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The Futile Alpinist by Paul Brechbuhler.



When we are young, we feel invincible. Especially teenaged males.


Probably the dumbest thing I had ever done was when I was 13.

I liked to climb things. I would climb anything that was taller than I was.

On a Saturday morning, I was out for a walk, and I found myself at the foot of the Mountain.

I looked up. The Mountain spoke to me. It said, "Climb me".




I started grabbing at the rocks.

Some of the rocks crumbled under my feet, and a few times I came close to falling.

It took a good 20 minutes to make it to the top.


I peered over the ledge at the top, and right away I noticed the base of a tower.

I climbed over the ledge, and made the short walk to the tower.

It looked like the Eiffel Tower, but not quite as tall. It was painted red and white, and had all kinds of odd and cool antenna sticking out from all sides all the way up. The top was split into a quad-tower with rectangular-shaped "thingies" on each side.

The bottom of the tower had several huge cables coming from it, and running along a concrete conduit along a little dirt road to a very noisy cement building. It sounded like some big-ass cooling system was running in there.

I looked up. The Tower spoke to me. It said, "Climb me".




It was hard to climb, and it was windy and cold up there. I only made it about half-way.

I looked out over the city, and it was a spectacular view. I could see all the way out to the lake.

I had been up there for a good 20 minutes, and then decided to climb down. I wanted to inspect the noisy building.

Once at the bottom, I began to follow the conduit, along the dirt road toward the building.

At about half-way along, there was a chain strung across the road. No big deal, I just climbed over it.

I then noticed a sign, next to the chain, "Danger...Do Not Enter...High Level Of Radio Frequency Energy"

Oh. Interesting for me to have just noticed that now. I was in there for a half-hour!


I found out later that it was a broadcast tower. Yes. There I was, 13, my whole life ahead of me, and I was climbing a live broadcast tower!


I went back there last summer to try to fry myself again, because the first time was so much fun.

In the 20 years since I was there last, other people must have tried the same.

The chain was gone. Replaced by a gate. The gate was part of a huge chain link fence going all the way around the property. The infamous "Danger" sign placed at regular intervals on the fence all the way around.


That's okay. I am much too old for those climbing games, anyway.




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