Recreational tree climbing-Facts you need to know

What is  Tree Climbing?

Tree climbing is an activity done for recreational purposes where an individual moves up a tree at their own pace or at a set time and manner. It is fun, for it is easy to learn, is achieved cheaply, and has no boundaries as to who can do it.

An individual who plants and studies the science about trees is called an arborist. They study the science about shrubs, trees, vines, plants, in general, A person who climbs trees and has knowledge of tree climbing is called a tree climber.


How recreational tree climbing is done?

Recreational tree climbing activities are performed by the climber tying a rope around the tree and using it as support while ascending the tree’s stem one step after the other.  The recreational part of it applies when this act is done competitively. In most cases, tree climbers are given a stated time to reach the top of the tree as a referee keeps track of the time.

There are rules governing recreational climbing of trees, these are:-

  • Use safety climbing equipment’s at all costs
  • Ensure the protection rope doesn’t come off and don’t take it off yourself.
  • Use the branches of the tree as support for balance and protection while climbing
  • Avoid climbing trees using leg spikes, it harms the tree.
  • Avoid unnecessary pruning of the tree’s branches as you climb.


Tree Climbing Techniques

tree-climbing techniques
Image by Freepik

Tree Climbing Techniques are the means/ways by which trees are climbed by tree climbers. Apart from the stated measures of tree climbing by the World Association of Tree Climbers and its associates, there are different techniques of tree climbing. A few of them include:-

Free Climbing

This a tree climbing technique where you climb the tree free of any safety equipment. No ropes no nothing, it’s quicker and easier for you don’t have the equipment’s weight, weighing you down. For safe free tree climbing put on rubber-soled shoes, choose a tree that has a fine trunk, use branches as your support, and climb only during good weather, not rainy, windy, or stormy weather.

Self-Belayed Climbing

This is a tree-climbing technique that uses belaying equipment and technology, you belay yourself up the tree by pulling the rope.

Double-rope climbing

This is a rope tree climbing technique where two ropes are tied on trunks and the climber uses them for support as they climb. The climber is kept in place at all times, by the main knot named the Modified Blake’s hitch.

Single-rope Technique

This is a tree-climbing technique where the climber goes up and down the tree by use of a fixed rope. Mostly SRT is used by people who do long-distance climbs, as is it easier and safer. Apart from being easier, SRT is the quickest easy-to-learn tree climbing technique of all time. It uses lighter equipment and comes in handy when climbing large-sized trees.

Lead Climbing

Lead Climbing is a tree-climbing method where a climber forms protection points on the trunk of the tree by girthing its limbs using slings. After they have ascended, a fellow climber can climb after the first by forming belays on the tree.


Tree Climbing Risks


Just like any other sport, tree climbing has its risks. Although they may not always be adverse, they are still worth looking out for. Some of them include:-

  • Falls – when tree climbing or doing a sport that involves heights, falling off is a fact to consider. Falling might lead to worse injuries, broken arms and limbs, broken neck, spinal and hip injuries, and head tremors.
  • Faulty equipment – if a tree climber uses equipment then it turns out to be faulty, chances of injuries are high and likely to occur. This is a major risk that can cause major injuries on the climber.
  • Unpermitted climbing –when a tree climber follows another climber up the tree without authorization from the supervisory power, this can lead to unexpected accidents. For instance, a branch may not be able to sustain the weight of both climbers leading them to fall hard, worse if they land on each other.
  • Weather risks – if tree climbing is done during gloomy and foggy weather, the climber’s visual may be impaired leading them to miss a branch or miss a hold, thus falling. This in itself is a major tree climbing risk and should be watched out for at all costs.
  • Slips – this is a tree-climbing risk that is very common with free tree climbing, climber slips and falls thus getting injured. Slips are a major tree climbing hazard that can cost lives and precautions to avoid it should be taken by all means.
  • Unsafe equipment – most people prefer buying cheap tree climbing equipment, which truth be told are not always good. If a tree climber happens to be using one of these below-standard equipments they are at high risk of getting injured one way or the other.
  • Ladder falls – ladders just like other climbing equipment’s have their short-comings. One of them is slipping, if a ladder slips while a climber is on it, they stand a chance of getting badly injured. Most injuries incurred from ladder falls include head injuries, broken limbs and hands, broken necks and hip joints, and worse of all hip dislocation and spinal cord injuries.
  • Wind – strong winds are a major risk factor in tree climbing. They cause a tree climber to swing or sway sideways thus losing their balance and may end up falling or worse.
  • Blisters from ropes – straining holds when climbing trees with ropes is a climbing risk. Ropes cause blisters which may disable a tree climber’s ability to hold anything, wash or even feed themselves. Thus Blisters are a major tree climbing risk.
  • Falling items – when tree climbing especially in big forests and the likes, you can never tell what the tree holds at the top, there may be a rock from rock falling which stood on the tree’s canopy or heavy mast of ice. Once you climb that tree and shake it, the rock/ice might fall on you causing severe head and hand injuries. In worse cases, it may lead you to fall and then lands on top of you and that can be fatal. Thus falling items are a major risk to watch out for when climbing trees.


Recreational tree climbing safety measures


In order to keep the risk levels while climbing trees at bay, we need safety measures. Let us discuss a few tips on safety measures that can be taken.

  • Ensure you inspect the tree visually at all angles.
  • Test the branches of the tree before climbing
  • Use the appropriate tested safety equipment’s
  • Have a professional arborist for a trainer and guide while tree climbing
  • Wear the right tree climbing gear
  • In case children are climbing, set a safety net below the tree to catch them if a fall occurs.
  • Make you to follow all the safety measures taught to you by your trainer.
  • Never climb by any means a tree near a power line.
  • Stick to the rope at all times, it saves
  • Don’t use leg spikes, they may hurt you in case of an unexpected fall.
  • Avoid and take precautions when climbing an old tree. It may be rotten from the inside causing it to break while you are climbing it.
  • Avoid trees that are homes for birds or any other animal type for that matter. They may attack you defending while their residential territories.
  • Be familiar with TCI, awareness by Tree Climbing International might come in handy in case of an accident.


Tree Climbing Benefits

Anything did or called “recreational” has to have its sparks, so does tree climbing. A few ofTree Climbing Benefits include:-

  • Development of physical strength.
  • Tree climbing enhances focus and maximizes and individuals’ concentrations.
  • Climbing enhances self-confidence.
  • Tree climbing increases neural networking and brain functions.
  • Helps in creating problem-solving and coordination abilities in your children as they grow.
  • Enhances body flexibility
  • It’s fun and enjoyable.
  • Enhance physical development and increase motor activity in climbers,
  • It enhances the climber’s mental health.
  • Tree climbing has created employment for Climbers, trainers, and arborists
  • Source of income for factories manufacturing tree Climbing Equipment.
  • Has changed the living standards of climbers, for example, arborists.


Tree Climbing Kits

As of date, many tree climbing gear companies have emerged with different makes of tree climbing kits. Whichever climbing kit that you go for, ensure it has the following:

  • A strong flexible rope as long as you wish but not shorter than 120 feet
  • A fitting saddle and ensure its comfortable
  • Protective Gloves to protect you from blisters and splints, ant and squirrel bites though they rarely occur.
  • Foot ascender – made from anodized aluminum to keep tension on the rope and ensure easy climbing.
  • Helmet– This is for the protection of your head/skull from falling objects or hitting something in case you fall.
  • A throw weight
  • Waist belt to keep you are safe and stable when tied to a rope.
  • Rotational accessories used in hanging with Carabiner, ensuring easy and safe swings
  • Pocket knife for cutting thorny areas of the tree as you climb.


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions include

    1. Is tree climbing safe for children?

      – Yes, tree climbing is safe for children, only and only if they climb under the supervision of a parent and a trained tree-climbing.

    2. When is the best climate for tree climbing?

      – It may not be global but sunny, the calm climate is the best climate for tree climbing.

    3. What’s the appropriate age for tree climbing

      – Tree Climbing has its risks, according to TCI, climbers have to be 8years and above to be allowed to climb trees.

    4. Where do I find information on tree climbing?

      That’s easy, just google it or find books on tree climbing.

    5. Does tree climbing harm the tree?

–Yes! If you climb a tree using spikes, you will definitely harm the tree. Spikes make holes in the tree damaging vital tissues that help the tree nourish.

  1. Can you climb a tree without training?

– Yes but this is not recommended, free tree climbing can be done without training but only for small trees with limited height. It is highly recommended that you get a tree-climbing trainer before climbing trees.

Conclusively, I am certain you now know a few tips on tree climbing and can be able to decide if it is an activity that you would love to try. Don’t hold yourself back, life is all about achievements and conquering new goals. Tree Climbing might be just what you are waiting for. Go for it, and add one more conquered goal on your list of achievements.

Before you embarked on this new goal of yours, please get a professional trainer, buy the right gadgets for tree climbing and get yourself ready both physically, spiritually, and mentally. With all this in hand, you can just change your career path to a tree’s writer, an arborist, a forest guardian, or a professional tree climber in no time.

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