The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Forestry and Logging => Topic started by: crtreedude on September 05, 2004, 12:45:59 PM

Title: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 05, 2004, 12:45:59 PM
Does anyone have tree climbing experience?  I have been reading about different techniques and I have 6 years experience climbing rock, using harnesses ropes, etc. I also have had a ropes course in ascending and descending, but it is nothing like learning from a person who actually spends significant time in the harness.

I have purchased the right rope (static, not dynamic), ascenders, etc, but I am looking for some basic how-to.

I am not cutting limbs, etc at this period, but removing epiphytes from mature trees so that they do not become too heavy and fall. The Costa Ricans do it just by climbing the trees, but there is no way I am going to let someone do that without protection. I figure I can learn how - with my related experience in Rock Climbing, and then teach them also.

Any hints or ideas? I know how to ascend, descent, place protection, etc. What I am looking for is some of the things you learn the hard way.

Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: DanG on September 05, 2004, 08:49:16 PM
I can't tell you much about tree climbing, but I think you're on the right track by asking the question. I had a flight instructor, a long time ago, who told me, "Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long if you try to make all of'em yourself." ;) :D :D
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Oldtimer on September 05, 2004, 09:26:43 PM
Gosh. There'sa lot to know. Like a tree worker in a tree is only as good as his ground man. Like powerlines do not forgive a mistake.
Like knowing several key rope  knots, "working"knots in particular. Knowing what cuts to make,where. Like check everything three times, cut once.

Be careful, and remember it is all common sense, and gravity.

I know a man who climbed a tree, tied in ABOVE his intended cut, made the cut, and the top he cut out pulled him down after it. He actually tied in to the top  he was cutting off. He went 50 some feet down and broke both his legs at the knee, among other things. He can now bend his legs in the opposite direction like a bird, and walks like a rubber man. This same man sued his employer (Lucas Tree Experts Portland Maine) and was awarded a job as SAFETY  supervisor to the entire company in exchange for not pursuing legal options. One day after his agreed 10 year stint as SS was up,he was"downsized".  I swear this is a true story. The moral is: Be careful where you are, and where you are tied into a tree.

I also know of a local man who's saw kicked back while he was in a tree. It cut his throat, and he bled to death right there 30 feet up. This happened  to a very experienced treeclimber from Tuftonboro NH. I swear it too is a true story.

Be Careful!
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 06, 2004, 07:04:32 AM
Sounds a lot like rock climbing - your belayer had better be alert - if he is not, you replace him. Also, the knots are incredbily important, and from what I read, similar to tree climbing.

I am going to start low and easy - just like in rock climbing. Since I don't have anything to prove and no deadline, I will start with heights no more than about 20 feet.

Also, in Rock Climbing, you use double protection, or don't do it. Single protection means you are going to die some day.

There is neat saying in Rock climbing - "There are bold climbers and there are old climbers, but there are no bold old climbers."

So my plan is to start with trees that have lots of limbs, and are not that tall and clear the epiphites first on the lower limbs, then, as my technique improves, I will move to harder and harder trees - some the of trees go straight up to 80+ feet before the first limb! I'll probably get nose bleed from the altitude.

Fred
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: MemphisLogger on September 06, 2004, 07:32:07 AM
Fred,

Like you, I climbed rock before ever doing trees.

Despite many successful multi-pitch 5.11 ascents under my belt, I was still totally feaked out the first time I went higher than 80 ft in a tree swaying in a gentle breeze.

I've been using my Petzl ascenders and some modified crampons to climb and my old Chouinard harness to hold me, though I am shopping for a more comfartable sitting harness.

I usually freeclimb to set several straps and biners before hauling up the rope--you're right that a stiff-sheathed static rope is key in the tree.

Most of the pro arborists I know don't like to freeclimb, instead they use throw bags. One guy I know uses a capstan winch to haul up the climber once the rope is home.

I prefer to run one light rope on a pulley for sending the saw up and down (easier on the rope and puller) but use a stiff rope over a crotch to lower cut limbs (friction brake).

If you do get into cutting limbs, be sure to undercut them--I've suffered a couple of minor lacerations/bruises from limbs that didn't come off clean (swinging on a torn strap of bark and cambium on the uderside of the branch).  

Have fun and be safe!

Scott      
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 06, 2004, 08:26:18 AM
Thanks Scott,

I do have the throw weight, but also am planing to free climb a certain amount, with a belayer - or possibly a gri-gri.  

I am sure it will be much different, rock doesn't sway in the breeze much!  :D

I am moving slow in all of this, I am going to start recreational (cleaning epiphiates is an excuse probably but it does provide some serious value, the epiphiates definitely will drag down the trees eventually, I have some huge trees I do not want to be torn down by the weight)

Scott, about the only question I have is after the rope is thrown and you haul the static rope up, which method do you use? I have ascenders that work with a single rope, but I have also seen pursik knots using a double rope technique.

I assume that with the ascenders on single rope that one end of the rope is tied off to my harness via a biner (using the double 8 knot) and then with the other you place the ascenders, with foot loops and harness loop. I have some tubing for the rope so that it is not abraided on the limb (or the limb damaged) while I am going up.

Am I understanding the single rope technique correctly?

Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: leweee on September 06, 2004, 08:36:09 AM
crtreedude... Check out this forum http://www.arboristsite.com/
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 06, 2004, 09:04:37 AM
Nice site - much more reading to do!

Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Tom on September 06, 2004, 03:50:27 PM
I had a tree a climbing experience once. ;D

Went to the top of tall-l-l-l   Australian Pind, grabbed the top and jumped out.  Usually it would bend way over and we would hand-over-hand back to a stout part.  Somehow my hands came unattached and I went toward the ground like a flash.  I was hitting this branch and then that branch and turning this-a-way and then that-a-way and then sPlaT-t-t-t-t
.......flat on my back on the ground.   Couldn't breath.  lungs wouldn't work. Stars everywhere.

Finally I got it all back together again and took inventory.  Everything important seemed to be OK, so I went back up the tree.  I was real young and dumb, ya see? :D :D
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 06, 2004, 06:29:29 PM
I once was rock climbing, and doing a pitchout where the wall sloped back toward me at about 30%. Usually, when you are about to fall, you know it, but this time, I was pressing with both arms and legs, and one slide just a bit, the next thing you know I was 10 feet away from the slab in mid-air - scared me to death - thankfully I was in harness with rope AND my partner was ready, but boy, it scared both of us.

Before that happened, I toyed with the idea of someday free climbing, after that I realized you don't always know when you are about to go flying - now I am totally paranoid about safety. Life is too fun to die young (or semi-young in my case)
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: MemphisLogger on September 07, 2004, 07:15:17 AM
Fred,

I use mixed techniques . . .

Sometimes I'll tie in to one end of the rope and ascend the other with the ascenders but only on the static rope (12mm).

Sometimes I'll belay myself when "leading" (using the ascender) on the dynamic rope (11mm).

Sometimes, I forget to bring the ascender and I end up using prussiks.

As for falls, I pulled 2 cams out of a transverse crack on a 3 pitch climb in Yosemite once that cartwheeled me and left me hanging below my belay. I hit my head when I flipped and when my belayer called out, "Scott, are you OK?," I realized that my name must be Scott and that I had temporal amnesia. I finished the climb but had the amnesia for a few days after.

It's the strangest thing--I could remember all my schooling, technical knowledge, etc. but couldn't remember who I was or how I personally related to anything.      
 
- Scott
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 07, 2004, 07:23:29 AM
Pretty much what I thought, but since you don't get a lot of chances, I figured it would make sense to ask.

Well Scott, if you want want to climb in Costa Rica sometime, drop me a line, I will provide a place to stay and food to eat - and I have about 164 acres, and some very big trees.  Nothing like having someone show you the ropes.  :D

Fred
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Ianab on September 07, 2004, 07:33:53 AM
I dont know much about climbing, but when you epiphytes get to this stage... start thinking about logging the vines  :D
Rata vine growing on a Rimu tree, Egmont National Park NZ
(http://www.forestryforum.com/images/04_01_03/ianab_p1010174.jpg )

Ian
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 07, 2004, 07:39:56 AM
We have something called strangler figs, what happens is the birds grab some figs and fly to the top of another tree and eat the figs, the seeds from their poop (socially acceptable correction) stays on the leaves and the seeds germinate. It sends down roots, after a while, the entire tree is surrounded by the roots and the original tree is eventually squeezed to death, then the middle rots out and you are left with a very large trunk, totally hollow in the middle, some of them you could build a house in.

The wildlife love these things.

Fred
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Ianab on September 07, 2004, 08:10:49 AM
Sounds like a similar thing

The rata vine grows from windborne seeds in the tops of the old rimu. Roots reach down to the ground , wether the rimu dies of strangulation  or old age is debatable, but the rata vine can live on for 100s of years after the host tree is gone.
As you can imagine the rata wood is one of the toughest timbers around, green it is heavier than water, but is a real neat red/ purple colour
I need to find me a wind blown log to play with ;)

Ian
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 07, 2004, 08:37:57 AM
By the way,  just to be a pain, an epiphiate is not a vine - but you probably knew that. ::)
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 07, 2004, 08:42:19 AM
Some of the wood that loggers won't touch makes great furniture - as long as you are willing to work with it.

I can not wait for life to get a bit saner here (just moved in less than 2 months ago) so that I can start playing a little bit.

I am still planning on buying a portable sawmill about December / January, and then the fun really starts.
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Fla._Deadheader on September 07, 2004, 11:55:06 AM
Ya better get that mill ordered. I'm still planning on a visit in February. 8) ;D :D
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 07, 2004, 12:01:04 PM
You going tree climbing with us too?
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Fla._Deadheader on September 07, 2004, 12:36:02 PM
  Gave that up years ago. I can make a good groundhand, though.  My knees won't allow me to keep my balance anymore. I used to climb Radio Station towers and do maintenance work, and the towers that we used to build, to mount wind generators on.  Been up 265 feet from the surface and 115 feet below the surface, diving.  
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Kevin on September 07, 2004, 05:02:32 PM
You will most likely want to have more than one climbing rope.
The static rope is good for mechanical access but that's it.
If you take a fall you will want to be tied into a dynamic rope to absorb some of the shock otherwise your body will take the shock.
Get a copy of the Tree Climbers Companion by Jeff Jepson and The Fundamentals of General Tree Work by Gerald Beranek.
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: crtreedude on September 07, 2004, 08:09:58 PM
Thanks all - it seems like this is on track with what I have been thinking - Florida, you can come and watch me fall.  :D

I am sure the group will need a report. Thanks for the tip on the books and static line, I figured that was all the static line was good for since in rock climbing they emphasis over and over (and over and over....) that you should never climbing with static rope. If you fall on it from any height, you can break your back.

Straight up ascending though, there is no need to have any give. I have plenty dynamic rope from my rock climbing days.

Fred
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Kevin on September 07, 2004, 08:27:00 PM
Fred;
The static line is good for rigging also.
I use kermantle mostly for ascending with the Kong and Pantin.
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Jeff on September 08, 2004, 03:30:22 PM
Quote
Fred;
The static line is good for rigging also.
I use kermantle mostly for ascending with the Kong and Pantin.


Huh?
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Kevin on September 08, 2004, 03:51:26 PM
You're right, it's spelt wrong.

Kernmantle

Thanks.  ;D
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: leweee on September 08, 2004, 03:55:31 PM
Fla_Deadheader... Sounds like your a man of many UPS & DOWNS. :D   Couldn't resist that one.  ;D leweee :)
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Fla._Deadheader on September 09, 2004, 05:09:06 AM
Yeah, I used ta could do a lot more. Lately it's mostly down. ::) ;D
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: leweee on September 09, 2004, 11:03:54 AM
Oldtimer once told me "Old age  isn't kind" I'am at that age now were I believe him. :( Parts just don't work like they used to. Eyes, ,joints , etc....I'am learning to pace myself, things take longer to accomplish...but slow and steady wins the race. :)
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Stephen_Wiley on September 13, 2004, 09:44:03 PM
CR,

Climbing is only 1/3 of the knowledge involved in working in trees. The other 2/3's is knowing health and structural issues of the species you are climbing, specifically knowing the many ways a tree can structurally fail, recognizing suttle symptoms of bark, root and stem weaknesses, proper pruning techniques.

Kevin has recommended a couple of books good for the climbing aspect. But do not underestimate the potential of problems arising from the aforementioned. Make certain you have a basic understanding of root diseases, bark diseases (on more than one occasion I have rescued climbers for ignoring this) and other structural failure signs. Note branch ratio to trunk size can greatly determine a safe climb.  Also time of year (sap flow) can reduce the strength of branches.

Further, over thinning is just as harmful to tree health as is topping.

The more informed you are the better chance you will have of reducing risk to your health and the trees.

:P :P :P
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: farmerdoug on March 02, 2007, 11:05:20 PM
CRT,

Did you ever get around to climbing your trees?  I figure by now you have the locals swinging from the trees like tree monkeys. :D

Farmerdoug
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Kevin on March 03, 2007, 09:06:01 AM
Good response Stephen.
There are many experienced tree climbers that get hurt every year and we end up losing a few as well.
Listen to that gut feeling, if it doesn't feel right then it probably isn't safe.
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: Ed_K on March 03, 2007, 04:51:57 PM
 You can have everything right and the gut will still say no.Thats why I have all the right climbing gear stored in a duffel bag and don't climb any higher than the roof of the skidder to hang a chocker  ;D.
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: SwampDonkey on March 03, 2007, 05:08:52 PM
Just fell'm on top of the skidder and forward them like lewee does. Don't need no cable. ;D

(http://www.forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/10493/lewtimberrrrr.jpg)
Title: Re: Tree Climbing Experience
Post by: rebocardo on March 06, 2007, 11:14:31 AM
> This happened  to a very experienced treeclimber from Tuftonboro NH.

Same thing happened in MA about two years ago, experienced guy working by himself basically cut his own head off.

Do you remember hearing about the guy in NH last year that decided using a chainsaw on a ladder was a good idea and killed his wife? Kicked back out of his hands and fell running on his wife's head while she was steadying the ladder.