Unlike the tree climbing of our youth, recreational tree climbing is a fun and easy-to-learn activity that utilizes arborist rope, a saddle harness and a unique knot system to assist with ascending and descending a tree. It's an amazing feeling being in the arms of very large trees. You can sometimes get as many as fifteen climbers in a tree at once.
- Locate someone that knows the techniques of tree climbing. First and foremost, you want to find out if you are even going to like such an adventure. I recommend surfing the Internet under "tree climbing," and find someone close to you that offers public climbs. They will supply all the equipment and instruction for a safe climb at or around $12-15. I was lucky to find a couple of people in my area that had just learned how to tree climb and they were more than generous to offer such a climb. If you find you love it and want to know more, the next step would be to locate a business that specializes in recreational tree climbs.
- Locate a business that specializes in recreational tree climbs. Again, surfing the web is the best place to start. My husband and I learned with Abe Winters of Tree Climbing USA in Fayetteville, Georgia. We took what was called the basic class ($450 per person).
- Spend the necessary time becoming safe and acquainted with the techniques. Abe spent three days teaching us how to get a rope up in the tree and to properly use the required equipment.
- First we used a small rope with weights at both ends. Using a specialized throwing technique, we established a line in the tree.
- We tied our rope to the smaller rope using a knit cast-on stitch.
- We pulled our rope and cambium saver into the tree.
- We learned a unique tie system. A figure eight on a bight with a bridge to what is called the 'Blake's Hitch.' The Blake's Hitch is sometimes called the magic knot. It is what climbers move to ascend and descend.
- You attach the figure eight bight to the saddle to the locking carabineer attached to the secure saddle around your hips with thigh attachments.
- Take up the slack by pushing up on the Blake's hitch.
- Putting your foot in the prussic that is attached on the down rope, bend your knee up, along with any slack in the prussic.
- As you push down into the prussic, push up on the Blake's Hitch.
- Sit back down into the saddle, pull up on the prussic knot by bending your knee and then repeat the process.
- Ascend as far as the first branch...rest.
- Once rejuvenated, move as far as the rope's highest attachment.
- Purchase your own equipment through New Tribe, Sherrill or other such vendors. Our instructor, Abe wrote up a detailed equipment list we would need to continue to climb once back home.
- Saddle or harness $100-250
- Arborist rope $100-150
- Grapple hook $30 (used to retrieve your rope once in the tree)
- Prussic Rope $25 (used to pull down on the rope as a climber ascends)
- 2-3 Carabineers $15-17 each
- Zing-It $30-40 (used to get your rope in the tree)
- Weights $15 (used with Zing-It)
- Helmet $65-80
- Side bag $25
- Recommended Links.
TreeClimbingsUSA (Georgia), Tree Climbing Colorado (Colorado)
ClimbTreesWithEarthJoy (Cincinnati, Kentucky)
If you love nature, recreational tree climbing is for you. You will naturally learn and develop a greater bond with trees. As more people climb trees, our awareness of the lack of old growth forests will become evident. And awareness is the first step to prevention.