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Location: madagascar
Member Since: 1st Jun 2001
Total posts: 156
Posted:hello, i reliese that this is somewhat non-fire related topic but i figure fire folks tend to have unusual hobbies so i might as well ask...

are there any folks who know how to climb trees (either free climb or with harnesses) that would be willing to teach me how? i want to challenge my fear of heights and see what the upper canopy of the forest looks like. i will be traveling to the rainforests of madagascar soon and i think this would be a good skill to have for studying unusual critters. currently i am based out of Bellingham, WA.

for folks that have climbed trees what is it like? is it very different from climbing rocks? any books to recommend (like on tieing knots, harnessess,etc...)how do you overcome the fear of heights?

thanks for your input!

Location: Birmingham
Member Since: 23rd Feb 2003
Total posts: 60
Posted:to overcome the fear of heights, you fall out of the tree, it cant get any worse than your first time falling so many feet and landing on your arse, the next time you climb, you will make sure your careful.
Always worked for me.
Nowadays i usually stay on the ground when im at protest sites, but in the days when i did like the idea of sitting in trees, good strong rope, triple knotted and a proper saftey harness was very comforting.

what is it you want to do up the tree? you dont intend to hug them do you?
if your staying the night by the trees, learn to build a bender or some proper eco shelter and you'll have a great time

Location: Mpls, MN, USA
Member Since: 29th Jan 2002
Total posts: 646
Posted:As a kid I climbed trees all the time, still do every now and again. It seemed easier when I was smaller, whatever strength I've gained doesn't make up for my size when I get tangled up in small spaces up high in the branchs.

Fuzzy Dice.......................................

fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:oopsie! I thought this was about kids climbing trees.......like "ooooo there's a big tree overhanging a big lake. Bet you I can get to the top before you can........'splash'..."

I could tell you ALLLLLL about that, but mostly it's just hang on or fall off, end of story.

Not very knowledgable about proper tree climbing.

But I know about rock climbing. Maybe you should just go to a bookshop and get a climbers handbook/ropehandlers handbook. It'll tell you all about the safest and most useful knots and rope techniques for different situations. Or go to an outdoor activity place/climbing wall etc..... and they'll be able to teach you hands on

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:Really I can't picture climbing a tree with a safety harness. Then again I have never tried to climb in a virgin forest with gargantuan mega tree's of death.

You could be like all the trendy enviro freaks who have no respect for human life and just drive spikes in the the tree to hook climbing ropes on, and then leave them there for some lumberjack to hit with a saw and kill himself.

Are we there yet?
Location: australia
Member Since: 14th Mar 2001
Total posts: 1897
Posted:melissa - my partner's an arborist who climbs trees for a living using harnesses etc... your best bet is to find an arborist who might be willing to teach you. The UK has some kick ar%se tree schools and arborists.

climbing trees this way is so much fun

drop me a pm if you want to know more.


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)
Raymund Phule (Fireproof)

Enter a "Title" here:
Location: San Diego California
Member Since: 31st Dec 2001
Total posts: 2905
Posted:You know in all reality I dont see it being much different than climbing ice. Spiked shoes, maybe a pick or two.

Research on the internet, and the arborist idea is definatly a great place to start.

I wish you the best of luck cause that sure as hell sounds like fun!

Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.
Member Since: 8th Nov 2002
Total posts: 1591
Posted:I know your probably going to have to get vaccines for malaria and various other diseases which will cost you a few.

DJ Dantana
Location: Stillwater, Ok. USA
Member Since: 15th Aug 2001
Total posts: 1495
Posted::transforms back into "monkey boy" for a while:

i have been climbing trees for 20 years.

If you are going to be climbing trees, the most important this is to not trust you life to a side branch. Always use the main trunk (or very, very large side branches) to climb on. Never put your life in the trust of a side branch that is smaller than six inches in diameter. Never trust a branch that is dead or partialy dead. never trust a brach that is alive, but has dead braches coming off of it. That "six inch limit" goes up a lot if there are dead branches coming off of it. A good healthy branch of six inch diameter is usually trustworthy. If you have a branch that is five inches and mostly alive, but has some dead branches coming off of it, don't trust it.

If you are thinking of using a harness, and climbing gear and spikes, you might want to think about the damage that you will be doing to the tree using the spikes. It isn't a bad idea to use safety gear though. I have never used it befor, I always free climb. But trees in the rain forest tend to get a lot bigger than the trees I have climbed in. There are alternative methods to using spikes. Watch some movies about the rain forest sometime. "Emrald Forest" is a good one. The natives use a length of rope to tie their feet together (about a foot apart) that gives them leverage to climb the tree using their feet as a "griping devise" in addition to their hands. Use your head and think of safety, a fall from any heigth can kill you , even five feet up, depending on how you land, and trees generaly get a lot taller than that. Please be very carefull. And get in some practice on smaller trees.

Another way of climbing (and getting down) is to hug the tree with your legs and arms and worm your way up it. this is good for trees that are between a eight inches and two feet diameter, and that have no low branches.

you need to be strong and have realy good endurance to free climb. Nothing is worse than getting to a point where you can't rest, but are starting to get realy tired. it is a dangerouse sittuation, that I have luckily gotten out of, but it is very scary.

I would suggest strength training for your hands too. rock climbing skills and strength will come in handy for free climbing in trees.

we eat and we drink and we smoke and we try!

Are we there yet?
Location: australia
Member Since: 14th Mar 2001
Total posts: 1897
Posted:good point santantrue - don't use spikes - the only time spikes should be used is for a take down

the benefit of using a harness and two points of attachment is that if one point breaks, you will still generally be secure in the tree. another great thing about using harnesses is the ability to prussick up the high line rope and just hang there - if you use the right knots and grips then you can just hang in the air - it's such a groovy feeling.

An alternative to the sort of monkey grip shimmy thing santanatrue was mentioning is the use of a pole belt.


Diamond In The Rough
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Member Since: 30th Jun 2002
Total posts: 459
Posted:I had a job in my youth that required tree climbing on a daily basis. Nothing like the caliber of timber you'll find in a rainforest, mind you. Usually I did so with little more equipment than gloves, a short safety harness and on rare occasion, boot spikes. It did help to reduce my nervousness of heights as well as make me very adept at manuvering between branches. (Very helpful when yer being chased out of a tree by a frightened woodpecker )

Sanatana true had some great points, especially the six-inch rulle. Believe it! If you can, rely on the stock (trunk) of the tree. I used to use a 5 foot length of rope to shimmy up the tree using dynamic tension. A bad branch led to me falling out of a 120-foot tree once. I never trusted banches after that...'course, I was only 8 feet up at the time

I don't reccommend the climbing spikes. The trees I used them on were already dead, but still fresh enough to be safe. They give you a great grip to climb with, but the reulting gashes leave the tree wide open to infestations or infections. Even if the bark is fairly thick, it may be all the head start a disease needs.

Happy climbing

Dance like it hurts; Love like you need money; Work like someone is watching.

Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you DO criticize them, you are a mile away, and you have their shoes.

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