April 13, 2024

Tower Safety Systems have become a New Priority under Occupational Health & Safety rules

The new heavy-duty climbing harness I’m required to wear if climbing up or down the fire tower now.

Tower safety systems have become a new priority under Occupational Health & Safety rules this year, and that’s seriously affected my climb-time ratios and state of mind whenever I ascend or descend my summer fire tower nowadays.

I’ve included a couple of photos in this post to help you picture what I’m about to describe to you.

The long and the short of it is that what used to take a mere two or three minutes to accomplish before on a hoop-lined naked steel ladder, now takes a minimum of 12-15 minutes to be able to achieve the same end results.

That’s because of the involved rigamarole associated with first correctly climbing into and hooking up the heavy safety harness you see in one of these photos, strapping and securing the pack containing necessary gear on my back over top of it, hooking onto the steel cable safety line shown in the other picture, and then laboriously negotiating through the metal hoops lining the length of the ladder without getting hung up on them because of the pack on my back, while simultaneously dragging my attached safety line up that same steel cable now running the full length of the ladder.

New steel cable safety wire-guide system fitted into center of fire tower ladder.

Mind you I’m not really complaining – well okay maybe I am coming across just a little grumpy about it – but I do also understand that safety concerns hold the trump card when it comes to ensuring I don’t manage to find an accidental way to fall off the 50 foot ladder that leads up to the observation cupola at the top.

(Maybe they knew I was turning 65 years of age this season and decided they wanted to ensure I’d still have a means of climbing up to the tower regardless of how creaky I get with advancing age?)

Whatever their actual reasoning, since I’ve now admitted to my grumpiness about this procedure, you should try coming along for the adventure associated with trying to DE-scend that same ladder with a pack on your back! That one can easily turn into a ten minute or longer Odyssey all on its own simply because of those steel hoops that forever keep snagging the pack on your back! That’s pretty much guaranteed to happen since you can no longer suck your gut in far enough to avoid them because the new steel cable-guide system has stolen your belly-negotiating room from you!

Generally speaking there’s now a distinct aura of the color deep-dark-blue in the air associated with such ascents or descents, as I find myself tending to begin swearing a few shades of that lovely color every time it happens – and it’s pretty much guaranteed to happen at every steel hoop I encounter all the way up or down.

See – even those of us living and working in the bush on a remote mountaintop can find ways to get grumpy about stuff – especially if change happens when we’re already old and just naturally getting older and grumpier all the time anyway – **Grins!**

I just love having a forum like this to share these crazy changes and minor misadventures in with all of you!

All in all, regardless of them or of the color of the air that occasionally surrounds me nowadays, I still wouldn’t trade my job for any other in the world that you might try to tempt me with. The pluses still outweigh the minuses by a scale of measure so huge it hasn’t even been invented yet – and all you’d ever have to do to confirm that assessment is to someday make a minor side trip up my mountain – there to see it for yourself and able to take in the astonishing views I’m privileged to live with every single day of my summer season up there!

So regardless if tower safety systems have become a new priority under occupational health & safety rules or not, you’ll still know where to find me each and every future season I’m granted the health to hook up to that new-fangled harness and drag my colorful way up or down that danged wire!


  1. Skoehoeteen says

    Grumpy – LOL

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