Certain people can take a special pleasure in being up on a tower, free, out in the open air, particularly when they know what the alternative lifestyle is like. Will Stone had once been in prison. While he’d rather not dwell on the details, he hoped his transition from climbing out of a cell to the top of a cell tower could serve as an inspiration to others who are having it rough. Stone said of some of the men he knew while incarcerated could likely benefit from learning the tower trade. “It might be a good chance.”
Now an eight-year veteran tower climber with Path Wireless, a Top Hand and a foreman, Stone was lured into the business by a friend and his father-in-law. “It was like a second chance,” he said. Since he already enjoyed mountaineering and rock climbing, things he’d been doing since he was a Boy Scout, he felt right at home hanging off of a tower. He immediately sensed he found something full of freedom and adventure that gave him, literally and figuratively, a new outlook on life. He was particularly drawn to the camaraderie of working with a crew and being with men who don’t judge someone on their past. Stone said he takes enjoyment in teaching new climbers how to stay safe and new techniques to perform rigging and rescues. “I think it’s super important and vital to the industry for our future generations,” he said.
“I like the sense of importance it brings me,” he said. ‘Without us doing our jobs, you wouldn’t have social media or all the connections and things we have to have now.”
Stone has experienced some near misses. One time a boom came close to falling on him and some crew members. He would have scrambled out of there, as his comrades did, but his boot got stuck. “Hell of a learning experience,” he said. Another memorable moment was working with a night crew climbing a tower. They felt a heavy rain even though there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The droplets were coming from a flock of turkey buzzards occupying the upper tiers of the tower. “It was a particular kind of disgusting coming from those birds,” he said. “But it was funny at the same time. Out on a job, we try to make things bearable…and fun.”
Stone will be competing in the upcoming TRX Challenge, a tower-climbing rodeo event being held in Phoenix December 4-5, at the Tower Safety & Rescue Training. Contestants will be put through a series of tower-related challenges. “Looking forward to it,” Stone said. “I like learning new stuff.”
By Jim Fryer, Inside Towers Managing Editor