Northwest Wanderings: salute to a steeplejack
50th in an occasional series.
Seattle Times staff photographer
50th in an occasional series
It's lonely at the top.
And that's just the way steeplejack Frank Frisch prefers it, having shimmied four stories up a flagpole on top of a seven-story building in South Lake Union.
"I like doing something not many people can do," says Frisch, 68.
He loves the challenge and the mind game required for the task of replacing a broken halyard.
"I'm climbing the pole, not the building, I try to look just at the pole. Everything else is a distraction."
He's basically self-taught after his brother bought a flag company three decades ago.
Frisch uses a harness and two knotted ropes tied around the pole. A climber showed him proper knots, and the self-described jack-of-all-trades went from commodity trading to flagpole fixing.
Like a caterpillar, he inches to the top.
His highest climb to fix a pulley system was on a 90-foot pole in Chicago.
Frisch quotes John F. Kennedy and relates it to his work, "We choose to go to the moon, not because it's easy, but because it's hard."
He hoists his bucket of tools to the top, installs a new halyard and climbs down after almost three hours.
"Good deal, good job," he says to himself. "Mission accomplished."
Alan Berner: 206-464-8133 or firstname.lastname@example.org