks aren’t very grown up like by the way

      2. John, unfortunately he didn’t explain it well enough, but he is correct in his statement concerning the fatality rate. There are only 10000 or so climbers, amd with only a few dozen deaths that puts the fatality rate pretty far up there. Look it up again, except use the osha stay of per 100,000 employees for each one of those jobs you listed compared to this one. No need to bash, john. CNN recently did an article on people like you who bash others online.

  82. Tower climbing has the highest fatality rate in terms of percentage of employees. Here is a link check it out….…You should get your facts straight before you start blurting stupid things out your mouth. Also like the other guys said free climbing is totally not aloud. I mean I still do it because im old school but using a pelican hook on a climbing peg has to be the most dangerous thing you can do. If you slip that hook can pop off the end of that peg. That guy is a moron.

  83. Sean Schriver

    Frontline will be airing a special on pbs on “cell tower deaths” on May 22 and 23. (check the website or your local listings. As the reporter states, tower workers have a 10 times death rate of other construction workers. If you have any doubt as to the hazards and proceedures that are practiced in the tower industry, as John seems to, please watch the show and judge for your self. It will also give you a better perspective of what we go through on a day to day basis and the ins and outs of our industry currently, good or bad. Enjoy your 4G LTE smart phone service courtesy of climbers.

    1. Sean……that last line hit home..without individuals risking their lives like that the smart phone would not exist..

  84. “Free Climbing” does not mean “climbing without ropes”. This tower climber is NOT “free climbing”. Free climbing is the most common form of rock climbing. Technically, this guy is “free soloing” a tower — very, very different.

  85. Zaynes post makes the most sense and is accurate. Its obvious these climbers are professional in every respect. This was a generous act that allowed millions to view a once in a lifetime event. My hat goes off to these unselfish engineers who shared this with the multitudes who will never experience anything like it.

  86. The Law of Gravity: failure to obey has no parole or time off for good behavior. You be your own judge, jury and executioner (unless the crane operator screws up, or you get struck by lightning, or a gin pole snaps, or …) Nevertheless and all the more, hook me up with a DBI-SALA Exo-Fit XP harness and a NATE competent climber course cause I wanna do that (but 100%).

  87. Pingback: The Tallest Structure In The United States Is A TV Antenna • Artifacting

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top