is an activity consisting of ascending and moving around in the canopy
Tree climbing is safe when done with the proper training and equipment. Use of a rope, helmet, and harness are the minimum requirements to ensure the safety of the climber. Other equipment can also be used depending on the experience and skill of the tree climber. Some tree climbers take special hammocks called "Treeboats" with them into the tree canopies where they can enjoy a picnic or nap, or spend the night.
Tree climbing is an "on rope" activity that employs a mixture of techniques and gear derived from rock climbers, cave explorers, sailors and loggers. Modern tree climbing techniques are a derivative of these other activities. These techniques are used to climb trees for many purposes, including recreation, sport, research, and activism.
commonly climb trees for play. Professional arborists
have been climbing trees since the 1940s in North America.
Tree climbing as a recreational activity emerged in the early 1980s in the USA, pioneered largely by environmentalists. Now there are many organizations around the world that promote tree climbing.
Many different techniques are used to climb trees depending on the climbers individual style, purpose and preferences, as well as the type of tree and difficulty of the climb. The difficulty of any particular climb depends on many factors; the regularity of branching, the brittleness of dead wood in some species, whether the bark is rough or smooth, the width of the trunk and branches, the height of the tree, the location of the tree and the weather are all factors.
The main technique
The main technique of climbing a tree, if the tree allows for it, is free solo climbing
, wherein the climber climbs the tree itself without the use of a rope or ladder. For all but very experienced climbers, this type of climbing is not recommended on trees that are particularly tall or difficult to climb, given the inherent risk of falling. But is quite popular among climbers from when they start climbing until they decide to do rope technique.
Other techniques used are free climbing, self-belayed climbing with a Doubled Rope Technique, Single Rope Technique, and lead climbing. A climber can use several different techniques over the course of a climb, choosing the best method for the moment. The first obstacle is getting into the tree, which demands either employing techniques of aid climbing
such as ascending a fixed rope, ladder or etrier
, or else free climbing
up limbs or other structures into the tree.
- Doubled Rope Technique (DdRT) is used to self belay the climber in such a way that the rope can be retrieved without going back up the tree. One end of the rope is fastened to the climber's saddle (harness), from there the rope passes around the tree and back to a friction hitch which is also attached to the climber. This system allows the climber to easily adjust the rope to provide a belay if free climbing, or to go up or down if hanging on the rope. As long as there is minimal slack in the system, any fall will be restrained.
- Single Rope Technique (SRT) is used mainly for getting to the top of large trees which cannot be easily free climbed. With the adequate hardware, a throw line, an attached weight, and a launching system (e.g., a bow or slingshot), a climbing rope can be anchored to a branch very high in the tree. This is done by launching the weight (with the throw line attached) over the desired limb and tying the climbing rope to the unweighted end. The climbing rope is then hauled over the branch by pulling on the throw line. The line is anchored to the trunk or to the high limb itself by running one end through a closed bight made in the other end. The climber then ascends the rope using a set of friction hitchs or mechanical ascenders) to obtain the desired limb. With practice this method is typically fastest and requires the least amount of hardware. One drawback is that it does not necessarily involve directly ascending the tree itself, as the vast majority of the time spent climbing is ascending the rope, and not the tree itself. Additionally, it is typically not as safe as other methods, as the climber must trust without prior inspection a single branch high in the tree for the duration of the ascent.
- Lead climbing technique is employed by climber where points of protection are formed by girthing the tree's limbs with slings. Once the lead climber ascends the tree, he or she may create a belay or top rope anchor or else simply rappel down. In the event that an anchor is created, other climbers can subsequently climb the tree on belay without having to lead. Drawbacks to this method include the probability of hitting a lower limb or the main trunk in the event of a fall. Due to this risk, climbers typically wear climbing helmets.