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Life As a Wireless Tower Climber
Pays well, but for a reason....
by KathrynV 04:09PM Wednesday Aug 22 2007 Tipped by Karl Bode See Profile
Wireless Estimator says that technicians who construct and climb towers had the most dangerous profession across industries last year, at least if you're looking at the death rate per 100,000 employees.
quote:
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Eighteen workers died in 2006 from falling from a communications tower in a Tower Climber Deaths profession that has approximately 9,800 employees that work on elevated structures primarily for the cellular and broadcast industries - although broadband activity is increasing throughout the country and wireless internet service providers' installations are adding to the current busy workload.
Last year, ISP Planet explored how much WISPs pay for such technicians (and their insurance). Climbers often charge $1,500 or more a day plus additional insurance fees; one climber notes that he bills out at $295.00 per hour.

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ZipZilla

join:2005-07-09
Ladson, SC

1 recommendation

As far as I'm concerned

As far as I'm concerned, these guys are worth whatever they charge. It takes a special somebody to climb those towers and risk their life for pay

Jodokast96
Stupid people really piss me off.
Premium
join:2005-11-23
Erial, NJ
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: As far as I'm concerned

Family I knew growing up got into doing this, the father and 2 sons. Read a few years ago that the oldest son took a fall from the top of a water tower, with the brother and dad watching. Some dangerous stuff.

On a side note, tragedy seems to follow this family. The mother was paralyzed in a car accident years ago and died from all of the problems some years later. After the brother died, a cousin from out of state moved in with them to get his life back together and ended up being the victim of a hit and run. Turns out it was a few underage girls that had a few drinks, and the mother tried to help them cover it up. One of the passengers eventually came forward.

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2
Not me, I'll stay on the ground.

I almost got shot at work Monday morning. I'll take that any day over dangling off a 300' tower.

It may be for some people, but it's not for me.....
--
Petty people are disproportionably corrupted by petty power…

PolarBear03
The bear formerly known as aaron8301
Premium
join:2005-01-03

Re: As far as I'm concerned

No kidding. At least you can shoot back at a shooter. You can't exactly push a tower over to defend yourself!

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2

Re: As far as I'm concerned

said by PolarBear03:

No kidding. At least you can shoot back at a shooter. You can't exactly push a tower over to defend yourself!
So true, so true.

It came close, but in the end everything worked out.

Mr. 4 time felon and his 9mm Ruger were separated from each other, and now he faces a 5 year mandatory minimum sentence (if convicted) for possessing said gun.

Oh, and the post miranda statements were HILARIOUS. And devastatingly incriminating
--
Petty people are disproportionably corrupted by petty power…

PolarBear03
The bear formerly known as aaron8301
Premium
join:2005-01-03

Re: As far as I'm concerned

said by N3OGH:

Oh, and the post miranda statements were HILARIOUS. And devastatingly incriminating
I can only imagine... that is, unless you can recall them here?

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2

Re: As far as I'm concerned

Naa, can't get to deep into a pending case.

KA3SGM
- -... ...- -
Premium
join:2006-01-17
West Chester, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Cricket Broadband
·Verizon FiOS
I used to climb Ham Radio Towers 18 years ago for NOTHING. Volunteer work, uninsured.

Pretty wild to attach a 3 D-Ring belt and let go at 130'.

Haulin' a few 440 band Celwave/ Phelps Dodge, Super Station Masters along with 7/8ths Andrew Heliax in tow.

Came across a guyed 140' ROHN 20G tower once, noticed that 1 tower leg was full of water and completely rusted through.

Have not gone above my own chimney since.

In a job like that, the Life Insurance Benefit cost is really high, but the Hospitalization Insurance is practically FREE.

Not much left they can do when you drop a few hundred feet, it's a wonder that they don't have a cleanup fee insurance plan, because there is not much left but to cleanup your remains after the fall.

I can only pray, that as only a tiny part of you is falling to the ground, it is but the most important part that continues it's accent to the Heavens. GODSPEED CLIMBERS !!!!
--
We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat !!

PhoenixDown
FIOS is Awesome
Premium
join:2003-06-08
Fresh Meadows, NY
kudos:1

Where can I sign up?

The money sounds good!

kalphearion
In nomine Patri
Premium
join:2003-11-08
Broomfield, CO

1 recommendation

Re: Where can I sign up?

said by PhoenixDown:

The money sounds good!
I second that!

hayabusa3303
Over 200 mph
Premium
join:2005-06-29
kudos:1
I will third that
Believer

join:2002-07-04
Baltimore, MD
Well, you won't be making that money! A big part of it is the insurance required to climb. Then there is the training (certification) and the gear.

One of the towers we climb is in a bad part of town and getting shot is possible. (In Baltimore City - Murder Central) I'd rather be at 400+ ft than near the gun fire!

It's only dangerous if you don't pay attention to what you are doing. However, like anything else, it can happen.
--
Comtrain Certified Tower Climber
BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Where can I sign up?

I remember this line of work. I hated it, and I know your sentiment. It got to the point I just bought a 2 attach point lanyard.

I worked in the nasty areas of boston at night when the equipment would die and literally had 4 cop cars at the base of the building to prevent them from shooting at the tower.

I hated it they would shoot the lights out with small caliber guns and not a person would care. I quickly left that profession after falling 15 feet into the bed of my truck and only living because my buddy had thrown the empty gear boxes in the bed.

You couldn't pay me enough to climb any more and you can't pay me enough to even be around when they do. In my area we got 1800 a job. And we would sometimes do 3 or 4 climbs a day. After insurance was all said and done we lost about 60 % to it. But man being able to take months off at a time was great.
--
"It's always funny until someone gets hurt......and then it's absolutely friggin' hysterical!"
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD
Which tower would that be? I would hope it wasn't TV Hill.
Believer

join:2002-07-04
Baltimore, MD

Re: Where can I sign up?

Yup. On TV Hill.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Re: Where can I sign up?

Geesh, the city is getting so no place is safe. Glad I got out when I did.

bw21157

join:2006-01-19
Westminster, MD
You climbed one of those skyscraping towers on TV Hill?

I don't know if I should compliment you or recommend a psychiatric evaluation

those things give me the willys every time I drive by

pokesph
It Is Almost Fast
Premium
join:2001-06-25
Sacramento, CA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

tower climbing..

did it for years (up to 300') as a normal part on my job as a communications tech.. never charged extra or anything (boy was I dumb back then) .. Now a days you have to have all this bs training and certs as well as extremely expensive insurance.
Major Kudos to those that still do it, it's hard dangerous work.. but still fun all the same.

Sr Tech
Premium
join:2003-01-19
Valhalla, NY
kudos:1

Re: tower climbing..

Same here, used to be part of the norm in being a technician to climb to install, replace and repair.
redleaf

join:2000-09-12

Doubly so in Iraq.

»www.nickberg.org/

inteller
Sociopaths always win.

join:2003-12-08
Tulsa, OK

Re: Doubly so in Iraq.

i think he would have rather fallen off a tower.

Brazbit
Premium
join:2003-10-22
Port Orchard, WA

And at #6 on the list....

Do copper thieves fall under the classification of #6? If so it sounds like they might be #1 next year from all the reports DSLR has had on that lately.
--
My train of thought wasn't so much derailed as it was a simple case of the track not being fully laid out when the train arrived.

DjVaGGo
Premium
join:2004-10-23
Long Island City, NY

Re: And at #6 on the list....

said by Brazbit:

Do copper thieves fall under the classification of #6? If so it sounds like they might be #1 next year from all the reports DSLR has had on that lately.
Hahaha....pretty good comparison
expert007

join:2006-01-10
Buffalo, NY

Monday in the Workplace

>>>>>I almost got shot at work Monday morning.

You forgot it was your turn to bring donuts and coffee?

RayW
Premium
join:2001-09-01
Layton, UT
kudos:1

Most dangerous?

With the mine incidents here in Utah and in China, the media (yes, I know, don't trust what the media says, they spin the truth) is saying MINING is the most hazardous job.

And I agree with some of you, I use to work on a mast over 200 feet up, at sea. And you know the US Navy did not pay THOSE wages. Wonder if today's military mast climbers can get more pay by pointing to that article?
--
I am not lost, I find myself every time.
aparis99

join:2006-10-24
Owensboro, KY

ya

i'd really like to find out some info on this. i've always wanted to climb and see whats up there and how it works... we have 6 towers at work, the tallest close to 400' i believe.

i have an old friend that changes the blinking lights/bulbs on towers... i've seen pics from 1800'... WWOOOOOOOWWWW

johnny monoxyde

@comcast.net

caution is key

I've been a climber for roughly 2 years now.. I was a general contractor for 8 years before that ;roofing, steal work stories above the ground etc... It takes a rare breed to do what we do. but with any hazardous job, a clear head and sharp eye for problems is key. Hopping on a tower without a thorough survey of the site, can be fatal!! But let me tell you its a rush to see the Baltimore skyline and the DC skyline from a tower in between!! sure brings things into perspective..
BosstonesOwn

join:2002-12-15
Wakefield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: caution is key

This may sound racist , but I knew A native american guy and his son , both worked with us they just would never survey the surrounding area. They never even checked the tower to make sure it was safe to climb. Even the tension cables they would not check.

Yet they climbed these towers faster then any person I have ever seen. And they would sit and smoke a cigar and listen to Johnny Cash to "clear their heads" before climbing.

I will agree it is an amazing rush when your on the top and look out across the city scape , akin to being on the edge of the grand canyon and viewing something like Chicago from there. I could never look straight down on a some what windy day. To see the tower sort of moving even a little at first was unbearable.
--
"It's always funny until someone gets hurt......and then it's absolutely friggin' hysterical!"
Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

Re: caution is key

said by BosstonesOwn:

This may sound racist , but I knew A native american guy and his son , both worked with us they just would never survey the surrounding area. They never even checked the tower to make sure it was safe to climb. Even the tension cables they would not check.

Yet they climbed these towers faster then any person I have ever seen. And they would sit and smoke a cigar and listen to Johnny Cash to "clear their heads" before climbing.
Not racist at all. Most of the steelworkers are Mohawk Indians.
--
"My dog has no nose."
"How does he smell?"
"Awful!"

MemphisPCGuy
Taking Care Business
Premium
join:2004-05-09
Memphis, TN

Re: caution is key

IIRC, Native Americans have the rare distiction of walking with their feet pointed straight as opposed to us europeans with feet toed out.
--
»www.memphispcguy.com

CatScratch
Premium
join:2003-09-10
West Jordan, UT
We want some pictures!
Believer

join:2002-07-04
Baltimore, MD

1 edit

Re: caution is key

You can check out Johnny Monoxyde and the entire Believe Wireless team's climbs on MySpace: »www.myspace.com/believewireless

Speaking of which, I took Jon up on his first climb. He gets up to 250 ft on a guyed tower, looks over and says, "That's the funnest thing I've done in years!"

--
Comtrain Certified Tower Climber

DrModem
Trust Your Doctor
Premium
join:2006-10-19
USA
kudos:1

#6 Refuse Material Collectors (garbage men im guessing)

because you never know what type of dog will come after you

rsa0

join:2003-01-25
Birmingham, AL

The "pay"

1500 $ day ! Sounds great, right ?! Not so...
- due to OSHA regulations a climber has to be secured by a 2nd person on the ground, and the price is split and / climb job;
- in average the carriers pays no more than 6-700$ / climb for the pair (if the climber is good, he can do 2 a day)
- some time it rains, and there is no "rain insurance", so, they won't get paid that day;
- this is mostly occasional work, and it happens in the warm season - in winter they have to live off the "fat" - most of the states;
- insurance is a killer - we're talking $k / months, and even so, some insurance companies won't take this kind of risk;
- equipment is very expensive - this is not the prosumer mountain climber - in some states has to be approved by OSHA and only certain equipment is on the list - VERY expensive
In the end, yes, there are good money,but not to make one rich, and in my opinion, is not worth the risk.

old_dawg
"I Know Noting..."

join:2001-09-22
Westminster, MD

Wow!

Far outshines anything did back in my CATV days.
One climb up the 100 footer on Rolling Road where cable crossed I-70 would make me a wreck for the rest of the day!
My hat's (er helmet) off to you guys!.
--
"Our network engineers are aware of the problem..."
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Re: Wow!

Heck I was having a hard enough time climbing a 70 break-over tower. Used to next to I-695 and Edmondson Ave. Took it down from there and helped put it up in Reisterstown.
ebubman

join:2002-01-17
Mechanicsburg, PA

wow

umm, these guys who climb those towers are braver than 99.99% of us. when i see that one photo that's been out here for some time on digital images here, it makes me ill. thank to the climbers who make our communications possible! bub
Markus4

join:2005-05-27
Middlesboro, KY

Not a job for me...

I'm not prone to phobias, but I have a pretty healthy fear of heights, I must say. Unlike many irrational fears a lot of people have, a fear of heights is perfectly logical; death is just one small slip or safety equipment failure away.

Air WAV

join:2000-09-16
Saint Louis, MO

No more towers for me...

I stopped climbing a few years ago. My pelican clip froze @ 80' of a 180' water tower, had to climb the rest of the way up to my partner with the wd40...that was scary.

I have hired climbers in the past that were amazing, like little monkeys and others that thought the only work was to climb the tower, they got up there and had no idea how to terminate cat 5 This is why I like high rises, I can do it myself
--
»www.StLBroadband.com

chpalmer

join:2002-11-18
Belfair, WA
Reviews:
·OlyPen, Inc.
·VOIPO
·Wave Broadband

Climb Pics

Took this with my phone sans the quality but, this is from 150'

guitarzan
Premium
join:2004-05-04
Skytop, PA

1 edit

Not wireless towers

but these climbers are 'up' their in altitude.

»video.google.com/videoplay?docid···lindex=0


»video.google.com/videoplay?docid···06098536


»video.google.com/videoplay?docid···lindex=0


cockenzie power station @ 300 feet, Jan 16, 2007

»video.google.com/videoplay?docid···lindex=6

--
Come on crazy mutant desert men, just because they got Jr. in the car doesn't mean they have Bud on the car.

••••

LordFlux

join:2005-04-20

1 edit

Not for me

A cell company approached my dad about building a tower on our land. He leased 2 acres and his only stipulation was 'no guide wires'. The tower is probably 150'... don't know for sure.

What I do know -- when I watched those guys climb to the top to work on the lights and antenna, my knees physically hurt! There is absolutely no way I could do that. I have a hard time looking over the 2nd story railing at the mall.

Angralitux

join:2004-05-20
DO

look these...

»bp1.blogger.com/_4ULMxekIFKU/Rov···00/2.JPG
»bp1.blogger.com/_4ULMxekIFKU/Rov···00/9.JPG
»bp2.blogger.com/_4ULMxekIFKU/Rov···00/8.JPG

I think those on the pictures are not from wireless companies, but also, the look like too risky..
--
All Is possible...

dynoho

@verizon.net

Towers

I used to do this for free, or should I say thrills.