Inside the Story: A day in the life of a professional flag pole climber

Inside the Story: A day in the life of a professional flag pole climber

(KUTV) When it comes to odd jobs, Sterling Murdock may be near the top of that list. He's a climber, which doesn't sound that unusual until you hear what kind of climber he is. Murdock is a flagpole climber or repairman.

Why flag poles? For Murdock the answer is, "Why not?" He said as a kid he used to love climbing lampposts. Those lampposts have turned into flagpoles and now he gets paid to do what he loves.

"When I climbed lampposts as kid with my siblings, I never thought that it would become a job," Murdock laughed.

Murdock's big break came seven years ago when "Colonial Flag's" star climbing guru, Mike Larsen, retired. The Sandy company, which leads the nation in flags and flagpoles, posted an ad at a rock climbing gym and he applied.

"That was probably the weirdest resume I've ever written," Murdock remembered. Murdock got the job because of his years of climbing and his love of fixing things.

"I'm pretty handy and I'm not afraid to get up there and work," he explained.

Already this year Murdock has climbed some 200 poles across the valley. His highest climb so far is about 200-feet. That pole is located at the Miller Motorsports Park.

His secret, he said, is putting one foot in front of the other. And the further he goes up, the more and more Murdock feels at home.

"I don't get scared. Usually my head is pretty clear when I'm climbing," he said. "With climbing a flag pole I'm relying totally on my gear to stick to the rocks.It's all about having faith in your gear and knowing that you're safe."

But there is one thing that terrifies him-- lightning. He says he had a very close call with it when on an 80-foot pole.

"I didn't see lightning but I heard the thunder and I felt shocking and my arm hair was standing on end," he recounted. "I got down that pole in about 20 seconds."

He also has fallen asleep a couple of times while working on a pole for 10 hours. One time emergency crews showed up to see if he was okay and he had to tell them he was just taking a nap.

Murdock actually works as a private contractor for "Colonial Flags," so he also just takes on other flagpole climbing jobs. Right now he says the requests are starting to come in to hang Christmas lights on flagpoles.

To contact Sterling Murdock email him at <