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Almost had to scream


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My wife does property damage claims work. There was an old Victorian that she needed photos of at the top of showing shingle damage. I took my 28 ft ladder over and fully extended and sitting on the first step of some stairs it overlapped the gutter by 6 inches or so. I placed it right next to the valley. The fields were too steep to walk. I climbed up just to take a look knowing that the ladder was too short to step off of. Way the heck up there the valley looked like is was shallow enough to go up. Went home and got my 32 footer. On the way home my wife mentioned how the shingles were old and I said that in that area they looked to be in pretty good shape. Back up at the valley, as soon as I stepped off I thought "This is not going to be friendly stepping back onto this ladder, so I's best keep going up". As I neared the top of the valley the granules were starting to come off, but I summited. Started taking my pictures and thinking how am I going to get back down. There were a couple of shed roof additions on top. Found more shingle damage, etc. After considering crying, calling fire department, and yelling "Help Mr. Wizard", I saw where I could move onto one dormer about 10ft below, then slide down its eave to a 2ft deep flat roof, follow it over and jump down about 3ft to a lower roof, hoping I would not crash through it, then called out to my wife in my manly voice, "Honey could you bring the ladder over here, pretty please". She managed to upright that long ladder and lower it all on her own and with a sprained ankle moved it over to where I was which was still a good 14 ft up. That was fun. [:-paperba

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I would have gone back down the same way I went up in the case you describe. Cougar Paw boots help my feet stick good. I'd crab crawl down (feet first) if the granules were too loose.

I like less overhang of my ladder at the eave. This lets me step over it when getting back on. I can lean over the roof keeping the majority of my weight over the roof surface until my first foot is on a rung just below the eave. With my body weight mostly over the roof still, if I were to slip, I'd fall onto the roof surface.

When the ladder is higher above the eave edge you have no choice but to step around it with an upright stance and that is scary when you're high up. A slip from that position and you're way more likely to fall to the ground.

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As someone who took 20+ stitches and a very sore back side resulting from a single story rooftop fall while trying to do a customer a favor and check something on a roof that I did not need to be on. I have to agree with Marc, above my pay grade on that one.

I had a different customer that has a roofing company and he mentioned getting a pair of boots like they use. Those boots have a replaceable sole on them and the material is super soft and sticks really well. Not sure if those are the Cougar Paws John made reference of or not, but I was told some of the non-big box hardware store carry those grippy shoes.

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My roofer never puts his ladder at an eave if the roof is steep, he puts in right at the ridge and climbs over the top of it.

That's exactly what I do. I also put it straddling the corner, and go up the hip, or directly in the valley and go up the valley. I also navigate with an eye to plumbing vents or mechanical penetrations to grab if I start sliding.

You'd never find me in the field of a steep roof.

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Never thought to hook the corner and go up the hip. I'll have to try that. Straddling the corner with the ladder will actually provide some lateral stability the way I imagine it.

I'll take a valley over a ridge any day. I don't like the straddle, because the rung will often hook up on the ridge at the center, ladder rails not quite touching the gutters. If the rails are unstable, the feet can slip.

Firemen take ladder safety training. They always have 3 rungs above the gutter. That's your handle for coming down. They always tie the ladder. Hook the ladder to the gutter with a bungy cord. With 2 or 3 rungs up, you can grip the top of the ladder while you are still well away from the edge.

Little Giant type ladders are harder to get onto because of the spread. There are handle extension accessories you can buy for that, then you step over the middle with the top rung at the eave.

That house in the pics, I'd take pictures out the windows and from the top of my ladder at various locations. 8 or 10 pics will tell the tale.

Denny, you need sticky boots, a Spiderman outfit and some sticky netting. [:)]

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Never thought to hook the corner and go up the hip. I'll have to try that. Straddling the corner with the ladder will actually provide some lateral stability the way I imagine it.

It works. Or, you can do it wrong like Kogel said, or do it right. Tie it off before you even get on it. I carry a couple 20' nylon web blts with buckles and secure to something solid. I wouldn't trust my ass to a bungee cord.

It's not always best to have 3 rungs above the gutter. Sometimes it's better with only one. Yes, yes, the " experts yelp, but I've yet to see any expert actually traverse roofs for a living. I work for a lot of fireman. Chicago's finest. They are not necessarily the go to guys for ladder safety. As a start, physical conditioning is critical. Not much of that in the firehouse.

Every situation is custom. Figure out the best approach, plan, execute.

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Yeah, Kurt. If I had tied that ladder off then I could of handled a little bit of granule slide right down to the ladder, if that happened. As it was it looked pretty flimsy for anything other than a dainty straddle. And me being fresh off the back break deal. Not sure how well stickier shoes on loose granules would have worked out. Start going downhill with granules rolling off, not good. So, I high tailed it for the ridge to figure out another plan. I used to do a bunch of rock climbing in another life.

Think how stupid I would had felt going back down that valley and biting out, again! Bad enough to have gone up it.

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My wife just said, " Did you say all the stuff she has done for me while I have been screwing around trying to get this gig working"?

P.S. I had the easiest house to inspect yet yesterday. 1600 sq ft on a slab with electric baseboard heaters, 1989, newer roof well done, truss, bottom edges painted, and the Realtor and client went out into the garage and pushed the button. There happened to be a tarp type carport out front that had been tied off to the spring system for the vehicle door. The rope got all wound up and jerked the door off track. The owner just left for vacation. It was 80 miles from here and I just left the house and came home while they figured it out.

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