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Author Topic: Tree climbing system  (Read 2079 times)

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Offline Tinkerer

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Tree climbing system
« on: July 15, 2021, 09:20:32 PM »
Anyone climbed indoor or outdoor ďrockĒ walls? Was wondering what ascent/descent device they use. It keeps up with you as you climb and slowly lowers you when weighted. Could this be useful in a tree?
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2021, 11:17:14 AM »
search the web for
automatic belay system

sounds like there have been some deaths
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2021, 11:22:24 AM »
Foot and hand ascenders are expensive but very common in arborist work where tree is to remain and gaffs arent an option.  Footlocking a rope is something youll get awful tired of.  Now repelling out on a figure 8 on the other hand, never gets old.  Its fairly wise to stay rigged up to a figure 8 and repel line incase blood loss requires bailout before passout.  Not a lot of time to get setup in chainsaw accidents and with a maimed body part to boot.


The rare instance when i had to climb a rope i just used a prusik with a foot loop to inchworm up.  Works for up and down if you dont like repelling or have to get your rope out.  I was almost always using it to pull a stem coming down. 
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2021, 11:34:49 AM »
Are you familiar with double rope technique?  
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline BradMarks

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2021, 02:27:32 PM »
Figure 8 repelling, sounds like military!  Thru the eight over the shoulder and under the leg. Got a few burns that way!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2021, 02:37:37 PM »
Well, yeah i guess that is the first place i did it.  Slack went in the dominant hand and yanked behind you around the hip for friction which is the only way ive ever tried it.  No ropeburns.   we had to step backwards and free fall off a 50 ft high tower stimulating a helo leg.  The super tight rope harness strangling your junk was the worst part.. Just waiting inline for hours with thing tied on was very painful.  "Swedish seat" i think?  Cant remember.
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2021, 04:32:45 PM »
Swedish seats arenít that bad, as long as you get your junk ďarrangedĒ first. They arenít the most comfortable, but Iíve been in worse predicaments than that, by a mile!  no_no
Trying harder everyday.

Offline Tinkerer

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2021, 08:24:26 PM »
Great info all- thank you!

Mike, 
Iím not familiar with the double rope technique- just learning. I am trying to sort all of it out and figure out where to start. Chainsaw milling and a new interest in trees in all their forms led to the road of tree removal, pruning, and recreational climbing. Iíve only climbed with gaffs, flipline, and saddle. Really want to learn the ropes to open up a whole new realm. Itís really hard to figure out- even with great books and forums. 
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2021, 01:06:34 AM »
Get "the tree climbers companion" in print.  Its all you need, and itll lay out many different ways to skin the same cat.  Its an A to Z little guidebook.

Mine is still in the crate with my saddle and stuff.  In the beginning i was bringing it up in the tree with me in my bib overalls just incase i forgot how to tie a critical knot.  If you cant tie a knot, TIE A LOT!



If you got a flipline, saddle and gaffs youre only a rope and a few 'biners away from DRT which is a very flexible system to monkey around in a hardwood canopy.  You should also be running 2 fliplines in my opinion, one being a wirecore if you are chainsaw cutting.    Say you are going up to a top to set a rope then coming down like a spider to head out from the trunk and maybe dice up a limb small so it doesnt damage a roof.  When youre going up and come to limbs you have to unhook to cross any limb you arent cutting.  Never ever unhook completely.  Toss one flipline above it and transfer over to that, then unhook the one below and continue.  



A double rope technique is sort of like having a 100ft long flipline really.  Its rigged to your center rings instead of your hip rings but otherwise not much difference.  A flipline uses gaffs to keep you planted.  A rope setup lets you get off your aching feet and sit in the saddle.  Me personally i need both to manage the pain. 
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline Tinkerer

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2021, 09:43:43 PM »
Thanks for that info! I have been adding a 2nd lanyard to the tree before using a saw. I read Jeff Jepson fell by cutting his one and only line. I do have tree climbers companion and Iím reading it. But, Iím also watching lots of YouTube and reading Arborist Equipment.  Probably too much info from too many sources thatís got my head spinning! Iíll start with the double role technique you suggested. Keep it simple. The knots are something that I get nervous about-never made it past 2 years of cub scouts!! 
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2021, 10:15:35 PM »
Well i had a cub scout guy chase me off some land as a kid as disclosed in another thread recently and figured i didnt need em anyway so youre head and shoulders ahead of me. 


I had a saw knick a standard prusik rope one time as it was winding down and i had a shot of joint pain from fatigue sorta let me just droop the saw a bit. I did have a backup but the message is the same. When youre hurting, wrap it up for the day.  Live to tell of it.   


If you do it for any length of time, especially self taught,  you will have some "shoulda died" stories. Its pretty high stakes. 
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2021, 10:34:32 PM »
Not a climber here but I have enjoyed reading along here and picking up a few things. But now you mentioned knots and I have 'some' experience here. True I have an advantage that as a Scout I did a lot of it and just for fun and to kill time we would do these short drills to see who could tie the 8 basic knots in the shortest time and we did it hundreds of times trying to knock a second or two off, then we would try them in the dark, or blindfolded, or tying behind our backs, you name it. It was just kids games then. But later in the fire service having my knots correct and fast, every time became somewhat important. When I did Swiftwater rescue training and served on an active team, it was a bit more than important, time and accuracy, the first time meant everything, and when I did my rope recue training, it kicked up another notch. It's true that I was quickly pegged as 'the knot fairy' in nearly every class I took because I could go head to head with every instructor on knot tying, but I knew it mattered.... a lot.
 If you want to get to a point where you are comfortable with your knots, it's pretty simple. Practice...ALL....THE....TIME. :D
 Cut yourself a 2-3' piece of rope and finish the ends, keep it around you most of the time. Any time your hands are not occupied, pick up the rope and run through your list of knots. Eventually you will get to the point where your rarely look at your hands, later you won't even think about what you are tying, your hands know and it will come out right. You learn how the knot FEELS in your hand without looking. Repetition is the only answer. Over and over in different conditions. You can also work on the short cuts once you have the mechanics of a particular knot worked out to a solid level. On a supple rope most knots should take in the range of 3 seconds to tie, and things like a prussik should be in the ten second range. You can do it, you just have to make it a habit, do it several times a day or more. I used to have a rope in my office at work and when I was thinking I would pick it up and tie various knots under my desk to keep my hands busy and fingers trained. Keep one by your TV chair or wherever. Just keep doing it and very soon it will be without thought. Also, a lot of these knots are variations on a theme, so a figure 8, figure 8 on a bight, double figure 8, a directional figure 8 (left hand, or right hand) are all the same basic knot with variations. A sheet bend is almost the same as a square knot with one small change, so learning a few basic knots gives you good leverage to learning the others.
 It's the same path to get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.0
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2021, 07:28:29 AM »
Much of your knots can be made on the ground, semi-permanent by incorporating carabiners into your most commonly used ropes and friction hitch gear so that you dont have to tie them in the tree.   This will save you a lot of fatigue by simply not having the fiddle in the air.  


Always leave yourself extra rope in a knot termination.  Enough to tie a figure 8 and electrical tape the free end to the working end like a double barrel shotgun so that it simply cannot slip undone. 
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2021, 08:10:39 AM »
Keep it low and slow is the saying for noobs.  You gotta start somewhere, ya cant always have someone there to walk you through in person, so i know self taught is the only option at times.  But dont get yourself killed.  Dont stop being scared, dont get too daring or confident. Dont trust steep Y forks in pine with a crease from scaring, look for signs of water.  If ANY doubt, stay below the double leader.  


And never, never cause a hinge to break by wedging too hard against a lean to make it go where it has to.   A vertical top will corkscrew like a balerina spinning on her tippytoes, if the hinge breaks while youre roping against its lean.  If it walks off the pole into your flipline opening it will drop down between you and the tree,  and crush you to death.  Ive done this twice, one time only escaping by diving sideways and playing human tetherball at 5 stories.  

Live to evaluate your errors and warn others.
Revelation 13:11-18

Offline BradMarks

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2021, 11:34:53 AM »
One other thing not mentioned and if possible: DON'T CLIMB ALONE. Never know. I was taught double "flip line" and a tie in rope (below your highest ascent) procedure in the Forest Service. We did a lot of cone collection/bagging in white pine. My instructor told us of the day he was limb walking (tied in of course) a sugar pine (long branches-cones on the end) on a hot day when the next thing he realized he was upside down dangling. He had passed out from exertion. Ya' never know.

Offline DDW_OR

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2021, 12:10:03 PM »
DON'T CLIMB ALONE. .......... was upside down dangling. He had passed out from exertion. Ya' never know.
I AGREE 100%
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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2021, 03:50:24 PM »
Old Greenhorn and Mike,

Awesome, awesome info guys! Iím going to do that practice tying and go through the knot list of the tree climbers companion. Mike, Itís a good thing you were able to unhook fast enough to avoid that treetop! I firmly believe that we all have an appointed time here on earth. If I go because of a tree mistake, thatís when I am supposed to go-and not a moment sooner or later. That being said: ďDonít tempt the Lord, your GodĒ!! 
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2021, 04:09:26 PM »
Thank you Brad and DDW! 

I can easily see passing out from exertion. Almost happened when running a large chainsaw- got light headed. Put the saw down, lost consciousness, came to, went inside to the AC and pounded Gatorade and water. Rested 40 min and was good to go. Itís amazing how that can come over you so suddenly. I always have to tell myself to pace things. Gone are the days of full throttle maniacally powering through whatever the challenge was. It would be nearly impossible to get out of a tree if that feeling came over me
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2021, 10:37:12 PM »
There was no gettied untied, it was maybe 3 seconds from OMG to the top hitting my airborn leg as i just made it out from under it.  


I wanna be sure i have left you understanding this completely because i didnt get the mechanics until after it was over.  I was leaned back on my fliplines with gaffs plugged in deep. Tree is limbed and top has to fly in a very small hole.

   My buddy is pulling the line for all hes got and the wind that we planned on having for help had paused. Underestimated how hard it wanted to go west when we needed east.    So i notch and backcut.  Nothings happening.  im wedging, hes pulling, we cant get the top to start east.  I figure hinge is too thick, whittle it thinner.  Hes pulling, im pounding the snot out of it.  

Well the wedge went in alright, and lifted the whole top up.  The hinge tore and the top stayed vertical but started to overwhelm dave and go west.  Vertical was the best he could do.  So it starts to twirl on the stump counterclockwise.  

I look down just as the butt is a second or so from stepping into my open ropes and stopping sometime after it squeezes my intestines out.  I dive east, it wacks my leg and the fliplines cinch up and face plant me into the pole just dangling. 

Top landed on my garage and we called it quits.  

And yeah, dont climb alone.  Ive done it but its stupid.  You really need a groundie to atleast keep the limbs off your free end or DRT wont let you come down. 
Revelation 13:11-18

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2021, 10:45:59 AM »
I get it now. That could also apply to  any section of the tree really. I guess the lessons are: keep the holding wood thick. Use massive pulling power (winch, vehicle) on something with lots of lean. You may have saved my life and/or roof!

How bad was the garage and did your wife give you grief?!
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!


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