ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – If he wanted to, Mike Zimmermann could get a great seat — free of charge — to watch the world champion St. Louis Cardinals play this summer.
A seat that would be guaranteed to be reserved for him any time he wanted.
It’s on the flagpole that sits high atop the Hyatt Regency at the Arch, nearly 20 stories above Memorial Drive downtown.
“You could watch a ballgame,” Zimmermann says. “You could see everything.”
On this Monday, Zimmermann has shimmied up the Hyatt flagpole to fix a snapped cable.
The wind’s blowing fairly hard, but Zimmermann — who works for Creve Coeur-based American Heritage — feels secure in his remote perch about 80-feet above the Hyatt’s roof.
“You see I’m wearing a harness,” he points out after climbing back down. “And I have two ropes that I tie on, one that goes to my feet and one that goes to my harness. I just slide one up and then slide the other one up.”
Besides, being a former engineer he knows that this particular pole can easily hold 250 pounds, sideways.
The Hyatt job is a walk in the park compared to one he had to tackle during the major ice-and-snowstorm that struck St. Louis about a year ago at this time.
Purina called saying that the rope used to raise the U.S. flag high atop their corporate headquarters along Chouteau had been ripped down during the storm, and it needed to be fixed ASAP.
Zimmermann was the man for the job, but it wasn’t easy.
“I had to crawl on my hands and knees across the roof on the ice,” as the winds ripped at him, Zimmermann says. “Then I had to climb a pole that was covered in ice, and I had to pry the flag off. It was frozen to the pole.”
Doesn’t he get scared dangling up there like that?
Any fear of heights at all?
“Not significantly,” he answers matter-of-factly.
Zimmermann figures the highest he’s been was on a pole atop a 400-foot building in San Diego.
He been at this for twenty years and now he’s the go-to guy in St. Louis when something high above the ground needs fixing.
“I just started doing this casually,” he says, “and in a few months everybody wanted me to climb their flagpoles.”
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