Many beginners excitedly want to engage in tree climbing without first learning tree climbing basics. They think that if they could raise one foot over their other foot, they are good to go. But such an idea is an immature way of trying to learn a new skill, and it is this trial-and-error method of learning things that more often leads to mishaps and injuries.
You can prevent such injuries and mitigate the risks concomitant with tree climbing if you first learn the fundamental tree climbing techniques and tips. Therefore, it will be useful to know the basic techniques and tips on tree climbing before making the first effort to climb a tree. Moreover, it will help if you first avail of the best tree climbing equipment for beginners.
List of Tree Climbing Gear & Equipment for Beginners
Tree climbing isn’t the same as rock climbing or mountain climbing, and thus, the equipment you will buy for tree climbing may vary from those of mountain or rock climbing. Yet, just like mountain climbing and rock climbing, you must have these essential pieces of equipment to ensure that your tree climbing adventure is safer and less risky. Below is the list of must-have equipment you should avail of for tree climbing:
1) Proper Tree Climbing Footwear
The terrain that you would tackle in tree climbing is different from hiking or mountain climbing. As such, you will need footwear explicitly designed for tree climbing. It will be useful to invest in footwear that offers a good grip on the tree’s cracks and grooves.
A good piece of advice is to invest in rubber shoes that feature grooved soles. Such rubber shoes will provide you with a firm and good grip on the trunks of the tree while fitting well on your feet.
Harnesses come in different varieties. Yet, I would recommend you go for those harnesses designed for tree work. Harnesses for tree climbing come with unique features that you may not readily notice. They feature a work-positioning design called sit-harness, and they may differ from rock climbing harnesses.
They are characterized by an attachment point that is low at its center and is called the bridge. They also come with side “D” rings for Lanyard/Flipline attachment.
If you already have the harness, you will need a flipline. It attaches to the D ring at one side of the harness. You use the flipline to safely and securely position yourself at the side of the tree’s trunk by placing it around the tree trunk. You clip the loose end of the flipline to the other D ring of the harness.
If you are going to engage in spur climbing, you would surely need the flipline. Moreover, it will always come in handy in securing your harness around the tree trunk in any tree-climbing undertaking. Furthermore, it provides a secondary way of attaching yourself to the tree’s trunk aside from the rope while cutting through the tree’s trunk.
As a friction hitch, the Prusik works as an adjuster of your position on the rope. It lets you descend and ascend the tree with ease. You can tie it out at the one end of the climbing line, or you can use a separate short cord designed for high resistance to heat.
For example, when you descend a tree, your descent creates friction and produces much heat that could melt the ordinary cord. The Prusik, however, is designed to withstand intense heat, and you can buy it by the meter.
5) Flipline Adjuster
The lanyard system may come in a complete package or not. If it comes in a complete package, it will have the lanyard adjuster. The lanyard adjuster works to shorten or lengthen the lanyard, and it fine-tunes your position while working.
6) Climbing Rope
When choosing a rope, you should choose something meant for tree climbing and not for rock climbing or any other climbing type. The reason is that rock climbing ropes may behave differently when utilized for various applications. Your life and safety depend on the rope you are using. As such, climbing ropes are also referred to as lifelines. It will be helpful to know that not all ropes are suitable for tree climbing.
Rock climbing ropes are more often dynamic ropes that have stretchy fibers designed to assuage the climber’s fall. Caving ropes, on the other hand, are stiff and is challenging to knot. Hence, it will help if you do not use dynamic ropes for tree climbing. Instead, it will be useful to use a semi-static or static rope that moderately stretches and does not elongate much.
Carabiners come in a wide variety of options. However, carabiners for tree climbing should come with triple-action and auto-locking features. You can use carabiners for tree climbing and use the steel carabiners for rigging.
Carabiners work to secure the connections between the climbing rope, lanyard, and prusik to your harness. For tree climbing purposes, you will need at least two carabiners. Yet, it will be useful to have at least four or more at your disposal.
8) Spurs and Spikes
You can position yourself nicely on the tree trunks or limbs that do not come with a natural foothold if you have the spurs. Spurs let you walk up the tree trunk with the help of a harness and flipline. However, experts and environmentalists believe that you should not use spurs unless you will remove the tree or condemn the tree, for the spurs can wound the tree.
You will need gloves to assuage the impact of friction on your hands. They can also help protect your hands from injuries. They may not be essential when engaging in tree climbing, but they can surely come in handy as protection to your hands.
It will be useful to choose the best and most appropriate gloves for arborists or tree climbing when shopping for the best hand gloves. Your choice also should comply with the EN standards to provide you with maximum protection.
As a beginner, do not pretend to be an advanced climber, for such a swashbuckling attitude often leads to mishaps and disaster. Know your level of expertise and keep that level in your mind so that you will be very careful. Remember that you do not climb a tree to impress other people. You do it either for trimming the tree or for recreational purposes.
Whatever your goal or reason for climbing a tree, you should ensure that you do it right. You should equip yourself with adequate knowledge and gear and have yourself mentored by an expert tree climber. In doing so, you can mitigate the risks concomitant with tree climbing activities, and your tree climbing activities will be safe.