How To Recreational Tree Climb

Women climbing trees

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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
    • Once rejuvenated, move as far as the rope's highest attachment.
  4. 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
  5. Recommended Links.
    TreeClimbingsUSA (Georgia), Tree Climbing Colorado (Colorado)
    ClimbTreesWithEarthJoy (Cincinnati, Kentucky)
    New Tribe

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.


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