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denalidave

[TR] Out East - A Different Kind of Climbing 10/29/2011

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Trip: Out East - A Different Kind of Climbing

 

Date: 10/29/2011

 

Trip Report:

So, although this is not rock, ice, sport, bouldering, trad, alpine or big wall, it is still climbing none the less.

 

I'd been considering a career in wind turbines for a few years now and finally got my foot in the door, thanks to a 1 month school I went to last August... Airstreams Renewables Inc, Tehachapi, CA. I had a job offer a few days before graduating and now find myself on the east coast working on wind turbines, doing installation of high voltage electrical systems on new turbines being built. As a traveling tech, I get 6 weeks on/1 week at home ant they pay to fly me to/from home, as well as a good perdiem. The hours can be long (I had 173 hours the last 2 week check) and the work can be physically demanding (not more than many climbing routes though), but the money is good and the work is very enjoyable and rewarding if you like heights, the outdoors and figuring things out. I just thought I'd post a few pics (out of the hundreds I've been taking monthly) and let you guys know that wind is a burgeoning industry. Someone is going to have to maintain all the thousands upon thousand of turbines going up around the world. If you are interested in a career, be sure to check out ARI - Wind Turbine "Boot Camp", it was well worth the $5500, not to mention much quicker/cheaper than all the 6 month - two year programs offered out there. I cannot say enough about what a great program they offered. (shameless plug)

Pano_9_24_11JPG.JPGWind Farm Sunset Pano, Vermont, 2011

 

P1050124_1_1_.jpgDarkness Closing In, Vermont, 2011

 

Tag_Line_and_Sun_Rays_Vermont_August_2011_1_.jpgTag Line & Sun Rays, Vermont, 2011

 

P1050141_3_.JPGCrane Sunrise

 

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P1050175_1_.JPG Rotting bear skull, Vermont, 2011

 

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P1050193_1_.JPGTurbine Alpenglow, NH, 2011

 

IMG_20111028_091816_1_.jpgTres Turbines, NH, 2011

 

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Gear Notes:

Full body harness, safety glasses, hard hat, gloves, lad safe, lanyards, etc...

 

Approach Notes:

Drive/fly to Bakersfield, CA, head east to Tehachapi, enroll in ARI's 1 month turbine program, APPLY YOURSELF, interview, fly off to wind farm jobs across the country.

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fawk yeah dave!

 

and shit...i knew turbines were dangerous for birds....but bears too?

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fawk yeah dave!

 

and shit...i knew turbines were dangerous for birds....but bears too?

That one took a bullet in the head. Apparently, poachers like wind farms too. Speaking of danger, the work is pretty dangerous. My second day on the job I go beaned in the shoulder with a large, pretty heavy chunk of plastic that dropped 300 ft all the way down from the top because someone had left all the hatches open. Hit with a few nut and bolts too. Gotta watch your ass all the time. You'd love it, Ivan.

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You are full of shit!

 

The occupy Wall Street, Westlake, etc. people on tv with purple hair say there's no jobs out there for young people and no future at all. This is clearly government propaganda.

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You are full of shit!

 

The occupy Wall Street, Westlake, etc. people on tv with purple hair say there's no jobs out there for young people and no future at all. This is clearly government propaganda.

I'm OLD (over 40) and only my huevos are purple so not FOS.

 

IMG_20111029_090714_1_.jpgVestasesesesses V90s - 3 megawats each, bioach.

 

Put that in yer pipe and smoke it, ya damn hippies...

 

IMG_20111030_193014.jpgJackosnowlantern, NH, October, 2011

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Sweet! Thanks for posting. I checked out all the videos for the Vantage turbines...I think it's Puget Sound Power and light. Cool to see a clean business like that take off. Lots of jobs.

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Very cool pics. I always saw the ads for those tower tech courses but never heard from anyone who took them. Glad to see they are legit. I used to make the steel tower portion until the plant I worked at in Eastern Wa. closed down. I have a lot of hope for the industry.

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Very cool pics. I always saw the ads for those tower tech courses but never heard from anyone who took them. Glad to see they are legit.
I did quite a bit of research before choosing Air Streams Renewables, Inc and found they are not all equal or "legit". I was told by several people that had taken other courses that it does not really matter so much what certificates/credentials you have, if you are not "part of the club", you can't get in front of the right people to get an interview. ARI is "in the club" and have good connections with many of the players in wind industry jobs. They have an 80% plus placement rate and much higher placement rate for vets. There were several guys in my class that were already attending a two year community college program back in the midwest but came to ARI so they could actually get a job. Seems to me, a lot of the college courses and private schools have a lot of "fluff" in the curriculum. All that stuff is really good to learn but not necessary to get an entry level wind turbine job... Those schools need to fill in so many credit hours so it takes much longer to complete. Better to get the job and then get paid for all that training and education (IMO). At ARI, they do try to cram 1-2 years of school/info in a very short time but the proof is in the pudding, I suppose. Lastly, of all the schools I looked at, they were the ONLY ones with an A+ rating and zero complaints with the BBB.

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I've looked at doing one of these schools too. Is the 6 weeks on / 1 week off pretty standard? Could you have them fly you elsewhere? Also curious what a realistic starting pay would be after going to this school (these jobs come w/ health care/benefits?). Sounds like a good way to save up a bunch of money for big climbing trips.

 

Thanks.

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I've looked at doing one of these schools too. Is the 6 weeks on / 1 week off pretty standard? Could you have them fly you elsewhere? Also curious what a realistic starting pay would be after going to this school (these jobs come w/ health care/benefits?). Sounds like a good way to save up a bunch of money for big climbing trips.

 

Thanks.

I can pretty much fly anywhere in the US for my R & R. Not sure how "standard" the 6 on/1 off is but I think something similar is common. Of course, the schedule is "on paper" and you really have to play squeaky wheel gets the grease to make sure you go on R & R every six weeks. At least with my company, pretty sure it is the same with most.

 

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Nice pics Dave. Glad we got a chance to climb together at Beacon again when you were back home.
Great to see you Tim! Thanks for being the rope gun for my fat arse.

Home now till Sat AM so lets get out if it dries out. Maybe a Smith trip could be squeezed in too?

 

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P1050344_1_.JPG

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OK, since I'm so bored out here in the middle of now where, New Mexico, I'll update my Wind TR... Mostly phone shots so sorry the quality is not there on quite a few...

 

Clipper Site, Palm Springs, CA 2014

IMAG3315.jpg

 

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IMAG3324_edit0.jpg

 

 

New Mexico, 2014

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Dayton WA 2012/13

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Dayton_WA_Sunset_March_2013_2_.JPG

 

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Dayton_WA_Feb_2014_5_.JPG

 

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Dayton_WA.jpg

 

Dayton_WA_Feb_2013_1_.jpg

 

Dayton_Sunrinse_Feb_2013_2_.jpg

 

Dayton_Sunrinse_Feb_2013_1_.jpg

 

I've "Exceeded my limit of photos per day" but that's a few.

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P1050344_1_.JPG

 

Can you explain what that is, I cant seem to even get a sense of size?

This is on top of a Vestas V90 nacelle... The hoops contain anemometers (wind meters) and are probably 2' in diameter. The nacelle roof is, I'd guess, about 10' wide x 15' long. 100 meters up. The yellow rings are tie off anchors and spaced about 5' apart. I got a great shot for "Extreme Ironing" the day before we left the site... I covertly hauled an ironing board and iron all the way up the latter, then set it up on top... Newer turbines are required to have climb assists (counter weights) or elevators, which are nice.

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Where in nowhere NM are you? NM is a beautiful state. If there weren't even less jobs than Oregon it's a state I'd enjoy living in..

 

Thanks for the pics. Curious about night shift work.. Work contact dictates completing services in short time frame, or what's the situation for being up at the top of a turbine in dead of night? do wind fields require 24/7 onsite presence?

Edited by Water

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Where in nowhere NM are you? NM is a beautiful state. If there weren't even less jobs than Oregon it's a state I'd enjoy living in..

 

Thanks for the pics. Curious about night shift work.. Work contact dictates completing services in short time frame, or what's the situation for being up at the top of a turbine in dead of night? do wind fields require 24/7 onsite presence?

I'm working out of Mointainair, NM, pretty much smack dab middle of NM. Yes, cool state, I just wish I could explore the mountain areas . I did visit a friend in Madrid... A really cool, artsy, hippie mountain town.

 

As far as working nights, we have been shut down for weeks on end so pressure is coming from the powers that be to come in whenever the wind forecast is down, which has been in the wee hours of the night. Pretty stupid and it has still been too windy, for the most part. Off again all day today and just found out no work till Monday. Fine bye me as I still get paid and perdiem. :) Might go to Taos. Woot!

 

They are usually monitored 24/7 remotely with techs on call for big outrages. Management is always concerned about % availability. We are here doing gearbox exchanges so it's pretty expensive to have the crane and crew sitting around for weeks on end. It can cost upwards of $250,000 a day for the crane & crew...

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gotcha.. there for a job, gotta wait till less windy..only been in night. makes sense.

 

Hey if you go up to Taos...this is just north of there, google but I think its maybe a 30min drive out of town. I have been there twice, once in december and once in late September. Both times brilliant.

 

camping down by the river (covered pavilions) or up at the rim, is great. Both times it was not busy at all (almost nobody). Or for a day trip just hike down to big arsenic springs (true definition of a spring with water gushing out of a huge hole in ground) and then hike south along rio grande to confluence with the red river and back up out, rt maybe 4miles. Other cool factoid I learned is that there are ancient lava tubes flowing with water many hundreds (or a thousand?) of feet underground in NM--in some places the rio grand has cut down and intersected them so clear water gurgles up into the rio grande at some decent flows (big one is 6000 gal/min)

 

http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/taos/wild_rivers_rec_area.html

 

https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/publications/periodicals/nmg/downloads/32/n1/nmg_v32_n1_p26.pdf

 

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Cool, I used to build the steel tower portion. I never got to go to the installation and climb one but it looks cool.
I'm over it, but it

pays the bills... :)

 

That sounds pretty cool, Water. Thanks.

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