Stripping & painting tall fluted columns: any suggestions?

I have a co-worker (independently wealthy but not of unlimited means) who owns a century old mansion that he’s slowly restoring as a B&B. The mansion (which is brick) has 2 fluted columns in front, each about 20 feet tall, and there’s no balcony (important because it means you can’t paint the columns from one). Because he’s spent a fortune on the structural repairs he’s trying to do the painting himself but says the columns are an absolute nightmare- using a tall ladder is of course dangerous to begin with, and then it has to be constantly repositioned.

He asked me to research if there’s any kind of device that will allow you to strip and paint within the grooves, preferably some kind of telescoping or extendable tool that can be used while standing on the ground or in an upper floor window. I’ve done some basic googling but haven’t found anything exactly like what he’s talking about, at least not for that height.

Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?
The only personal observations I’ve had that’s relevant was an antebellum mansion I used to pass on my way to work. When it was being restored the columns were actually taken off of the house, stripped/painted/repaired (and in a couple of cases replaced), and then put back on, while a sort of telescoping jack device (that I’m sure has a name and that I’m guessing is a very expensive rental) propped up the porch. As mentioned this guy has already dropped a goldmine into the project and is tapped out so he wants to avoid professionals for anything he can do himself.

It ain’t going to happen. There’s no help for it but to either take the columns out temporarily, or to use a ladder or staging. Because these are tall columns, they probably can’t be dip-stripped, so you’re basically looking at using chemicals, heat, or scrapers/abrasives. And just so you know, each method is both better and worse than all the others.

I’ve seen tools at power plants for doing this with hard-to-reach places, where they essentially have a sandblaster on an extension tool, as well as a paint sprayer. However, I’m fairly sure you don’t want to sandblast the paint off the columns, so that’s a non-started.

I’m afraid that the best way is to just bite the bullet and use an extension ladder. a pole strap at the top of the ladder will secure the ladder to the column. He might be able to start at the top and adjust the ladder as he works his way down by sliding the pole strap down the column.

Me? I’d run down one side of a column, wait a couple of days, then turn the ladder 120 degrees and do a second run down, then do the last third of the column a couple of days later. Depending how the work is staggered, it could be done in a week.

I’d make sure that the columns are firmly attached to the house. It’s a 100 year old house, so they should be. A lot of the stuff nowadays could simply be architectural feature, not structural, and might not be able to support a ladder with someone on it.