We have looked at the four phases of climbing as I present them.  This is not really a new idea.  I have borrowed form others and morphed it into my translation.  My ideas are also based an a good deal of travel, training, talking with or about problems and successes with many arborists all over North America.  Still some may ask, “Why?”  “Why split hairs?”

It’s a good question.  A look through accident reports and first and second hand stories that have been told to me is telling. So often it is the details, the little things over looked that change the outcome from what it was a thousand time before. “But we’ve done it that way a hundred times.” I hear.  No.  No, you did not.  One thing was different and it was a small thing, less you would have caught it and remedied it.

By breaking down what we do our tasks become not only more explainable, but quantifiable in some ways.


Let’s review:

Assess: Look the tree/site over define hazard and obstacles, work plan accordingly with work objectives in mind.

Ascent: Vertical movement into the tree with the purpose of establishing a TIP for work. Very little if any lateral movement.

Work: Lateral movement with multiple ups and downs. The structure of the tree becomes a key player in the climb. Multiple tie in to separate anchors may be necessary/possible

Descent: Simply coming out of the tree with no need for the tree’s structure. Classic example, abseiling off a pole you are going to fell.



In the end, I am not talking about systems or even specific techniques. Those will sort themselves in time, by climbers better and more creative than me.

What I see the need for is a systems approach or protocol so we can look at describe and then use systems, tools techniques in the safest most efficient manor, right tool, right job.  A way to break the complicated down so climbers can make good decisions, on their own.  A system of common terminology.  We may not use the same words, titles or nicknames, but we speak to the same approach, methods and ideology.

I am not addressing my 4 phase approach to only single or doubled systems. I am trying to work it to cover the most common approaches to climbing for the production arborist, what we have now and especially what we will have in the future.

In the past, we had just a work positioning system as I define it, saddle, connecting link, line. As we introduced new tools and techniques there was a lag, in safety, efficiency and learning. I am just trying to address this lag, shorten it make it surmountable.

I have no interest in redefining climbing.  I just want gals and guys to go into tree climbing with heads up, eyes open, cognoscent of the options, aware of the limitations, able to address the ever changing climbs we face daily with understanding, to ask questions and explain things with as much consistency as we can muster.

This struggle to define is part of the process.

I look forward to refining these ideas over the coming months and offering a fully developed comprehensive presentation at TCI Expo 2013.

4 thoughts on “Reasons

  1. Tony,
    First off let me say thank you for putting in the time to post your thoughts. What you are doing is a must for our industry. Your words are thought inspiring for me personally. I’ve told fellow arbs that if I had the vocabulary I would explain my work very closely to the way you do.
    Complacency Kills,

  2. Bryan, I feel the same way too. Tony has a way with words that few arborists do. I am just beginning to get into writing and Tony is an inspiration to me.

    Thanks again Tony for taking the time and writing the articles and teaching the classes that you do to help your fellow tree workers.

    You Blog will only continue to get better and better.

  3. Chris,

    You are too kind. But what ever I can do to help people get home at night and take their own boots off at night I will. If writing helps his cause then expect more! I will gladly give it.

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