We now move on the the final phase of the proposed systems approach to production tree climbing: Descent
This phase may never be used or, if so, probably sparingly. Descent by our systems approach refers to simply abseiling or rappelling from the tree. The classic example of this is you have dismantled the entire structure of the tree during a removal. Now, perched atop a tall spar pole, which you have room to fell, you decide to anchor your climb line and use a figure eight or other descending device appropriately to safely reach the ground.
There are other examples and many reasons you may choose to do this, but I think you get the idea. What makes the descent different from the other phases is that the systems used are not work positioning. They allow for little lateral movement and they are designed only to go down in a controlled manor.
Furthermore, they are anchored by the climber after a thorough inspection of the anchor is done “up close and personal.” These systems may be employed to save time, or wear and tear on hitches or other climbing system parts. The climber may or may not use the structure of the tree during ascent. In our example, the tree is used by default. However, there may be a time in which a climber deems it appropriate to descend out of a canopy remotely from the tree’s structure.
The descent phase may never be used during a climb, just as the ascent phase may never either. Remember we are just laying a framework to encompass as many aspects of production tree climbing as is reasonable. The descent phase is a viable option and should not be ruled out as one just because of infrequency of use.
Now that we have briefly discussed the four phases as I see them; Assess, Ascent, Work and Descent. We can begin to apply them to see how they can help us accomplish our daily tasks safely and efficiently.