Systematic Approach to Tree Climbing

In the next few posts I will start to outline my thoughts for developing a systematic approach to, as well as systematic execution of, production tree climbing. Why? In the past, one system was used to ascend, work and come back down. In many cases this is still the most efficient method. However, as more and more techniques creep in from other high angle disciplines and/or are created by clever tree climbers, a “one size fits all” mentality falls short on efficiency and safety concerns. The work we engage in is multifaceted, often complex and hazardous on easy days!

I propose a system to break a climb down into phases. A climbing system that is super efficient for ascent may not be safe during lateral movement in the tree. A basic descent system meant to get a climber to the ground quickly, would be a terrible unsafe working or ascent system, but sometimes just the ticket for coming off a spar at the end of a long hot day.

What I propose is looking at production tree climbing in Four Phases:

Assess: The pre-climb inspection and work plan development part of climbing.

Ascent: Going up to establish a tie in point (T.I.P.). A climber may or may not set the line remotely, a la “throw bag.”

Work Positioning: Here the climber has installed and inspected the T.I.P and the tree while ascending. The climber may have eliminated or mitigated any hazards as necessary. This phase may involve a lot of lateral movement in the tree.

Descend: Here the climber is finished working aloft and is simply coming to the ground. This is different than descending on a work positioning system. A straight “descent” system allows for very little if any lateral movement.

In the next four posts we will look at each phase individually.

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