How to climb billboards


A demo by yours truly, pictures by Dan Armstrong (thanks!)

Put on your climbing harness, and attach the "klettersteig" set.

It is necessary to secure yourself while climbing high ladders. You attach one carabiner to the ladder and climb higher. Then you attach the second carabiner. You loosen the lower carabiner and repeat the procedure. If you fall you're allways secured at one point. The "klettersteig" set has a brake to absorb some of the fall-energy.

I use the "Zyper" made by Petzl. It has a pre-rigged brake system so you cannot make mistakes while installing it. I use two heavy industrial carabiners. They hold 20kN when open and 50kN when closed and screwed tight. If I forget to fasten the screw they still have enough strength to catch a fall.

My stepfather's comment for this picture was: "It looks like you left your fly open and are closing it in a hurry."

Throw a thin line over the first rungs of the ladder. Usually this takes a few tries. During this procedure the line will get tangled in the weeds and will try to knot itself into a "rope salad".

I use a cheap 3mm nylon line and a lead weight (400g) I bought at the fishing shop. It's wise to put on your helmet while you do this, because getting the throw-weight on your head could be lethal.

Then attach the throwline to your climbing rope using a clove-hitch plus some extra half-hitches. Pull the thick rope over the rungs and down again. You'll be surprised how easy this is.

You must not use normal climbing-rope. The friction might melt it. I use 20m of 14mm arborist rope, it's black and heavy. I think the mantle is made from polyester-dacron, not nylon.

Notice the goofy helmet. I promised my wife that I would put it on when doing "stupid things". It has already saved me from some bad bumps.

Then you tie into one end of the rope with a double figure-8 knot and leave a long tail of the rope loose. You tie a "blake's hitch" around the climbing line. This knot will slide upward easily, but will block if you try to pull it down (like a Gri-Gri).

Pulling on the climbing line and pushing with your feet will let you gain height meter by meter.

When you arrive at the ladder pull yourself up and fasten the klettersteig-set. Now you can untie from the rope and climb higher.

Here you can improve the advertisement, make some graffiti of start messing with the telephone antenna's (just joking). I limit myself to enjoying the view and making pictures.

If you loosen the "blake's hitch" you can throw the rope down to your climbing partner so he can climb up after you.

Don't forget to take the rope with you, otherwise you won't be able to climb down.

You can get down by rappelling in the normal way, using a metal figure-8 brake. But you can also use the "blake's hitch" for rappelling. It's important to control your speed because the knot can burn the rope.


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1999 Dan Armstrong, Petr Kazil - 18 September 1999