Hey folks. In this post, I’m going to discuss the best tree climbing techniques.
When it comes to sporting activities, the basic way to acquire the perfect combination of adrenaline and exercise is by going for something one truly enjoys. While tree climbing might be perceived more like a hobby than an athletic sport, it is getting some recognition as a viable activity with time. More and more people are showing their interest in this blossoming sport which means that it is ever so important to critically learn and execute all the techniques that go into this sport.
Tree climbing is essentially what the name itself entails, ascending on top of a tree trunk or around it, sometimes with the help of some sort of suspending device.
Climbers generally go for the crown of trees as they are on a height which makes the concept of adventure profuse in this activity.
Tree climbing might not be perceived as a strenuous sport as such because it is not out rightly extreme like other forms of climbing, however the potency of it should not be undermined and beginners must be wary of all the hazards involved.
The basic technique in tree climbing is the use of rope to climb to a certain height. The ideal diameter of the rope ranges from 10 mm to 14 mm as that is the perfect specification of a rope that can also be tied up in knots. Of course there are several different kinds of tree climbing ropes that can be used, with the added comfort of tree climbing carabiners, but it truly depends on how adventurous the climber feels. For beginners it is extremely important that they initiate their training with the use of rope as without it they are more prone to accidents by falling from great heights.
The Best Equipment for the Best Techniques
In addition to other tree climbing gear, harness and helmets are also a vital combination. Tree climbing helmets and body pads on elbows and knees are only there to serve one major purpose, protection from a great fall injury. In case the climber accidentally falls, the helmet will definitely protect the blow to a great extent, so will the elbow and knee pads. The main aim of harness is to hoist the body up with the help of ropes so that it becomes simpler for the climber to drag himself up the tree trunk, without too much exhaustion as it can be a tedious task.
Speaking of techniques when it comes to tree climbing, there are countless variations that can be added to make the experience more enthralling. This may include the different ways that a rope can be used as well.
For instance, the knotting techniques can ascertain how a particular tree climbing experience may proceed. Prusik knot is one way where the climber gets eased into another sort of support while ascending the tree, thus adding more sustenance and simplicity.
Just like the rope, there are other tools involved in this sport that can provide some much needed relief. The ascender is one such gadget as it allows the rope to pass through the passage way easily, eliminating the element of friction for the climber.
When it comes to the descent, the belay device can also be a unique tool that should be used. It is important that the climber is absolutely sure about how each gadget work and what are the different ways in which they actually assist. Using a tool with improper knowledge will prove to be an added burden so it is important that one completely understands their purpose. Other than a belay device a unicender also carries the climber’s weight, giving him constant support.
Throw ropes are a great invention promising an adventurous climb with the help of minimal equipment. They can be easily slung around the tree in a swift motion by the climber as that way there will be added grip in the process. The purpose of this rope is to act as a basic pendulum so that it can simply transfer some of the weight of the climber around the tree itself.
This is a great technique for those climbers who are looking for something light weight without adding too much of a burden in their climbing experience. Normally, tree climbers do not carry an entire backup with them as that may be gravity defying. Instead, a small fanny-pack or even a small bag does the trick. If the climber is aiming for a particularly higher branch, thinking that it will provide that particular vantage point, then the use of a pole sling shot can be extremely beneficial.
Mixing the Tactics
The biggest question that pops up next is how to take care of all the equipment because tree climbing can be a strenuous activity. The answer lies in cambium protectors which can add a protective layer of anti-friction between the rope and the tree itself. Trees can easily become susceptible to wear and tear and given the environmental hazard looming around one has to be supremely careful about how he may negatively impact the trees. These protectors can also help the climber so they are a great one time investment.
The fundamental tree climbing activity can be divided into double and single rope technique. Double rope technique is where the climber does not have to recover the rope as it can be attached to the belay device and lead to a simple ascension and descent without the climber having to take rounds for the rope.
This is quite a safe method as the fall of the climber stays quite protected as well and provides him the comfort for another rope. There are pros and cons of using this type of technique of single rope technique where the climber only has to use the throw line to access those areas which cannot be access with ease or without the help of any type of equipment. The slingshot can be used to secure a branch as an anchor. Whilst this may sound like more work, single rope technique can be done repetitively on several branches, ensuring that if one breaks, the other can sustain some of the weight more or less.
The biggest plus point of doubled rope technique is that the climber can pause while climbing, just to take a breather or to enjoy the marvelous natural beauty he is surrounded with. One of the major knots supports the climber fully so it is quite convenient to take a break. So essentially, some climbers may prefer this system over the single rope one as that needs several equipment changes during the descent. The complicated way single rope technique works can be studied and understood over time but beginners might not be too comfortable going after it so they should be guided to go for doubled rope technique so that once they catch the drift they can opt for the other one.
Suit Appropriately for the Best Adventure
There are some tactics and tips that should never be forgotten at the last hour which can truly revamp one’s climbing experience. First of all, the clothing should be given immense importance as it needs to be extremely comfortable and adventure friendly. The legs and arms should be protected as the tree bark can seriously injure the body if it is exposed to the harsh exterior for longer periods. This also applies to the trees’ maintenance and protection. Climbers should wear shoes which do not have extremely hard or spiky ends as they can harm the tree. If the trees have been climbed on too often, they are most likely going to get chafed and become leaner over time which is a big environmental hazard.
An arborist has to pay special care to the knots that are tied in a particular rope and how each one serves its purpose. While beer knots and girth hitch may have some similarities which can aid in their execution, the bowline, Blake’s hitch and anchor hitch are quite different to them. Figure 8 knot and double fisherman’s can be a great handy idea when retrieving the climbing rope. There are countless arrays of knots each serving a particular function which needs to be well understood before one can go tree climbing. The most fundamental and basic one the execution of bowline as it can provide some much needed support to the climber himself.
It’s all about the Balance
Movement within the tree itself is a tricky business. So the climber has to be attached to the tree trunk no matter what, wherever he maneuvers around the tree. All movements should be done keeping the body taut and precise so that the person removes the risk of swinging around and getting wounded in the process. It is important to keep the anchor point in mind throughout the movement from one end of the tree to the other as it.
Both the ascent and descent are equally crucial so neither should be undermined. For the descent, make sure that all the equipment including the remaining length of the rope is in place. Once the perfection of the tools is established, the climber should proceed with minimal speed so as to acclimatize the body and the equipment to the ground. Since climbing takes massive levels of strength, it will take the body some getting used to as well.
Tree climbing is actually a combined effort as it requires a ground control team as well who is responsible for several tasks. It is up to the ground team to maintain effective and efficient levels of communication with the climber. It is also their responsibility to anticipate any particular needs or wants the climber may have and then look after them in the best possible way. Other than the climber, the equipment also needs to be collected and kept secure for future excursions.
The overall maintenance of the equipment is exceedingly important. Ropes can be quite resilient but they need some basic care nonetheless. Coiling the ropes can prove to be quite helpful as that way the ropes are easily pulled out from their tied up bunch even if the person is in a hurry. However with age, heat and other environmental exposure, ropes can become rustic just like belay device or carabiners or other tools that a person is using for their climb. Protection of equipment can be both budget friendly and hassle free so it is highly recommended!