The Right Man for the Job

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Photo courtesy of Mark Richey.

8/8/13 - Who do you call when the 292-foot-high wind turbine that powers your business needs cleaning? If you're Mark Richey, one of America's premier exploratory alpinists, you do the job yourself.

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Photo courtesy of Mark Richey.

Richey's architectural woodworking company in Newburyport, Massachusetts, installed the 600-kilowatt turbine in early 2009 to help power the manufacturing plant and offices. This week, the 55-year-old climber headed up the tower with rappelling and jugging gear to scrub the blades.

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Photo courtesy of Mark Richey.

Over a 30-plus-year climbing career, Richey has done numerous first ascents around the world, including, in 2011, the first ascent of 24,655-foot Saser Kangri II, then the second-highest unclimbed peak in the world, with Steve Swenson and Freddie Wilkinson. By comparison, a wind tower was child's play.