Since 1983 I’ve been a tree climber. I started with palm trees and later climbed anything with bark on it. I learned logging and how to be a tree climbing and rigging specialist. I didn’t work with cranes until I participated in the bark beetle project in the San Bernardino Mountains. This project was funded by a government grant, and until then it was actually too hazardous to climb trees that decayed. The standards were changed to; you can climb but you must be tied in twice and use a steel enforced flip-line attachment. I climbed and removed many of these dead trees with rigging and never got a scratch. To save time on a job with many trees in a small area we used a crane. This method is very fast and extremely dangerous. With the crane fully extended I tied in using the hook below the ball of the crane cable. Using hand signals the crane operator knows to take me up. He did this full speed to scare me, it didn’t though, it terrified me! When I climb, I’m in control and I have faith that God is with me. Tied to this crane cable put me in a different place but when my stomach caught up to me I felt better. I could see Lake Arrowhead and Hesperia! It was a beautiful day too.
The crane lowered me into the canopy of the tree, I strapped a cable choker to the top of the tree. This is when I’m supposed to pull my rope out of the crane hook to tie into the tree to repel down a ways to make the cut. I used a split tail system but I gave the signal to tighten the choker I put around the tree before I pulled slack and removed my rope! The operator is slowly removing slack and I”m starting to get squashed against the tree! If you have ever used a prussik you know it’s impossible to pull slack when it’s tightly cinched. I’m screaming at the top of my lungs pulling on this prussik, “Stop! Stop! Stop!”. Nobody can hear me the crane is too loud. This is when I prayed, “Please God help me!” My knot pulled just enough to keep me from being squashed to death. My body was being compressed by the steel flip-line and my rope being pulled by the crane. My only chance was the prussik to give. I made a fatal mistake and God prevented my death or my back from being broken. Thank you God! God has revealed himself to me many times like this and other ways.
Seek God, follow Jesus. Without God, life on earth is hell.
Letters from Paul