Climbing a tower -
more often than not - is extremely dangerous.
Don't ever consider entering a tower alone.
The other person most qualified to go with you or for you should be from the institution.
Usually this is a sexton, maintenance person, trustee or clergy.
You need a cell phone and plan for calling for help in an emergency.
Be serious, you need to know if anything is automatic, such as a tower clock and/or electric
Turn them off, first.
Don't get caught in any devices.
Don't trust that you will remember when they are supposed to ring.
You may also need a hand light. Sometimes, a pocket sized light will do.
Wear thick working gloves.
Wear a cap.
Cut the bill off, wear it backwards or try a ski cap or yarmulke.
When making a record of your visit, these are a few items you might find handy:
still camera, video camera, mini tape recorder, pocket light, tape measure, pitch pipe.
Don't be afraid of turning back.
I have climbed over 300 towers and turned back more than once.
If you feel uncomfortable at any point, turn back. Use good judgement.
Remember, you also have to come back down.
Towers with the fewest number of bells are generally the least friendly to climb, the one-bell towers being the worst.
[That is because they are the most neglected. /CSZ/]
Ladders are sometimes much, much higher than you are used to.
Never climb a ladder or staircase when anyone else is on it.
Climb with feet on the left and right outside edges of the ladder.
The weakest point is the middle of the rung.
Keep a grasp in case a rung breaks anyway.
[Move only one hand or one foot at a time. /CSZ/]
Doors or hatches above you:
Check to see if they are visibly locked in any way.
Good to have that small flashlight.
Remember that when you push on them, you exert extra weight on the ladder.
Figure out, ahead of time, how you can position your body if anything goes wrong.
Press upwards lightly on each side for opening point.
It may be like a box cover and be laid aside, or It may be hinged and go to one side.
Make sure it will stay open and not fall on you.
Or It may need to be slid flat in one direction. This is often the case.
Be aware of where you are on the way down:
The door below where pigeons, etc. can get in MUST be shut.
Many are not.
Birds can mess up a tower in a matter of weeks.
I have seen it.
The door between the heated building and the tower MUST be shut tight.
Many are not.
I have found many where money is being wasted on heating the outside air
Close them on the way down.
This is not always easy.
Make sure your gloves are on so you don't lose a finger or damage a hand.
Watch out for nails sticking downward, you might be using your head to steady it.
The box cover and sliding cover are often very difficult to replace correctly.
In the tower, you may run into pigeons and their mess, a fake owl or standing water.
First, take a look at the head bolts on the bells.
If there is room between the frame and the bells, leave immediately.
You can get killed.
If there is a thump thump on a swinging bell, or a bell is obviously loose, or you can see the head bolt between the beam and bell, leave immediately without touching any bell; report it.
If there is a water buildup, maybe you can clear a drain while you are there.
Take a minute to enjoy the view.
Take pictures inside and out.
Take a note of the bell manufacturer and year.
Write down all inscriptions.
If a single bell, you might measure the diameter.
Make a copy for the church later on.
Also send them pictures you took.
They will appreciate it.
Almost every tower presents one or more dangerous situations.
Be as prepared as possible.
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| The advice above, from late Joe Connors, founder of this Website, is good.
In more than half a century of climbing bell towers, I've only been slighty injured twice, and both could have been prevented if I'd been wearing a hat.
I climb alone more than Joe did, but I always carry a cell phone in addition to the other recommended equipment.
(However, I've never had to use it.)