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Another reason I love this job
November 21, 2011 - Stephen Browne
Friday morning I got to climb up one of the two interior ladders of the wind tower simulator at the Minnesota Emergency and Response Industrial Training (MERIT) Center in Marshall. Very cool.
That evening I went to a wine tasting for the United Way. Also very cool. Very glad it was in that order though.
The excuse was to take photos of the preliminary informal dedication of the tower simulator, which will be used to train maintenance and rescue workers. There will be a more formal dedication in the Spring.
The climb was made in the company of several city officials and members of the MERIT advisory board. We strapped into safety harnesses, got a quick orientation from professional instructors, and up we went two-by-two on the two interior ladders. That's about 70 feet to the nacelle simulator, then from there you get to climb up onto the roof and take in the view.
I stress we were attached to the ladder all the way up, and clamped onto the tower at all times on the roof. These guys do take safety seriously.
Of course, with all the guys and ladies around, nobody was about to chicken out in front of everybody else. Though heights are not my favorite thing I did it hand over hand, foot over foot, staring fixedly at the wall opposite me and never looking up or down.
When I got down my arms were aching slightly from clinging to the ladder with more force than was strictly necessary. I then reminded my boss of a little-known rule in journalism: whenever you climb a 70-foot tower for an assignment you get to take the afternoon off.
But all in all, it was an exhilarating experience, one I'll not soon forget.
The irony of it was though, we didn't use any of the pictures I took from the top. So here's one for our loyal readers.
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After a 70-foot climb up the ladder I got to go out on the roof of the wind tower simulator at the Marshall MERIT Center. Note safety harness.