20 votes

The scariest video you have ever watched in the name of science!

Do you get queasy when you are high in the air? THEN DON'T WATCH THIS! It is about the men who climb radio towers.


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Holy smokes...

Holy smokes...that was insane. I have serious respect for those guys. That takes some giant balls.

"Villains wear many masks, but none as dangerous as the mask of virtue." - Washington Irvin

How, then, to service my 48-mile-high ion collecting tower? Hmm.

How, then, to service my 48-mile-high stratospheric ion collecting tower? Thought about the construction methods and the length of the 1,660 guy lines for suspension -- the 16 uppermost lines need to be 210 miles long apiece, for a ground radius of 120 miles from the tower. But how to get to the top for servicing? Hmm!

Anyway, I confess feeling queasy at the beginning, but it got better as I watched it. No doubt the first climb is a doozy, but confidence comes along with experience.

"Cowards & idiots can come along for the ride but they gotta sit in the back seat!"

I showed this video to a

I showed this video to a friend of mine a long time ago, he said his hands got sweaty just watching it lol.

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. - Heinlein

omg, me too! : P

omg, me too! : P

I made it to 1:45 then I HAD to stop it.

I made it to 1:45 then I HAD
Too Real

No problem

Looks easy.....lol

I'm sure, I was freaked out when he was in the cage.
I think he was wearing a parachute.

For Freedom!
The World is my country, all mankind is my brethren, to do good is my religion.

henry9's picture

Oh My!

You sure wouldn't want to forget your jacket, with pocketed car keys, at the end of the day.Imagine having to go back up.

Balls of Steel



There's a show I watched on Netflix called "Worlds Toughest Fixes" where this guy does a bunch of high altitude repairs that I'm not sure I coiuld do even if the money was really good.

however donkey king

left this comment:





That was fun to watch

I've never been on a tower anywhere close to that height, but the view is absolutely breathtaking on some of the ones I've been up. WINC tower is on top of Blue Mountain (Bluemont, VA) at about 2,200ft, and the tower is about another 10% on top of that. You see everything from there! The Blue Ridge mountains look like rippling water on a lake.

If you don't be stupid (i.e., check the weather channel, keep three points of contact, read the RF frequencies and strengths and see if any will fry you) then it's not that dangerous. It's friggin' exhausting, though! I bet the climbers in the OP video could do many, many chin-ups.

I do have to admit it gets slightly scary in one particular scenario. Imagine you're half-way up, and it suddenly gets foggy. You can't see the ground, and you can't see the sky. You can't see anything around you except for vague flashing lights from towers. The tower you are on is slightly swaying. You can't simply look at the horizon to get your balance, because there is none. You can't even get any sort of realistic idea where the sun is! Just gotta trust that you can keep climbing upwards until you see the sky (or the antenna you need to service).

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

I wondered about the swaying when I watched this vid.

Those little bitty climbing pegs just wouldn't cut it for me, even without the swaying.

Definitely not envious of anyone who does this job.

"Tower flowers"

I have worked on many of the tower cooling units. the transmitter gives off heat like a frickin furnace......
the RF signal goes up in a coaxial looking cable.... like a pipe, with a jacket wrapped around it....
it is flushed with nitrogen to increase the dielectric.
onetime I saw where a crack head had tried to steal the metal... I was told the guy probably got discouraged when the RF started heating his bones.....
one guy stays at the bottom with a 55 gallon drum with the rope in it....
I see some interesting things in my line of work.

Phxarcher87's picture

Id bring a parachute for the way down

I bet they don't have any overweight people who do that job.

James Madison

I am not scared of heights. I

I am not scared of heights.
I am only scared of falling.

I'm not scared of falling

Just the sudden stop at the end.

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

mountaincat's picture

Looks like fun to me.

Nearly met my maker at Neversink.


More high angle fun.



Looks like fun? O-kay.

Watching the Extreme High-Lining clip, where Dean Potter stretched a rope across Yosemite Valley... when he finally got to the other side I realized I was heavily leaning to the right. I wonder if he realized I'd been helping him balance. :)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir


I love these videos. Especially the fact that it's marginally safer than the kids doing this shit in Russia for a high on the weekends.

Not gonna lie, my hands were sweating the entire time.

Could I do it? Given enough incentive, I suppose anyone could.


Ever since I found this vid last night..

...my stomach has been quivering! Not kidding. Today at work I was merely thinking about the part where the climber is standing on the very top looking down, and I got 'painful butterflies'.

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"- Homer Simpson

When I was`

17 or so, me and two friends climbed up to the top of a water tower...and had some fun with some spray paint. That was scary. This is a million times worse. There is not enough money to pay me to do this. Wow!


That wasn't fun. I don't understand why they can't enclose the towers all the way to the top. And at the very top? He was climbing a pole that didn't even have hand holds. I don't get it.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

It's too heavy

Think about each one of those little climbing pegs, weighing only a couple pounds. Imagine how much more weight it would have if it were an entire cage. At these kinds of heights, they have to carefully consider things like the weight of the wire that connects radios at the top. The guy-wires have to be so tight, because there's no way to get enough structure that high without the tower collapsing on itself.

I climbed the WAZW tower here in Winchester, VA from the inside, and by about 160 ft it became so narrow that I was the only one of the team who could fit. (I'm a 120lb guy.) Even that "short" tower was waving and wobbling all over from just that height.

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

I don't envy you

having done that! You're braver than me. I guess I understand about the weight, but I'd think that with all our advanced technology, they'd be able to figure it out, like maybe devise some way to lower what's at the top (that might need to be repaired or replaced) to some place that's safer to be worked on. Or do something with robotics, such as they do with space stations. Or at least devise something that could hang down from the top that a guy could hook himself onto!!! Maybe we just shouldn't be making towers so high in the first place.

I guess so long as there are people willing to take the risk to do those kinds of jobs there won't be a demand for something safer. But it does seem a bit of an incongruenty; with all of the less significant OSHA rules and regulations that exist in various industry, I'm surprised it's even allowed.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Indeed there are some of those types of things in place

We have a few crank-up towers, which the company's owner was too cheap to buy the motor for, so we have to do them by hand. Fortunately they're all like 75' to 100'. Still, they get heavy!

Also we have a couple of pretty impressive pulley systems at a couple towers. Although I don't think we've ever gone up them with the pulleys, we keep them handy for emergency descent. We've also used them for lifting new tower sections most of the way up existing towers.

And yeah, that's always something I'm worried about. I can't climb with the safety gear. It gets me hung up (and has almost thrown me off before) so I would have to quit if the law suddenly required them.

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

I see. Thank you for your replies.

Boy, are we a diverse lot here. Who'd have thought I'd get real answers to what I thought would just be rhetorical questions. :) Well, do take care!

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

About Vertigo....

I was told that one of the ways to control it is to not look at things that are far away.....
it is when your eyes refocus that vertigo can result?
it does seem to help. but I still get "butterflies" in my stomach when I first walk up to the edge of a building.....
I have noticed that simply looking down an elevator shaft does not induce the same effect...

I think you're right

And it's funny, but I never "feel" like I'm getting up high except in the very early part of the first ascent. After that, it's like swimming.

I do Wireless Internet (long range stuff) installs, so I get on pretty much any and every roof, pole, tower, tree, mountain, or whatever. I've gotten pretty used to it all, but the one thing that does always scare me is when I'm doing a residential install and the customer has an old shingle roof. Those shingles get brittle, and once you start sliding it's hard to stop. Tall businesses usually have a nice wall or something, but homes usually just deposit you on a piece of concrete or rock at the bottom. It's the short falls that always worry me.

I'm guessing by your name that you do HVAC, which is something that has always made me nervous actually. The cranes for AC units, LP lines, sharp sheet metal, and so on and so forth. Now that's a real rough business!

Michael Nystrom's fists can punch through FUD.

I hated heights...

...this is insane and better pay better than a Senior Chesapeake Bay Pilot...

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

How much do you think they make?


"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!"- Homer Simpson