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Author Topic: Tree climbing system  (Read 681 times)

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2021, 12:27:19 PM »
Quote
How bad was the garage and did your wife give you grief?!



I was a homeowning playboy at the time,  so there was a circuit breaker on female grief overload.  marriage corrodes the switch stuck in the ON position every time!  Like being tied to a falling tree. 


Proverbs 19:11

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2021, 12:50:30 PM »
[...] 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.
[...]
Its a tough thing to generalize and not send people off half cocked with bad info.

Thick holding wood X brute force will almost always give you a barber chair in stringy species when felling at the stump.  

I have never heard of a barber chair when topping, probably because 50 feet of trunk will sway off plumb about 5 feet over its length and reduce the chairing forces.  
Now theres two huge issues that make thick hinge X brute force a deathwish.  


Number 1, you are creating a human slingshot and the human has a saw in one hand while being launched.  If you wanna be a chainsaw juggling rodeo clown, hang your spurs and find a circus right?  Theres gotta be more money in that than trees.


Now the other potential viral fail/5 oclock news story is that the tree gets pulled right over and youre tied to it.  Youd be slightly better off marrying a psycho.  


Well.. I dunno.  Arguable i guess.


So let me clarify.  Dont try to do in the air what might be reasonable to try on the ground.  When it goes wrong on the ground you just run for it, chances are you find an out for mistakes you make on the ground -i always have, praise the Lord.  


Not so on gaffs.   So lets look at leaning tops another way.  If there is any doubt, go higher and cut it in smaller, more manageable pieces or call in a bucket truck or crane who can handle it.

You have no strength to push sideways and no place to hide on gaffs. Heck you can hardly keep yourself from flopping over sideways just by the saws weight when you get to under 12" thick or so.  Youre standing on pins in your boots stabbed to a broom handle. The feet are too close for side to side stability.   I loop one landyard fully around the trunk 360 to help keep me from flopping to the heavy side.  Oh And never be facing the backcut squarely.. You wanna be on the side or 45ish to it.  



I learned to fall trees from the top down in cities all by myself (up there) where i could barely hear the guy somewhere below, no advice options.  When i got on the ground out in the woods, i barberchaired everything and had no idea why.  Keep that it mind.    Being at the top or bottom of a tree changes a lot of things in a lot of ways.  Actually i think trying to understand that problem was my first post here on FF.


It would be a rare partner id trust to sit in a truck and pull with a rope or something as i am cutting.  I have had a ground buddie load a winch little at a time by clear hand signals and it was successful.  Ive tied to my big forklift mast and kept adding tension that way by a stretched bull rope with even load. Also good.

 I had another buddy who when i needed him to keep the line taught, failed me.   the top sat back on my bar and pinched... Hes done there not paying attention to me, truck not running, .. I yell that im losing it.. He goes frantic,couldnt find key, no communication and finally rips it in gear, nearly launches me.   If youre gonna do it for real, for hire, you need radios and a real competent ground man.

Climbing was a fun and terrifying experience at the same time. Not the life for my spine or family situation anymore.

Be careful.
Proverbs 19:11

Offline chet

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2021, 12:14:19 AM »

I have never heard of a barber chair when topping, probably because 50 feet of trunk will sway off plumb about 5 feet over its length and reduce the chairing forces.  

It can happen. And in the case that I am aware of the climber did die. He was doing private work by himself on his day off. 
I am a true TREE HUGGER, if I didnt I would fall out!  chet the RETIRED arborist

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2021, 03:40:22 PM »
For rope on a budget, I got an amazing selection of " ends from cmcpro...

https://www.cmcpro.com/equipment/rope-sections-miscellaneous/

I got 4 ropes, with the shortest being 96', and the longest being 189'. My experience may not be indicative of what everyone gets, so YMMV. Even if you got lots of shorts, that's still a nice selection of lanyards for not a ton of money. To anyone reading, I wouldn't get the mixed assortment if your main interest is in climbing. This place services water rescue operations also, so a lot of the small stuff is likely to be polypro. That's good rope for the right application, but useless for climbing.

Offline Tinkerer

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2021, 09:42:34 PM »
Mike,
Glad you didnt have a wife to yell at you and tell you you should have called someone! You dont know what youre doing!!  

 I can see clearly now how the force with thick holding wood would go awry with disastrous consequences. I appreciate you relaying your experiences. Trying to take in all I can. So you learned trees ojt with common sense, books, and trial and error? Id like to hear more about that. What were the circumstances? Do you mean city as in the tree surrounded by a concrete sidewalk and 6 from the nearest row house? How old were you? Why that path? 
Sorry for the many questions but you piqued my curiosity!
Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!

Offline chet

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2021, 10:49:17 PM »
I can see clearly now how the force with thick holding wood would go awry with disastrous consequences.

Not necessarily. There are times you may need a lot of force and a lot of holding wood. There are unlimited number of situations you are presented with, and an unlimited number of ways you could tackle each one.  The trick is to choose the safest and most efficient method to git er done, given the "tools" at your disposal. 
When you're learning start "small", and take the time to understand why EVERY move you make did not go exactly as you planned. It is a high stakes occupation, and one bad move could very well be your last.  
I am a true TREE HUGGER, if I didnt I would fall out!  chet the RETIRED arborist

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2021, 09:11:07 AM »
 you should have called someone! You dont know what youre doing!!  

'I will when i am done' is how i have always answered that one.   Let your detractors worry about their own skills sets. A man knows what he can and cant do.
Proverbs 19:11

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2021, 10:04:28 AM »
[...]So you learned trees ojt with common sense, books, and trial and error? Id like to hear more about that. What were the circumstances? Do you mean city as in the tree surrounded by a concrete sidewalk and 6 from the nearest row house? How old were you? Why that path?

Its complicated is the easy answer. The challenge here is can i pack the cliffnotes of that path into one post without going TLDR?


Went to work at 13,  USMC bootcamp 2 days out of highschool, then in one big  tornado theres a war, a crazy 1st marriage and divorce and a stoploss (when you cant get out of the military for an unknown period of time) that was expected to last 2 years minimum.  
Stopless ended in just 5 months while i was on 2 weeks leave.  I came back to work and found out in 2 more weeks id be getting discharged, completely unprepared.   So that landed me back where i never planned to go, dads house.. With no plans of staying long.. But then my grandparents needed me quite a bit and i accidentally re-rooted.


Im 23, just goofing off playing racecar while i figure life out and finally breathe, party, chase tail.  Went to school but didnt love it.  It was full of adult children.  dad wants me to rent a shop i dont want, one day comes home with 3 more bridgeports we absolutely cannot fit, so i have to rent a shop.  One that costs what a house does.  Now im working flat out to make the payments on the rent and credit cards to get tooled up for engines and cylinder heads.

Full throttle, customers backed up, finances terrible, no time or money left for tuition so quit school to get orders knocked out.  But the cashflow was never stable enough and i was one big shell game of rent, for lack of property.

Got into smith and wesson on 3rd shift @26 to ensure steady cashflow for the business expenses. worked every hour i could.  At one point hired a guy to work while i slept on the couch but he just read the paper.  
End up with a girl who had 2 boys. I needed a house with a big garage. @27 i bought it (at the peak of the runup!) with zero down on great credit. 100% financed.  Life was just go go go to pay the pipers. A slave to debt. 7days a week, day and night.


My house and the neighbors were built in '52 by same builder and had a sandy hill across rear boundary of both .1 acre lots, with a row of privacy pines that got to between 40 and maybe 60some foot.  The hill was washing out, roots were exposed and they were snapping off and dumping branches on the big rental complex right behind it, hard to tell which tree they came from until neighbor had a tree service come take his down.. Now any damage would be my liability. They offered to do mine for $7k the day they were there.  mine were all cased in a 10 foot alley with no bucket access for half of them in between structures. Most companies werent interested in looking.

There was no way i could even borrow it, i was maxed out.  I tried to get insurance company to do it but they refused.  And now wind was hitting trees that never felt wind alone because neighbors were gone.  So id make a CC payment and buy gaffs.  Make a CC payment and buy saddle.  Then ropes. Biners, etc. I already had saws from burning firewood.  


Just started doing it. What choice was there?  They were likely to crush the grandfathered 2 story garage i bought the place for, and would never be permitted to rebuild. I figured if i could jump backwards off a 50 ft repel tower with just a rope, i could climb a 50ft tree.

So i just started doing it and reading asking on AS.  I cought a lot 'you cant do what we do' flak from the holier than thou's over there.  Pith on them. I did it.  I dont need other peoples certificates and approvals.  It was all thumbs up when i was willing to die protecting some strangers way of life.. Why not give the same effort protecting my own?

I did maybe 40 or 50 more trees for friends, family or in trades since then.  Never for hire, insurance too high and my spine is too busted.




Proverbs 19:11

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2021, 11:24:23 AM »
















This one gives a scale.  That shed is right up against my fence.  Theres a grape arbor touching the tips and my friend is over that top cutting it up.  Not a big landing zone.





 This tree im in got topped and kept for a rigging spar.  Two others got swung into it and lowered into the one opening i had to work with.  It filled up often.   Despite a full time burn ban, i burned all these trees either in a barrel or in the stove little by little to clear the yard out.

 



And yes, i was so broke i started with a bicycle helmet.


This pogo log was the only damage i had other than the very last one that hit the garage and busted a little bit of plywood.  I shoulda jumped the fence and sent it into the neighbors yard but i didnt know the new tenants yet.  By the grace of a merciful God i also didnt know very well yet, i never had any booboos or damage at any other climbing job.  Quite a few involved close proximity to power lines and homes



Proverbs 19:11

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2021, 11:42:43 AM »
Resist the urge to leave yourself all sorts of limb knobs to stand on. Yes, youre terrified and feel more secure with hand and footholds all over.. Ya like getting off the gaffs now and then to calm down.  But the knobs will just give you more work to flipline over and create things for your free end to get tangled in down below.  Trim your knobs off flush.  Tie into your center rings so you can sit into the saddle and dangle with your legs stretched out like a playground swing.   Drink water, catch your breath.  


Its fine to reach out and cut a limb a foot away so that you are less likely to follow thru and cut your lanyard or pinch a saw into the trunk,  which is more likely if you are working close to the trunk. But trim those little stubs off right after you send the limb.   Learn quickly how to drop a limb horizontal or vertical to suit your needs based on undercuts, overcuts and cut speed.

always remember and expect a limb to sweep your foot out from under you or grab your free end, dangling ropes etc etc.  Danger is everywhere at all times and close calls will bring them to light.  Letting limbs go will be a lot of the almost got hurt moments.

Keep your saw on a long landyard so that instant something happens you can 'throw it away' and have that hand back immediately to grab or block as needed.  The saw is EASILY the most dangerous thing in the air with you.. Always work from a position that is designed to safely throw the saw and when the fertilizer hits the ventilator just throw.  Dont think, throw.  Always get away from that saw. If it gets banged up so what.  You arent gonna like flipplining down with a 110 heart rate and a severed artery.

Soon as your done with a cut, chainbrake.  Immediately.  Dont move a muscle until that hand chainbrakes. Then move the saw back around your ropes.  Think of those ropes like glass spiderwebs that your life depends on because it does.  Never jeapardize them.


 I used a saw lanyard with two clasps.  One was short to keep it right on my hip as i was climbing with it off. The other was the throw it away length. If its still spinning down you want it GONE and flopping beneath you when SHTF. . not winding down into your ankle.  Never be the tough guy who is one handing a two hander saw up over his head.   Use the free end of a DRT setup to send the wrong saw down and have groundie send the right, warmed up, topped up saw to you.


On gaffs, it is very hard to stay in position on a narrow top that isnt perfectly straight.  Looks like cake on the ground.  You will look up and say no problem to many trees.  When you get up there and look down and you can barely start the saw without flopping over uncontrollably because of a tiny little lean and your heels clicked together, youll understand the problem. Expect a tired quivering core.  And be mindful not to gaff your own leg, its easy to do up high on skinny wood. 
Proverbs 19:11

Offline chet

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2021, 01:10:11 PM »
Before you take yer first step up da tree. Carefully study yer drop zone looking for ALL possible hazards and obstructions. Also study the tree, especially hardwoods, identifying tie in locations for yourself and  parts of the tree and crotch locations that are best suited to remove the worst or most difficult parts of your tree, or parts of surrounding trees that could also be removed. Most of all, make sure your groundman understands what is expected of him,  and is fully capable of doing it. A bad move on their part can put you in very serious jeopardy.
Once in da tree, resist the temptation to start wackin' the easy stuff. That easy portion may have contained the only safe crotch to get that really difficult part down.
I am a true TREE HUGGER, if I didnt I would fall out!  chet the RETIRED arborist

Offline Andries

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2021, 04:25:29 PM »
There may be some other 'groundies' on here, but I'll go first.
BTW - IMO: Chet and Mike are giving years of experience here. Their comments are good excellent working information that'll keep you alive to thrive.
My son wanted to get into tree work when he was in his twenties. He started to ground crew for an arborist, and a few seasons later started climbing. I bought him his first saddle and rope. As they say, he took off running. My role after that was advice, counter-signing bank papers and doing the rigging. Fiddle blocks, prussics, portawraps and throw bags. There's a learning curve there and a hidden resource is the Sherrill Tree catalogue. Its a must have to learn the language (a 'nut case' is a helmet, not a jock strap) and the cartoons are a text book on how to make learning fun.



He's doing good.
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Offline Andries

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2021, 04:53:32 PM »
A hidden hazard that isn't mentioned very often are storm trees.
They've been shaken so hard that they have separation between fibres that can't be seen.
Some of it comes home like this



Some of it comes home like this



The surprise is when you assume it's millable wood, and you get this



The remaining stem may look good enough to climb, but isn't



There's time when it should be cut and have it 'float' away.


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Offline chet

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2021, 08:04:29 PM »
I second the storm trees, both during and after. The worse my nerves were tested was climbing during ice storms, very long hours coupled with extremely dangerous conditions and situations.
I think that is what attracts most folks to the profession, it can really test yer nerves, but it's a heck of a rush when ya pull it off.  :)
I am a true TREE HUGGER, if I didnt I would fall out!  chet the RETIRED arborist

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2021, 09:29:50 PM »
Yep.
 

Its the rodeo of tree stuff.  Can i do it without getting killed?  Lets go see! 


I couldnt tell a red oak from a blueberry bush but i was looking at them all thinking how can i tackle that tree?
Proverbs 19:11

Offline Tinkerer

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Re: Tree climbing system
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2021, 12:15:06 AM »
Mike, Chet, and Andries

What an impressive amount of knowledgeable experience to digest. Im grateful for your time. You guys, in a sense, are saving lives- maybe mine! I havent figured out how to use the sites quote system yet so please bear with me. All the responses will be lumped together. 

Thank you Mike for your military service first and foremost! Mike that info you put out was a true, in the trench, been there and had to figure it out expose. You are a great story teller

Ive taken down a neighbors 60 poplar by spurs and limbed an 80 , 28 dbh  cherry in my yard to the point of 40 off the ground (needs to come down, lots of canopy missing after storms, end of its lifecycle) so I can understand a lot of what was said. 

Im going to add a second shorter tether to allow quicker saw access - saw is currently about 2 below my feet at full dangle. Ill practice the directional limb drop like you said.

 I cant believe that situation was your first tree cutting experience Mike! Hey, half measures avail us nothing!

 I love the response Ill call someone when Im done! Had a crazy toxic situation with first wife too. Not walking with the Lord. Substance abuse. I was nuts! 

I do have a good groundie. We are friends and have done some tree work together. He helped me with the poplar removal. Were currently working together on a job where Im milling and hes bucking and hauling. Someone else fell the trees though. Im starting to learn how to instruct him. At first it was stay away when you hear the saw The next Ill lay out a more detailed plan. We have whistles now if we need to get attention over a saw

I find a better, more thorough, and helpful on FF vs AS as well. Spending most of the time here.  I like the user interface on AS better though. Someone local on here even said hed show me ropes! Good stuff 

Throw the saw. Embarrassing to say I had to, but, I did. Not in the air but on the ground. Unstable making an open face notch (stupid) while kneeling on a 30 high stump. Lost balance and pushed the saw away as I went backwards. So I must have that instinct. 

Ill trust your knowledge and not leave stubs!

I was never a big chain brake user until going up a tree. You are SO right on making that a true habit. I started with chainsaw milling so the saw was strapped in metal guide and any bucking was on stable level ground- not so anymore. Now its easy to see how life threatening a misfire could be. Made sure idle doesnt rotate chain too. 

Mike, you mentioned about core pain and exhaustion. I experienced that. The poplar just about killed me  with exhaustion. Well, Im really glad to hear thats normal. Yeah, it was a different kind of wiped out! 

Andries- thanks for the Sherrill tree site. They are now on my phone and Ill request a paper catalog! So you worked with your son?! Are you two still pounding out trees together? Id love to work with my kids. Im happy for you. Sucks about the milling wood falling apart. Better that it turns to crap immediately than fractures and cracks halfway through drying. Ask me how I know! Thats an awesome picture of your boy cutting the limb mid air. 

Chet- Ill study the tree for tie ins and dissection very carefully. Sounds like plan your work, work your plan. Cant imagine working in an ice storm- slippery AND numb!! Wow


Chet and  Andries- Ill be more cautious when assessing and attempting any type of storm cleanup and look for cracks and hang-ups. Im not afraid to say no or call someone with a crane and bucket truck. 

Thank you for all your input. Yes it is a rush then the plan works and heavy bulky tree sections move at your command or just using a power saw generally. Never been a big adrenaline junkie though. Yet, somehow, saws and trees have captivated me for the past 8 months! Even learning some of their Latin names. Blessings to all

-Mike

Fed my 450 Rancher so well, it grew to a 395XP!


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