What It’s Like to Climb 2,000′ Broadcast Towers

Tower climbers are people who climb cell and broadcasting towers in order to perform repair and maintenance projects. It’s a very demanding and dangerous job as they might be climbing 1,700 feet or more using nothing but a cable rope to keep them safe. One of the hardest parts of their job is hauling up tools and materials to where they need to be used.

This page in Wikipedia provides some information about this occupation. When a tower climber gets to where they need to be on a tower, they work with a crew on the ground to bring up the tools and materials needed for the repairs, maintenance, or installation of new equipment. Once they have climbed to where their work will be performed, they lower a rope down to their crew on the ground who will tie the materials and tools to it so the tower climber can haul it up.

Tower climbing is a very dangerous job. They can be injured or killed in several ways. They can be hit by falling objects or be on a structure when it collapses. Sometimes their equipment fails which can lead to their death. They can fall from a great height or get electrocuted. Sometimes inclement weather suddenly strikes when they are fall of the ground leading to big problems getting back down.

Around 10 times more people die as tower climbers than do people in the construction industry, another dangerous occupation. From 2003 to 2011 somewhere between 50 to 100 tower climbers died from falls off cell or broadcast towers. It has been termed the most dangerous job in the United States by the top official at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

However, some tower climbers find satisfaction and beauty in the job they do. This article shares one tower climber’s thoughts on his job climbing mammoth towers far into the sky. One of the towers he climbs, the Liberman Broadcast Tower in Era, Texas, is 2,000 feet up. It’s like walking up 200 flights of stairs except straight up and exposed to the elements. Even those in tower light bulb changer jobs have to climb to the top as there needs to be lights to warn airplanes of the tower’s existence.

In the article, Jesús shared his experience climbing towers. He called the 2,000-foot towers he climbs “two screamers” because that’s all you can get out before you hit the ground if you fall. He said his job makes him feel privileged, though. He gets to see views that nobody else can when he is 2,000 off the ground. He said the view isn’t the same on planes because they’re moving. When he looks it’s very still and quiet.

Jesús also reflected on some of the dangers he has faced over the years. He has come across hornet nests where you must just move quickly past them. He has also been bombed by birds protecting their eggs. If he ever hears lightning the immediate priority is to get down as quickly and safely as possible.

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