Deciduous Trees

These are trees that are generally thought of as broadleaf trees and, in the temperate regions, they lose their foliage in the winter. They tend to have broader tops than conifers. Occasionally their trunks will have divided into two or more main leaders. It is not uncommon for lateral limbs to be trunk-like as well. If a deciduous tree has grown in the open, without competition from other trees, it will tend to be broader and to limb out closer to the ground than the same species growing in a...

What makes a good climbing tree

The perfect tree Maybe the tree that is perfect for everybody is out there somewhere, but it is more likely that everyone's idea of perfect is going to be different. For someone in the Southeast a big live oak or Australian pine might fit the description. It would be hard to imagine a better tree to climb than some of the big redwoods in California, and the old growth conifers in the Pacific Northwest are pretty dramatic. In the Midwest we have big beech, oak, pine and hemlock, as well as many...

Descending Device

Descending devices (also called belay rappel devices) are designed to create friction on the rope during a rappel, so that the descent can be easily controlled. They are not required in double rope descents as the friction is provided by the knot. If you are single rope climbing though it is a necessary piece of gear. The simplest and most readily available is the figure eight although the number and variety of descending devices is truly astonishing. The figure eight is shown below in the most...

Fear Climbing Trees

Because we are generally high above the ground and in spite of the fact that we are tied to the tree, there is usually some degree of dealing with our psychological limitations. Don't feel embarrassed of being feaiful the first few times that you climb. Fear is a good thing. It is the body's natural response to a situation that it instinctively regards as potentially life threatening. It supercharges the senses and heightens your awareness of everything going on around you. It is a part of why...

What is Recreational Tree Climbing

Frequently, the first response when someone finds out that you climb trees is something like I used to climb trees when I was a kid. Although that is a form of recreational tree climbing, our sport differs from that general concept in two ways 1) we use ropes and harnesses to protect ourselves from falling and 2) the first limbs of most of the trees that we climb are too high for accessed fi-om the ground without the use of ropes. Recreational tree climbing comes directly fi-om the art of...

Carabiners

These marvelous little pieces of gear are aluminum or steel snap links used to attach the rope to the saddle and in general for attaching things to other things. While they are not the only piece of hardware that will work, they are far handier than the steel screw links sometimes used in their place. There are two main types of carabiners. These are locking and non-locking. You will need a minimum of two locking carabiners, one for each end of the climbing rope. The best carabiners for this...

The Twohanded Throw

There is another way to throw the shot pouch that some people may find easier. That is the two handed throw. After you have attached the shot pouch to the throw line, fold the line where you would have tied the slip knot, forming a bight in the throw line, and pass the bight again through the ring on the shot pouch. Now you have a loop coming out of one side of the ring and the rest of the throw line coming out the other side. Grasp the loop in one hand and the throw line on the other side of...

Authors Note

Recreational tree climbing is in its infancy. We are still at the stage where - when you tell someone that you've been climbing a tree - that they look at you with an expression usually reserved for small, mud covered children, Alzheimer's patients and the mentally deranged and say something like Really Their inflection implying thorough disbelief, as if you had told them that you are really from a planet over in the next solar system. This is especially so if you are old enough to know better....

Changing anchors in the descent

Few trees in the east are tall enough to require switching anchors on a single rope descent if your rope is 150 feet long. Switching anchors during a double rope descend is pretty common though. Descending double rope anchor changes are done just like anchor changes done while going up. If however, you find yourself having to change anchors in the middle of a single rope descent, this is the procedure Attach your throw line to the anchor carabiner in order to pull it down after your next anchor...

How to Identify a Good Anchor Limb

What are good limbs to set your anchors on and what are not Most live limbs over four inches in diameter are good. As with all rules though, there are exceptions. These are the things to consider when selecting your anchor 1. What species is the tree Limbs as small as three inches in diameter can usually be used for anchors in hardwoods like oak and beech. Softer wooded trees require a larger limb than 4 inches for safe anchoring. Leam your tree species. 2. What type of anchor are you using If...

Bark Protectors

Bark Protectors are slipped onto the rope at the beginning of a climb and go over the limb in double rope climbing to protect the tree from rope bum and minimize wear on the rope. They also keep pitch out of the rope when climbing in some of the conifers that produce large quantities of the substance. Bark protectors also called cambium savers and sometimes, simply, sleeves are just sleeves made out of strips of leather about 4 or 5 inches wide and about 11 2 feet long. They are folded...

What Are The Clips Called That Connect To The Splittail For Tree Climbers

Bark protectors - Leather tubes that surround the rope where it crosses a limb to protect the tree from friction. Descending device - a device used to descend along a rope. Double Rope technique- a type of ascending and descending where the rope goes over a limb and back to the climber. Double Split-tail - same as the Split-tail except doubled one for each end of the rope. Figure-8 - either a knot or a type of descending device. Friction knot - any knot whose purpose is to create friction as an...

Sources Information

PO Box 5588, Atlanta, GA 31107-5588 Telephone 404-377-31.50 A membership will cost you 20 individual or 35 family and will get you an introductory newsletter that has a ton of information as well as two or three newsletters a year. http www.treeclimbing.com John Gathright is the dynamo behind this one. John lives in a miso barrel tree house pictures on the site and uses tree climbing in his work with youth and disabled people. Not only is the site fascinating, it is inspirational http...

Stuck rope

Occasionally, when you use an anchor limb with a bit too narrow of an angle, your knot will get stuck in the crotch when you tiy to remove your anchor. If you know this is a likelihood, you can minimize the chance of it happening by tying a slip knot in the end of the rope. Make sure the knot unties from the part of the rope that you will be pulling down on. This way, if it does get stuck in the crotch, a sharp pull should untie the knot and free the rope. You may have to sacrifice your leather...

Gloves

You will probably want to consider wearing a pair of gloves while you climb. Gloves are especially important when you are friction hitch climbing or rappelling. The type of glove you carry will be determined by the type of climbing you favor. During friction hitch climbing, you need to maximize your grip on the rope as you ascend. A good glove for this is the cotton work glove with the rubberized surface. These are inexpensive and readily available from most hardware stores, lumber companies...

Coniferous Trees

Conifers are generally regarded as evergreens. They are trees that form cones hence the name and their leaves are needlelike or scalelike. They tend to have only one main leader, rarely more. The lateral limbs tending to be significantly smaller in diameter than the adjacent trunk, and grow out, or out and down rather than generally upward as is common in deciduous trees. This characteristic of having one leader frequently makes it possible to ascend all the way to the extreme top of some of...

Advancing the Rope

If you want to go beyond the first limb, it is necessary to understand the principles involved in advancing your rope. In tree climbing, every time you set another anchor above the one that is supporting you, it is referred to as advancing that you are on to the next anchor limb. You then proceed exactly as you would if you were on the ground starting your first pitch. For some reason, this seems to be a hard thing for some newcomers to get a handle on until it is tried, but it is as simple as...

Access Public Lands

It is unfortunate but tine that, in human nature, whatever one person does, someone else will have an objection to. Anything that is different is viewed as a threat by somebody. Tree climbing is nearly always perceived as different. Since it is not widely understood, it is likely to be regarded with suspicion. Although most places don't have specific regulations forbidding tree climbing, people who are in control of public lands where you are likely to find nice climbing trees, are just as...

Shot Pouch

This is a small nylon bag, filled with lead shot. A steel ring is sewn at the top for attaching the lines and ropes. It can weigh from 12 to 20 ounces. What weight you should use depends upon several factors how high do you have to throw how much brush is there in the tree to get hung up on and how rough is the bark. Most people will be able to throw the lighter bags higher than the heavier bags. Twelve or fourteen ounce are good weights to start with. It is usually a good idea to have an extra...

Munter Hitch

This is not really a knot but a running twist in the rope that is used as a substitute for a descending device should you drop or forget to carry yours while single rope climbing. It simply provides friction by running the rope over itself and the carabiner. It is veiy effective but tends to put a lot of twists in the rope. This knot is used whenever a midline loop is needed. I use it primarily to form the loop in the center of a double split-tail Similar knots Figure-8 on a bight Care of...

The Double Splittail

There is a refinement on the double rope technique that allows anchors to be switched without necessitating that your Blake's hitch be untied at eveiy anchor change. It is called the double split-tail. For this a separate piece of climbing rope 8-10 feet long is doubled and a loop-forming knot is tied in the center of the piece of rope The knot can be either a figure eight on a bight or, preferably, a butterfly knot p.42 . The loop created by this knot is hooked directly into the delta ring of...

Limb Walking and Tree Surfing

Limb walking is moving out to the ends of limbs. It is accomplished by setting an anchor high in the tree and descending to the limb on which you would like to walk. This is best done on a double rope because of the extra level of control it gives. It is possible to go quite far out on a limb anchored this way. And, if the way is clear of obstmctions, the swing back to the trunk or to other limbs can be lots of fun. Look for limbs that have natural seats near their ends, they move around in a...

Rope

The preferred rope for the friction knot climbing double rope climbing emphasized in this manual is made specifically for arborists. This rope is made to accommodate two of the factors needed for the technique involved. It is flexible enough to form the friction knots. And it stands up to the heat generated by the use of the friction knots better than other types of climbing ropes. If you will be climbing using only the single rope technique SRT , the static climbing rope used for caving and...

Attaching the Climbing Rope

Once you get the throw line over the limb, undo the shot pouch from the throw line, clip the shot pouch to your saddle. Attach the end of the throw line to the end of the climbing line. This can be done one of two ways either with a series of half-hitches as shown at the right or by clipping a carabiner between the loop on the end of the throw line and a loop on the end of the climbing rope. Use the first type of attachment if you are placing the rope in a narrow crotch or if you are using a...

The Blakes Hitch

This is the best friction knot for double rope climbing. It ties easily, holds well while still sliding upwards easily, yet it is easy to descend on by simply applying light, downward pressure to the top of the knot. Similar knots Tautline Hitch The Blake's Hitch is tied as follows Using the bridge the long tail of rope above the figure-8 on a bight attached to your saddle put four wraps over the Hauling part of the rope, wrapping up the rope. Bring the tail of the rope over the bridge and...

Slip Knot or Slippery Knot

This is the knot used for getting the leather sleeves into the tree and, occasionally, for getting a rope down from an anchor limb whose angle is narrow enough that you think your knot may jam rather than pass through. Note that the knot can be untied by pulling on one of the ends of the rope coming out of it. When using the knot for placing a friction sleeve, the part of the rope below the knot should be the part that is pulled on to untie the knot. When using it as a measure to keep from...

Single Rope Climbing

Note I discourage beginning climbers from using this method of ascent without the presence of an experienced climber as the switch from ascending to descending rappelling poses some potential dangers. I discuss it here only to allow the reader to see how it works. Blake's Hitch currently being used to climb. Darker rope is the Double split-tail Blake's Hitch on the other end of the same rope ready for use on the next anchor. In this type of ascent, the rope is put over the limb, a loop is tied...

Single Rope Technique

Note Again, this step has the potential of being confusing when you are in the tree. If you have never done this before, find someone who has experience and get their help The following instructions are for your information only and not intended as a substitute for an experienced teacher To descend on a single rope, the ascending devices need to be changed for some type of descending device. The easiestplace to set this up is from a comfortable limb. Ideally, the limb would be just below the...

Friction Hitch or Double Rope Climbing

Friction Hitch

This is the setup for double rope climbing. Because the terminology is somewhat confusing, we will rename some of these things to make it easier to follow. The running part will be called the hanging part since you are hanging on that part . The standing part we will refer to as the Hauling part since that is the part you haul on. The tail of rope that the Blake's Hitch is tied in will remain the bridge. To climb, clip your locking carabiner between your...

Attaching Bark Protectors

You will need to put a leather bark protector on the rope where the rope passes over the limb if you are going to be climbing on a double rope. Put the end of the rope through the sleeve and pull a length of rope through it approximately equal to the distance to the limb. Tie a slip knot in the rope just below the sleeve and, using the other end of the rope, pull the sleeve up until it is on the limb. Pull down on both ends of the rope and the slip knot should come untied and leave you ready to...

Canopy Camping

When Tom Ness and Sophia Sparks of New Tribe invented the Treeboat, they opened up a whole new world for camping. The Treeboat is a four point suspension hammock that is made for use in the tree. There are few places that can compare with the top of a tree for taking a nap or spending the night. The gentle movement of the branches and the forest sounds below you and around you can transport you to nirvana. It is important to remember though, to always be tied in to the tree when you are napping...

Double Rope Technique

Place one hand on top of the Blake's Hitch and the other hand on the hauling part of the rope below the Blake's Hitch. Apply slight pressure to the top of the Blake's Hitch and you will descend. The hand on the hauling pail of the rope under the Blake's hitch, acts as an emergency brake. The more pressure you apply to the top of the knot, the faster you will descend. Remember, the hauling part of the rope will actually be moving UP when you are descending...

The Rope Throw

Rope And Tree Climbing

Occasionally, you will want to get the rope over a branch that is fairly near overhead. This can be accomplished without using the throw line. If the end of your climbing rope has a knot on a bight, clip your throw bag to it using a carabiner. If it has no knot as yet, place the end of the rope through the ring on the throw bag and tie an overhand knot to keep the throw bag from sliding off. Grasp the rope a couple of feet above the throw bag and gather enough rope to reach the limb in small...