How Many Electricians Does It Take to Climb A Pole

How Many Electricians Does It Take To Climb A Pole


One of the guys I worked for had run a line on poles out toward Fort Peck Dam (East of Glasgow, Montana).  He said that he had a young guy, a tall skinny kid about 17 years old hanging around and pestering him for days wanting to climb one of those poles.


One day the boss finally gave him a set of climbers and let him climb one of the poles.  The boy got up to the top of the pole and the boss said: “You wait there (where did he think he was going to go?), I’m getting something out of the truck.”


When he turned back the boy had slipped.  Apparently as he had come down, his turtle neck sweater had caught on an insulator and stretched out about 10 feet and he was hanging by it.  The sweater had slipped up enough that it had trapped his arms over his head.  The boy couldn’t get his spikes into the pole for purchase and he couldn’t grip anything with his hands.


The boss had to get another set of climbers to go up and rescue him.  The kid never came back to work again.


I was once tasked to go out to a job where the customer had put in his own pole.  It was about 5 feet around at the base.  My safety belt was not long enough to go around.   I began to climb with my hands (make that finger tips due to the size of the pole) gripping the sides of the pole as I went up.  About 10 feet up my hands (finger tips) slipped and down I came.  I discovered two things:  1). That’s the quick way down.  2). The ground is hard.


And it made me mad.  It made me so mad I got on the pole and climbed all the way to the top.  When I finished my work I thought: “Now how am I going to get down?”


I knew I couldn’t stay up there all day.  Those leg irons have a stiff strap about 1-1/2” across under the bottom of your feet in the arch.  If you stand there long enough your feet go numb all the way up to your hips.  I knew that about 10 feet from the ground I was going to have to let the safety strap loose and maneuver with just two points of contact on my feet and five miniscule (and insecure) points on each hand.


I really hung on tight the last ten feet.  I was sure glad there were no rocks at the bottom of that pole.


The point of all of this, I suppose, is to make sure you don’t climb the pole on the side where the meter is.  If you fell you could really injure yourself severely.