Trees and their differing shapes make climbing each tree a kind of daunting task. Even though most of the people think that climbing trees is a kid’s game, it can still frequently thrill and trouble the adults.
Climbing a tree with rope attachments can help to build up the required morale and skills, and it will enable you to get yourself essential equipment to handle taller trees.
Ascending trees and utilizing mountaineering equipment can be a tough thing for some. One should prepare himself before going on to climb tall and tricky trees. The preparation should include thorough research about trees and their structure, climbing equipment, and how to climb via rope.
Steps To Ensure Safe Climbing
Get The Right Equipment
If you are climbing trees for sport, you are going to need to have the right gear to guarantee your safety. The following is what you will need to have with you to help ensure a safe climbing experience.
- A Throwing rope: This is a slender, light-hued rope that you toss over the branch. It gets appended to a weight that then works as a counterweight.
- A static rope: This rope is not as versatile as a dynamic rope but is also utilized in climbing.
- An outfit and a helmet: You can use a climbing protective cap, but ideally, you should wear a climbing helmet. A bicycle helmet can also do a good job. It is a safety measure that you should follow before climbing any tree. Your outfit should be a good fit. Make sure it is not too baggy or else it can get tangled with branches and can cause problems.
- A Prusik rope: This rope is attached to your climbing rope and your harness by a carabineer.
- A branch protector: Otherwise known as a cambium protector. It helps protect the branches from friction which helps your rope last longer. Metal protectors that look like pipes are more practical than leather protectors.
Pick A Solid Tree
You should only attempt to climb a tree that is at least 15 cm wide. A thinner, narrower tree could break under your weight. The wider it is, the more secure you are.
- Make sure the tree is sturdy. On the off chance that the tree is old or feeble, don’t attempt to climb.
- The tree must be a long way from things like electrical cables, animals, and homes.
- Make sure the tree is large enough to handle your weight and that of any other person that might be planning on climbing it with you.
Once you have identified the trees that you need to climb, you also need to examine the following four parts to see which tree fits the criteria for safe climbing.
- The wide-edge: Having a good look at the whole tree from a bit far away is always recommended. It will give you a good indication of whether the tree is twisting or if its branches are dependable. It can also help you in seeing whether there are any wires or obstructions in the tree that might cause you problems while climbing.
- The ground: It is likewise imperative to see where you will put your feet. You should not pick a tree that has a large number of bunches at its base, has a hornet’s home, whose roots are decaying, or is covered by weeds.
- The trunk: An absence of bark on the trunk could indicate that the tree is rotting or that it has been damaged recently, which can make it weaker. As with trees with two or three trunks, examine where the branches start from their base. This point must be solid.
- The crown: It is not unusual to discover dead branches on the lower portion of the tree since they do not get enough sunlight. Although, the dead branches on top show that the tree is kicking the bucket. You ought to stay away from trees with a large number of dead branches, particularly on the off chance that they are close to the crown.
Install The Ascension Ropes
In the following steps, you will learn the techniques that are safer and easier for beginners. This method is mainly used for oaks, poplars, maples, and pines, i.e. for trees that reach more than 30 meters in height.
- Throw the throw rope at the solid branch you have chosen. You can do this by attaching the throw rope to weight or pulling it with a special slingshot.
- Place the branch protector on the rope.
- Tie the static rope on the throwing rope. Pull the other end of the rope to bring the rope to the branch. The branch protector must be on the branch.
Secure Both Sides Of The Rope
Make a series of knots at the ends of the rope with a Blake knot on the main knot. Blake’s knot should be loose when you take your weight off the rope, then hold it in place when you stop moving.
Tie a double fisherman’s knot on the carabineer.
If you are not trained to make this kind of knot, this is not the time to try them for the first time. Ask someone comfortable with climbing to do it for you.
Put on your harness, put on your helmet, and attach yourself to the string system. Make sure the harness is properly attached and that it is tight. Once the harness is in place, attach yourself to the string system with strong knots.
Add Help For Your Feet
If you have enough strength in your upper body, you can climb the tree using just your arms. Most climbers also use a Prusik rope or a foot aid. The Prusik rope attaches to the main rope and provides a better grip on your feet. As you climb, slide the Prusik rope higher.
Climb The Branch
Generally, you will climb the rope using the tree to guide or support you from time to time. When you feel tired, just rest your feet on the trunk and continue when you feel better.
This is the simplest step, you just need to grab the main knot (Blake’s knot) and gently pull it down. Do not go too fast! A safe descent is a gentle descent.
Many experienced climbers often place safety knots on their ropes to avoid descending too quickly. Remember, however, that if you let go of the rope, you will stop. Blake’s knot keeps you from falling.
Learn The Technique Of The Rope Alone
Once you are more experienced, you can try this technique. It is not difficult to understand what it is: instead of grabbing both sides of the rope, you climb on one side only by fixing the other side on the branch or at the base of the tree. You are going to need an ascending and descending device to move the side of the rope.
It is easier to use your legs this way, which makes this technique less tiring.
Using Grappling Hook To Climb A Tree
I originally used a grappling hook to practice throwing up in the tree and catching onto a large branch. There is a pretty big difference when it comes to climbing a rope with or without your feet. The latter being far more challenging. Both require some instruction and practice.
Climbing the rope itself will develop the grip and strength needed to climb higher. It wouldn’t always be possible to ascertain how well the hook had set. (You might only be climbing on a few small suckers, for example, which might break or bend enough to release the hook suddenly.
It might be quite hard to recover the hook if the throw didn’t go exactly where you wanted. i.e., the hook might fasten where, or on what, that you didn’t want and might not be easy to retrieve for another try.
The method to use:
- Tie a knot at the end of the rope to give it some heft, but not large enough that it would be hard to pull down if you needed another try. (I often used the end of my rope that had a large metal snap tied to it. It was heavy enough to get a good throw, but not so large that it would get hung up.
- Throw the rope by swinging the knot (or snap) to get some speed, then releasing the rope at the proper time.
- Aim for a fairly large limb with few obstacles around it that might intercept the rope (other limbs, suckers, etc.) (This limb doesn’t have to be very high, just higher than you can reach.) Keep trying until you get the knot to pass over the limb.
- Send waves up the rope until you get the knot to drop low enough to grab.
- Climb the doubled rope up to the limb.
- Secure yourself to the tree: Using a safety belt, a short piece of rope, or the end of the rope you just climbed, secure yourself by passing it around the trunk, limb, another limb, etc, and fastening both ends to your harness. (You are using a harness, right?
- Check the tree. Are the branches at the trunk close enough together to climb? No: Then pick out another, higher, limb, and throw the rope again.
A grappling hook is thrown up and over an obstacle, then pulled back to set a hook. Many types of trees would be too bushy-limbed to allow for such a throw.
Once you were successful at setting your grappling hook, you could attempt to climb the rope attached to the hook.
Another approach is to project (e.g., throw, shoot, sling) a small weighted bag attached to a light line over a high limb so it falls back to within reach. Then you would attach a heavier line to the light line and pull it up and over the branch back down to be secured. The heavier line can be used as a safety or can be ascended using mechanical or powered line ascenders. I have seen this used successfully on a top-heavy 50-foot Madrona to access high limbs for thinning.
You don’t want to hook the branch; you want to hook the line once the hook has gone over the branch. To get it down, you pull the line out of the hook and let the hook fall.
To do that, you can’t tie the line into the hook; the hook has a metal loop on the back of it, and you thread half the line through that opening and throw the hook with the line doubled over itself. The hook is at one end of the line; at the other end of the line, you have both loose ends. When you pull the one loose end, the other gets pulled up into the tree and though the loop in the hook.
The hook is secured when it’s up in the tree by the tension in the line. When you pull the line out of the hook, the hook falls.
One way is to use a specially-designed hook with a 2nd retrieval line attached. So when you are throwing it, you are actually throwing two lines. The specially-designed hook will untangle if the 2nd line is pulled. Often it is easier to just abandon the grapple hook if it is well caught (you’re throwing up a double-line through an eyelet on the hook), so you can recover your line by pulling on one end. Today you might use a drone to pull the hook upwards to unhook it.
In order to get the hook up to where you want to climb, the rope needs to be light and skinny. In order to climb a rope without it breaking and to have a proper grip on it, it needs to be thick and heavy. Unless you have the physical strength to toss a heavy rope along with a heavy-duty hook 20+ feet in the air, you’re better off finding a ladder or another route.
Climbing Trees Can Be A Good Way To Work Out
This is the most beneficial reason to climb trees. It may not seem like a martial arts tactic, a climbing rope is essential for any fitness gym. Climbing up a rope will develop your arms, back, and abdominals. They are easy to set up, fun to climb and you can get very creative with them. More so, mental health and stress management is the highest investment you can make.
We live in a fast-paced, high stressed world, and grabbing a few minutes of sanity can do wonders for your overall wellness. There is something about being out in nature, interacting with nature is a whole other level of feeling good.
When you are having a bad day; include tree climbing into your bodyweight workout. If you are having a good day; include tree climbing into your bodyweight workout.
Tree Climbing Because You Can
Take a moment to look down at your hands. Now wiggle your fingers, move your thumbs, make a fist, and open your hands again. Your hands are designed to grab, your shoulders are made to hang and brachiates. Do not neglect this biomechanical design and advantage.
The reason most people “can’t” climb trees is that they don’t. Just a little reintroduction to the hands and shoulders and you will soon be on your way to playing like Spider-man. You can climb and should be climbing as frequently as possible. Climbing is one of the highest expressions of human movement.
If you have ever seen a very skilled climber, it is truly a sight to behold as they appear to float towards their destination.
Tree Climbing is a Full Bodyweight Workout
This is awesome and best fitting; your arms for pulling, the legs for pushing, and the core to stabilize.
The favorite bodyweight workouts are to find two good trees about 25-40ft tall that are 30-40yards apart. Climb as fast (and safely) to the top of one, descend, then sprint to the other and repeat. Try to make 5 summits of each tree. This is a quick and powerful bodyweight workout.
This is just one of the hundreds of full-body activities that involve climbing a tree. Regularly climbing trees will give you a powerful, strong body that is highly functional. I would also add that there are many other things to do with a tree than just climb it.
For example, you can practice balance; you can jump over branches, onto branches, or form limb to limb. You could crawl along with the limbs or a slanted of the fallen trunk. You and do some low gait exploration under low-lying branches and limbs. Be creative and playful! Have fun with the tree!
Before climbing a difficult-to-reach branch, make sure that you can descend safely and that you have done thorough research about the structure of the tree as well as the climbing equipment that you plan on using.
- Do not climb trees alone. Always go out with a friend or partner who will stay at the base of the tree to monitor you. If you can’t find anyone, at least make sure the tree is near homes or places of passage.
- If you fall from the tree or jump, be sure to roll once you land on the ground, regardless of your size. Even a fall of four feet can seriously injure your ankles or knees if you don’t absorb the shock of the fall properly.
- Professional climbers do not recommend using crampons to climb trees. This hurts the tree and leaves open wounds that can become infected. Professionals only use them on dead trees. If you have to use crampons, clean them with alcohol to avoid spreading disease.