It’s one thing to climb for fun and thrills and pay for the experience. But what drives a person to go upward everyday, just to work? Plenty are paid handsomely for exercising their professions, in situations whose description makes queasy-reading.
We’ve all seen technicians and firemen up telegraph poles, maintaining phone-lines and…retrieving potential obstructions.
Raising the game a little, even the newest and most magnificent buildings need their windows cleaned. The Shard’s crew abseil while they wipe. What would George Formby say?
20 metres higher than the Shard and 40 years older, Emley Moor radio mast is still the 25th tallest structure, anywhere in the world. Engineers working on aerials near the top, try to forget that the previous mast here collapsed in 1969 under a huge weight of frozen rain.
More wind turbines appear every month. They’re spectacular from the ground, but spare a thought for the construction and maintenance crews…
At least today, there’s always risk-assessment and insurance. Next time you pass a church, look all the way up. Whatever is at the top will have been affixed there by mortal hands…in a time before health & safety…
New York’s skyscrapers gained an almost-comic reputation for their nonchalant construction workers. The black & white pictures suggest a sense of balance and grip was as near to guaranteed security as they got.
Fascinatingly, many maintenance crews ‘free-climb’, without safety wires. It allows for a faster ascent, and some genuinely terrifying video:
But all these are lowly stuff, compared with the world’s tallest tower. Half a mile high, the maintenance-men’s visible horizon from atop the Burj Khalifa is sixty miles away. Hopefully they’re not easily over-excited…Tom Cruise really has been seen at work up there, too!