How to Climb Trees With a Rope & Climbing Harness

Written by giselle diamond
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If you need to climb trees for your job (or if you are simply interested in tree climbing), you may want to learn to use a rope and climbing harness. A tree-climbing harness gives more support than a rock-climbing harness. The object is to get into the trees and see the view from there. You might decide to sit in the trees for hours and enjoy the view.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tree-climbing rope and harness
  • Jugging or prusiking devices
  • Proper safety gear
  • Helmet
  • Gloves
  • Proper shoes
  • Binoculars

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  1. 1

    Select the right tree for your level. The tree should be healthy and at least 18 inches in girth. If you pick a diseased or dead tree, your chances of falling are great. The tree also has to have branches low enough for your first rope to reach.

  2. 2

    Check to see if there are potential dangers lurking in the tree you want to climb. If a tree has had lightening strike it, that is a bad sign, because the branches up on top could be dead. Look for external hazards like power lines; don’t climb close to them.

  3. 3

    Use the double-rope technique (DRT) for trees up to 100 feet tall, such as oaks, poplars, maples and pines. With DRT, you are able to cut down or completely eliminate any drag on the rope. DRT also offers more protection because you have the extra rope.

  4. 4

    Throw your rope over the branch that you want to climb. Attach your saddle on both sides like a swing. Tie a Blake’s hitch knot. Then pull just on the one side to pull you up. You use your feet to lock, which is called the self-belay method.

  5. 5

    Climb trees higher than 100 feet—such as redwoods, spruce and firs—with the single rope technique (SRT). The SRT is used more in complete straight-line routes and offers ample protection for this type of climbing. For ascent (also called jugging or prusiking), use ascenders (devices that lock in place and hold your weight when a downward force is applied). For descent, use the petzl stop, a self-locking device that stops or considerably slows descent when the handle is released.

  6. 6

    Select tools that are good for your style of rope climbing, and that you are comfortable carrying. Besides your rope and harness, you will need a helmet and gloves. There are also a host of different optional tools that you can purchase, such as hammocks or mechanical rope climbers. The basic equipment for tree climbing can cost you under £260.

Tips and warnings

  • No matter how much book learning you have, there is nothing like training on the job. Get proper lessons to learn different techniques before you attempt any tree climbing on your own.
  • Always stay on your rope. You never know when you might have to descend in hurry because of wildlife or some other hazard.
  • Don't be careless. You will be going to heights that you most likely have not climbed to before.

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