Going Up is Easier then Coming Down

So today I found myself in a precarious situation atop a high pitched metal roof ----

In the morning light I stood my 17’ ladder up against the storm gutter (no other option) and scaled to the top sidestepping around the top of the ladder and onto a 5V crimp metal roof. Having strategically placed my ladder near the roof valley, I continued my ascent to the top of the roof without hesitation. — No Problem —

Coming down I realized that I had made a few crucial errors in judgement/ planning.

  1. Having already soaked my boots from the morning dew, I had forgotten that my new footwear was now deck shoes - nuff said

  2. Placement of the ladder seemed appropriate at first, but the 30" extension above the roof eave made it impossible to step over top of ladder and onto the rung

  3. Roof was steeper coming down then going up - I swear

  4. Stepping off a ladder onto a roof is a lot easier than stepping off a roof onto a ladder.

So there I am on all fours, butt to the ladder, with the whole world (purchaser & agent) pointing and whispering from their safe haven on the ground. Every attempt that I made to lift a foot and reach for the step was met with the agonizing realization that I was going to take out the gutter on my free fall to earth.

Note to self: “You lose Normal Force (friction) when the surface area is reduced.” (i.e. When you lift a foot, you lose footing.)

Well anyway - I was considering a controlled jump as opposed to a slip and splat type of thing. Problem is/was, it was a little high for me.

So anyway, I’m still up here on the roof if anyone is nearby and wants to lend a hand. J/K, I made it down eventually ---- But it was a close call!

Thanks for Listening


Glad you made it :slight_smile:

F-ing A time for a drone. I tell ya with my bad foot and now knee locking up and just going out roofs scare the hell out of me. Attics are no fun either. I think I am getting a little long in the tooth.

To many years of just going at life balls to the wall has taken it’s toll on my aging body. MRI for the knee scheduled for next Wednesday :frowning:

Be Safe.

Great story and very good writing. I like your style.

Congratulations on making it back.

You know, I wasnt going to comment on this, because while I am glad you made it down safely, your story is not a good one. It is a stupid one. What were you thinging going on a roof with the wrong shoes onto a metal roof with a slope that was dangerous to traverse,. You came within a half a second of possibly killing yourself, or injuring yourself to where you might have never walked again. We do not need to be the heros in this business. You just risked your life, and for what, $300.00 or $500.00. Sorry but that is just pain stupid.

Had you fallen do you have any idea the pain you would have caused, not to mention possible financial hardshiop to you and your family. You have no idea of how many peoples lives you affect until something like this happens,.And how do I know this. Because I had a one second lapse five years ago and almost ended my life. I spent almost 4 months in the hospital and another year recouperating. By the grace of God and with the help of fellow insptcors in my area we were able to get though and not go bankrupt.

If something is too dangerous just dont do it. Safety comes first. Do youreally think the client or real estate agent cares what happens to you. When I fell all the agent was interested in was getting her report so she could close. After the report was sent to her she never checked back to see how i was. If someone demands that you walk on a roof that is unsafe, hand them their check back and walk off the job. If you want to be the hero, you will eventually pay the consequenses.

You need a couple of Cadillacs

Bill, didn’t know you had that bad scene-glad you’re OK now.
I always watch my foot on EVERY step of the ladder.
Always in the front of my mind.
Doesn’t matter if it’s on a roof or just climbing into an attic.
Only 1 bad scene about 15 years ago. - I shouldn’t have gone on a very steep roof.
Everything was fine until it was time to get off.
I slipped… continually sliding down to the ladder area.
Luckily, my slip stopped right at the edge.
When I got down my jeans had a hole in them from the friction of the shingles, using my butt as the brake - phew!

We all do this most every day.
Got to never take anything for granted & realize how one little slip can kill you.

Yes I know… Pretty much what I said. The purpose of my post was to remind others that a temporary lapse in mental aptitude can potentially have severe ramifications.

I teach safety in all of my classes, mainly because of my own mistake. Too many inspectors have to be that guy that will risk it all for a client. You may get away with it 100 times but sooner or later a mistake will happen. And don’t think there will be any loyalty from your clients or realtors. You can be replaced and forgotten in two minutes.

Don’t be the hero. If it’s dangerous figure outcast to do it safely or walk away

I always try to make getting back onto the ladder the slowest, most concentrated part of my day. The roofer that taught me how to walk roofs has a zen quality about him and I hope some of that rubbed off on me.

I looked like a Sloth in slow motion getting on the ladder today.

LOL…I almost bit it one day getting on a 25 yr old 3-tab shingle roof that wasn’t that steep - 5/12. Granules were not adhering to those shingles at all…like walking on small marbles.

Rubber knee pads, and two Cadillacs (2’pieces of foam from old couch cushion, step or kneel on one and move the other to your next step) for steep roofs. Tie off ladder when ever possible, always descend roof above the tied off ladder. When I was young I did some absolutely craazy super dangerous crap on roofs. Also repelled for years and taught over 30 people how to repel with no accidents, even jumped out of perfectly good airplanes. These days I have a much greater respect for gravity! :wink: I am not anywhere near as comfortable with ladders like I used to be. Or just get a drone:D

Worth repeating!

Yes definitely a near appointment with disaster. Glad you’re safe Dennis. When I read these posts I’m glad I invested in the drone. I still climb some but there are those as Bill has said are not worth it at any cost. Thanks for posting your experience Dennis. Hopefully others heed the warning.


This is the reason I now use a drone - Best 1300.00 ever spent. No Job is worth killing yourself over.

Hey Jared!
As we were speaking the other day about the death of my drone, it was saved with the help of my assistant.
It was caught in a tree approx 30 high.
The control range is limited & when it got around 300 ft away, it got a mind of it’s own & had a “fly away”.
I know one guy it happened to but there were no trees around - it just kept on going until out of sight - gone!

Couldn’t see it in daytime, he went back 9:30 at night.
He told me he could see the white part with a flashlight.
He had to use the camera pole & stand on the top of his car to shake it out of the tree.

Been in the lake twice, caught in trees twice & still goes on - camera & all.

That Drone has taken one heck of a beating Marc. The only good thing is that once you get the hang of it I don’t think you’ll be flying it that far, unless you are inspecting in Le Lac or The Mar-a-Lago.