Those high-altitude window washers seem pretty radical. How can I get into this intriguing profession?
Those high-altitude window washers seem pretty radical. How can I get into this intriguing profession?—Chris Cunningham, High Park
Well, Spidey, it’s a small field. With just a handful of companies and only about 100 washers in town, breaking in can be tough. The intrepid high-altitude guys (and they’re all guys, by the way) are mostly European immigrants with alpine rigging skills—although past experience is not a prerequisite. The Construction Safety Association offers a three-day crash course covering the basics; those who can hack the heights graduate to informal apprenticeships with veteran wall crawlers. Keys to surviving the gig include mastering rope, rigging, and Davit arms (those cranelike contraptions that support the washer’s weight). You’ll also need the wherewithal to face such environmental rigours as rain and blustering winds. The ability to shoot webs from your wrists is a considerable asset.