Lift 6: Lake Access At Last

Model: 4-Person
Track: 215' at 45°
Year: 2004

Prior to the installation of this lift the owners had never been to their lakefront! Not even once.

Now, a trip between the water and the cottage, about 140 feet of vertical rise, takes less than four peaceful minutes, offers a spectacular view of the forest, cliff, and lake, and gives the riders the time to enjoy it.

After we finished building the lift the property, which had been listed on the real estate market for years, sold.


The upper station is just off the parking area and high off the water. The first 30' of track are nearly on the ground but then the ground falls away and the next 160' of track is nearly 20' off the ground.

Looking down the track to the lower station.

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Although the middle 160 feet are about 20 feet off the ground, the structure is so steady that even people with a fear of heights quickly find themselves feeling safe and at ease. The lift is also safe to use in the winter for snowmobile, cross country skiing, and ice fishing. It's also difficult to see the lift from the water, in the summertime the leaves hide it almost completely. It's actually more visible in the photo than it is in real life, probably because the leaves are moving and attract the eye.


The lower station nestles between rocks and trees. From there it's 6 steps to the path to the water. We opted for landing a little higher rather than cutting the tree and having the lift reach a little further.

This was our first lift built with our brand new track mounted hoist which we called the "Installator". John first thought of the concept after just a few days of building lifts for The Canadian Hillside Elevator Corporation in 2003. After dreaming up numerous iterations, getting ever simpler and simpler, he came up with this design and we built it for this lift. (Sadly, no pictures remain. We've build two more since then, one for single-pitch and one for 2-pitch track.)

One of the interesting things about the Installator was that it forced us to build the lift from the top down, not from the bottom up as we'd always done, so not only did we have a new machine, we had a whole new lift building procedure.

We located the top most 20 foot section of track so the door of the car in top station would be where the gate in the platform need to be and, using a laser beam aligned to the track, we aligned it to a target set at the bottom so, in the lower station, the car door would be where it needed to be.

With that first section hard welded onto it's legs and braces, we build a second 10 foot section of track, aimed at the same target, which took us just over the edge of a nearly 20 foot drop-off! Then we installed the motor, gearbox, winch, control system, and Installator and fired it up. It worked just as imagined.

We'd build 20-foot sections of track on top of the first 30 feet, carry them to the end of the track with the Installator, lower and bolt them into position, and add legs and braces to support them, aligned them with the laser, and hard weld them into place. We even used the new track sections as super secure scaffolding to work from.

There is no way we could have built this lift without that hoist.

And we've never built from the bottom up since then.

The new owners of the property, and the lift, said:

“We would not have bought this property without the lift because it makes it possible to get to the water. Stairs just would not have worked for us.”