Recreational tree climbing
Climbing trees isn't just for kids anymore. Recreational tree climbing has become a hobby for people of all ages who have learned to do it safely.
Peter Jenkins is the founder of Tree Climbers International and has been a recreational tree climber for almost 30 years. He says it’s possible to learn to climb trees on your own by studying instructional DVDs and books. But many people might feel more comfortable taking a class led by professionals to learn how to use equipment correctly and safely.
"They learn how to tie all the knots, how to use a throw bag. A throw bag is a little beanbag weight on a very thin line. That’s what you throw over the branch to pull your rope and your cambium saver up into the tree," Jenkins explains. "A cambium is a leather sleeve that you put up into the tree with a slip knot and this prevents the rope from rubbing directly on the wood surface so you don’t hurt the tree."
"There are two different kinds of routes in climbing a tree. There’s a trunk route and then there’s a branch route. A branch route is where you’re climbing a bit away from the trunk on a good sized limb and you’re just sort of like doing a midair climb, where you’re just climbing straight up the ropes and you’re hanging in midair," Jenkins says. "And then there’s the trunk route, and this is the safest way, and this is where you loop your rope over a branch that’s connected to the trunk."
If you want to try this sport, Jenkins says there are a few considerations to make. First, choose your trees carefully. Any tree that looks dead, sick or damaged should be avoided. Trees that have spreading branches, like oak and ash, are most popular among climbers.
Second, find a legal place to climb. Jenkins says the best place is on your property.
Radio interview source: Peter Jenkins, Founder, Tree Climbers International
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