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Photographs of an Excavator Climbing a Tower

Summary:
Photographs circulating via email and online appear to show an excavator climbing a specially constructed tower (Full commentary below).



Status:
Unsubstantiated

Example:(Submitted, January 2009)
Subject: Fw: Excavator Climbs Pole

Hydraulics, guts and a good operator !

This tower was built to show off the physical power of the excavator.

Excavator Climbing Tower 1 Excavator Climbing Tower 2

Excavator Climbing Tower 3 Excavator Climbing Tower 4




Commentary:
This series of images apparently show a track excavator climbing a purpose-built tower using only "hydraulics, guts and a good operator". The images have generated considerable online debate with some commentators maintaining that the rather amazing feat would indeed be possible due to the specialised climbing tower used while others are convinced that the images have been "photoshopped" and do not depict a real event.

It appears that the tower allows the operator to first wedge the excavator's boom plate into a specially constructed step, hoist the machine up with the secured boom, and then wedge the machine's tracks into a step. Once the tracks are securely wedged, the operator can then release the boom, and repeat the whole procedure until the top of the tower is finally reached. Two other photographs available online (Image 1) ( Image 2) appear to show a very similar stunt at night and, possibly, in a different location. This suggests that the stunt really happened and is not the result of clever image manipulation.

So far, I have been unable to conclusively nail down the exact origin or status of the images. However, several commentators recall seeing a similar stunt aired on the German TV show Wetten dass..? back in 1997. What do you think? Real or fake? Do you know where or when the photographs were taken?



References:
TractorByNet Forum Post
Amazing climbing excavator stunt!
Wetten, dass..?

Last updated: 30th January 2009
First published: 30th January 2009

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen