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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:I've never used stilts, partly because of the safety issues (falling from great heights=potential broken wrists etc) and because of the risk of idiots knocking you over and leaving you in a vulnerable position (on the ground with big unwieldy objects strapped to your legs).

I've been considering getting some as there's plenty of walkabout work available here for walkabout stilters, and am trying to get some realistic idea of how safe/unsafe stilting is.

Now, to an extent, everything we do is risky; I'm fully aware of that- nothing is 100% safe.

However, personally I like to set limits, for example, i'm totally happy to spin/juggle fire (with some sensible safety precautions), but I will never fire breathe.

I set those limits according to knowledge gleaned either from my experince, other peoples experience, or research.

So I'm asking for experienced stilt walkers to give their opinions on how safe/risky stilting is.

I see the main risks as being

1. falls which break wrists etc

and

2. idiotic behaviour from people at gigs, eg drunks at festivals etc

here's a couple of quotes from this page- http://www.performers.net/forums/showthread.php?s=5c2fb9d227eb7c346e7dd7de2bbdd63d&threadid=1790
br>
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a. "I know a former RBBB clown who slipped on some tranny oil and broke his wrist so bad that it is now "frozen". No longer can he bend his wrist. A bit tough on a juggler I would think.

So take care.

Walking tall, and staying upright, well most of the time!"

b. "i suffered from a serious fall in colorado,breaking both arms and wrist's,very painful and expensive,so yesyesyes,to all wear pads! use spotters,wrist braces and anything else you can think of,the cost of medical treatment, and lost wages is more than a few pads and caution. be safe out there, oh you crazy kids!"


--------------------------------

Everything I do (circus skill workshops, craft/arts workshops, most of my hobbies, even unicycling) requires intact arms/wrists, and, if there is a serious risk of breakage then I'm really not up for stilting.

As well as stilters opinions, I'd be especially interested in stories of people who have fallen, and stories of people who've done loads of stilting and never been hurt.

Cheers,

Dave.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted: Written by: Blueberry


I think the advantage of droping to the knees when done properly is that as you lean back bending from the knees you fall alot slower. But i find even if you do this you should still try and minimise the complete impact on you knees, ie catch some of your fall with a push up once you get close to the ground.



Yes, that is what I was trying to say. I have heard that some favour twisting and falling on your side, but I have tried that and even on low stilts such as 18inch, it hurt and I suffered a bruised lower rib that took weeks to heal. The main point though is to make sure that you do not try to protect yourself by breaking the fall with your hands, as at least you may sprain your wrists, and you may break either your wrists or your collar bones.


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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:Simply put, fall through your knees, continue with a forward motion, arresting your residual momentum with your forearms (not your hands or wrists) thus preventing you headbutting the ground, final resting postion should be prone, practise this until you have it well rehearsed. dropping onto your knees then sitting back is potentially very damaging to the hips,

professional stilt walker

mark


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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted:It has been very frosty for some days so looking for adventure, I went to a flat area I know of where there is often smooth sheet ice. The site is a large ash carpark and I was pleased to find the ice there as expected. Getting up on the 20inch pegs with the new mountain bike tyre feet, I set off onto the ice and promptly fell flat. Using my car to get me upright again, I tried again using very short steps to keep the stilts vertical, but afer only about 4 steps I went down again. I then took off the bike tyre feet and went back to the quad-skate toe stops. I set off onto the sheet ice again using very short steps and managed about 30 steps before a gust of wind sent me flying. After a long crawl back to the car, I tried that again and managed to get right across the ice to safety. Coming back to the car I had gone about 20 steps when either through loss of concentration or a particularly slippery bit I fell yet again. Enough for there today. The result of that adventure is that although bike tyre feet may be good on mud they are impossible on ice. I must devise a way of changing the feet to suit the terrain about to be walked. Stats for today.

After that adventure, I then went back to my old hill, leaving the quad-skate toe stops on the feet. I found while walking my route the frost had made the path surface hard but with sticky mud just under the surface. I put on the stilts and set off down this very steepest of hills, finding the grip quite good with only very gentle attempted launchings. I got to the point of my heavy fall 2 months ago and the adrenalin started pumping and apprehension set in. Very gently I placed the stilts going down sideways as before as it is far too steep to try going down forwards. Suddenly the lower stilt launched down the hill and I staggered, arms flailing wildly to try and stay upright, but I was unable to control the slide and had to drop onto my knees. Using a nearby tree, I got vertical again and continued down the hill avoiding the place where I fell. With my heart pumping hard and whole body shaking gently, placing the stilts safely was very difficult. After several more "nearly but not quite" moments I reached the bottom, and set off back up the hill. All went well until I reached the spot where I fell and I found that the spot was actually so steep that it was unstiltable and placing a stilt anywhere on the path was causing a launching. So I avoided the area and went up the grass, then back onto the path and back to the top.
A great day at 2 different sites with 2 different obstacles. I really enjoyed the adventures. Total time up high about 2 hours. 6 falls but no injury. Falling by dropping onto my knees is by far the easiest and least damaging


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Fire_Moose
SILVER Member since May 2007

Fire_Moose

Elusive and Bearded
Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA

Total posts: 3597
Posted:yer crazy man. Welcome to hop.

O.B.E.S.E.

Owned by Mynci!

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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted: Written by: Poje


yer crazy man. Welcome to hop.



Yup, that is one of the names I have been called. Others include eccentric, mad, stupid, idiotic, but I enjoy what I do and look forward after each outing to the next time I can go looking for adventure and danger.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my post


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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted:I recently took delivery of a new pair of wooden peg stilts, this time 24inches high with my foot over the stilt instead of hanging off the side. I am thinking that this will give me better balance and adhesion. However when they arrived I found that the stilt leg is knot free hard wood and is 30mm square. Now I am used to 50mm square or 40mm dia alum tube. I have been out on these new ones for the first time today. I was amazed how much more concentration I need to stay vertical without wobbling with this slightly smaller stilt foot.
After about half an hour on smooth concrete, adjusting straps and foot placing, found what I thought was the best position and screwed my boots onto the footplate. I then practiced for another half hour on dry smooth concrete until I felt comfortable, then headed off for the mud and hills.


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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted:After a few days of snow, now melted, my favourite path was very greasy. I set off along the level only to have a major slide after about 20ft and caused my first fall of the day. Having got vertical again, I tried again, trying to keep the stilts on the very narrow path which is about 6 inches wide mud with grassy boarders. The path again got the better of me after only 4 steps and I found myself on the ground again. My 3rd attempt got me to the end of the path to the point where the steep hill starts after several anxious moments, only to find that while turning round I had a major sinking, and the silt would not come out the ground. I then had a couple of minutes extreme difficulty trying to maintain balance while I took the other stilt off which brought me level with the sunk stilt. Having pulled the sunk one out of the ground, I leant against a tree while I put them on again.
Setting off back to the other end of the path, I had almost made it when an enormous slide sent me flying again. Enough for today, I must wait for the ground to dry out a bit.
Stats for today. About 90 minutes on stilts. 3 falls, one involuntary dismount and a steep leaning curve - no injuries.
I am already longing for my next outing.


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:lol

off road stilting.

I have never used metal stilts and have only used the wooden ones you have described, so I imagine our positions would be quite reversed were I to get the kind you are used to.
Do you know what kind of wood yours are?
My brother and I are embroiled in a debate in different kinds to try with the new sets we are about to make.

I can honestly say, I've never wanted, nor thought to, stilt in mud. Very brave indeed! lol


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted: Written by :Pele


lol

off road stilting.

I have never used metal stilts and have only used the wooden ones you have described, so I imagine our positions would be quite reversed were I to get the kind you are used to.
Do you know what kind of wood yours are?
My brother and I are embroiled in a debate in different kinds to try with the new sets we are about to make.

I can honestly say, I've never wanted, nor thought to, stilt in mud. Very brave indeed! lol



I use hard wood and knot free (knots will fail without warning and can cause a nasty fall) for the poles and 15mm plywood for the footrest and supports. The hardwood poles are only 30mm square, so are quite light. Since a friend made them for me I do not know what kind of hardwood he used.


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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted:I was out again on Monday after being off stilts for 3 weeks due to holidays. I went to one of my favourite haunts at Bowlees in Teesdale. I got there early (about 6am) to avoid the dog walkers. Not having been uphigh for a while, I put on my 20inch pegs first and found I was feeling very good. I set off along the path, down one steep path, along about 400 yds of mud & bared rock both of which were slippery but not much of a problem. I then stilted up the 40 steps that had given me problems on an earlier occasion, but this time stopped to catch my breath every 10 steps. I continued along the path and through the gate with the strong spring that nearly caught me out last time. Along another 200 yds of path before reaching the uneven crazy-paving made with different types of smooth rock. I stood and pondered for a couple of minutes then thought "Its now or never" and I set off along this more difficult path. It rises then falls, followed by a couple of narrow rocky/muddy steps then gets narrow with a shear 6ft drop into the river if I get it wrong. Then there are several narrow & slippery rocky steps up before the final 100yds to the end of the path at a spectacular water fall. The last 30yds or so are lethal with the spray from the waterfall keeping everything slimy. I took my time choosing each step with care, but still having some anxious moments with my stilts sliding around very close to a sudden drop into the river. I eventually arrived at the end of the path and took a rest sitting on the wall before attempting the return trip.
Going back I found that going down these narrow rocky steps was far more difficult than going up them, and it took all my skill and courage to avoid falling in the river. By the time I got back to the smooth path, my heart was racing. I took it gently back to the top of the 40 steps. With having nothing to hold onto I turned side on so that my left stilt led the way and I went down the flight of steps sideways ( I must try and film this someday). There were several moments when I almost lost it, but I worked hard to stay vertical as I would not like to fall on steps. I had to take frequent rests as going down steps is more difficult/dangerous/unpredictable than going up. Once at the bottom, I made my way back to my car.
I then put on my new 2ft wooden pegs and when I stood up it felt as if I had never been on stilts before, such was the different balance required. I walked on the spot, lifting my knees high for a while until I felt confident then set off up the sloping car-park (see video "New Stilts" on youtube having done a search for "lampwort"). At the top I turned and came back to the car. I did this trip of about 80yds return several times while getting used to the new stilts, then attempted the steep, slippery/rocky path away from the car (also on the video). Going down was not too difficult. Even the steepest bit at the top caused very little worry, but coming back up, it was then raining and the rocky surface had become very slippery. When I got to the steepest part, I had to step backwards several times to maintain balance before aquiring the confidence to attack it and I was glad to reach the top.
Total time up high nearly 3 hours. No falls but many near ones

I then drove to my other favourite place in Muggleswick Woods. It was now raining quite hard. Put on my 20inch pegs, and set off across the road, over the stile and onto the first part of the the path that leads to the very steep hill where I had my bad fall last year. As soon as I got onto the hill, I found that the rain had made everything extremely slippery and I had only done 3 very short steps before I was on the ground. Getting vertical again, I was still feeling good and I tried again using even shorter steps and stepping sideways so I could see where I was planting my stilts. With my heart racing I went down the hill very, very carefully and gently with both stilts trying to launch with every movement. Just where I had my bad fall, both stilts launched together and I landed heavily on my knees, but no damage done. I waited a while to catch my breath, used a nearby tree to get vertical again, and tried again, this time successfully getting to the bottom of the hill. Coming back up the hill it was even more slippery and I fell 8 times before getting back to the car, where I decided I was getting tired, so I then went home
Time uphigh at Muggleswick about an hour. 10 falls no injuries

On Friday I intend to try the 2ft ones and the 3ft ones on the 40 step staircase. Watch this space.


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Heulyn


Heulyn

member
Location: Wales

Total posts: 30
Posted:I had my very first stilting experience yesterday, and I must say, I was terrified.
I was shaking and sweating like crazy, so once I got down, I was determind never to get back up.
BUT now I think I'll give it another go.
Watch this space.... Unless I break my wrists!
xx


Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted:Now you have been uphigh, welcome to the world of stilting. Next time you go stilting remember to use skateboarders kneepads, then find some soft ground and practice falling. Your body needs this so it knows how to react when you have a real fall.
Then get high as often as you can and enjoy it.


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lampwortroy


newbie
Location: Durham City, England, UK

Total posts: 32
Posted:Originally Posted By: lampwortroyI was out again on Monday after being off stilts for 3 weeks due to holidays. I went to one of my favourite haunts at Bowlees in Teesdale.

On Friday I intend to try the 2ft ones and the 3ft ones on the 40 step staircase. Watch this space.

You can find my reports under "Cross Country Stilting"
Enjoy


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