Phase 3: Work

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First, let me thank and welcome anybody who may have just joined out journey of dialog.  I sincerely appreciate your willingness to read and welcome comments as you see fit from everybody.

We now move into the third phase of production tree climbing as I prepose them: Work

In short, this is the reason we are in the tree.  To move in any direction desired to accomplish our tasks.  By definition the work phase involves using various combinations of tree structure and climbing equipment to progress through the tree. Other high angle disciplines may refer to this as work positioning, and I feel that term accurately describes this phase as I see it for production tree climbing and may be used interchangeably.

What differentiates the work phase from the ascent phase is the lateral movement in the tree, the availability of tree structure to the climber and the inspection process.  If you will recall, when in the ascent phase by my definition, the climber’s goal was only to go up, and is remote, or at the very least, uninvolved with the structure of the tree during this phase.  Furthermore, the T.I.P. was set remotely with no up close inspection.

In the work Phase the T.I.P has gone through close and up close inspection.  Rope or friction saver or other tie in device has been installed by hand or very close to it.  The tree has been inspected not only from the ground during the assess phase, but during the ascent and after reaching the desired anchor point.  The climber now has much more information and sound judgements about the tree it’s stability and overall condition.

Of course structural stability and general safety issues demand on going assessment.  The climber has done a more involved inspection and gained a better vantage point to draw much better conclusions.

Systems used during this phase may be similar to ascent systems, but generally do not require a back up for a number of reasons.  The above points about inspection and T.I.P selection and establishment come into play here.  Also the availability of tree structure to serves as a safety and/or backup through establishing a second tie in point, using a lanyard or redirect not to mention the other methods available to the climber to add addition security as necessary.

The use of ascender during this phase is not ruled out.  (Nothing is ruled out in any of the phases as we are just establishing a framework for evaluation of climbing systems and techniques.)  However, lateral movement on ascenders is generally bad practice and there are many other options that serve the tree climber better advantage for lateral movement.

Lateral movement is what separates tree climbing from other high angle livelihoods.  It is our varied movement patters in many planes that created our unique systems.  It is also the organic nature of the structures we climb and work in that demands our eclectic tools and techniques, and the demands caution and accuracy in out selection of anchors or any means of life support.

Of course by ANSI standards any work positioning system should be able to get the climber to the ground.  Good sense tells us to always have a viable escape route when working at heights as well.  How an individual climber may meet these requirement is varied and again beyond the scope of guideline and into the realm of specifics.  We can discus those at a later date after I have laid out the system as I see it.

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