First Steps


Well-Known Member
Agree that the HH is an excellent device but for my climbing style too heavy. ZK-2 and hitch is light and responsive which suits me. The other aspect is I like the option for a quick changeover to DdRT by simply detaching the wrench from the system. As always with technical tree climbing there is no best way, just the way that works best for you. -AJ


Well-Known Member
While I'm at it I'll defend DdRT ;-) I'm SRT climbing 80% of the time but there are times when DdRT is very handy, I think it will always be part of a versatile climber's toolkit. For example yesterday I had a 150' line cinched at about 95' in the top of a white pine. When I wanted to get out of the tree I could've installed a pull down to retrieve the rope but the tree had a super gnarly crown and the odds for a hangup were too high. Instead I switched over to DdRT and made it out of the tree in 3 very clean pitches, no fuss, no worries getting my rope out of the tree once on the ground. I encourage you to refine a clean and simple DdRT system, it may help bail you out when you least expect and most need it. -AJ


Active Member
Hey Mick,
As a fellow member of the over 60 club, I enjoyed reading your post. I started out in DdRT, and I still use it, however my main ride these days is the HH, and climbing with it has been a revelation! Like you, I mostly climb alone, in the woods nearby my house. You can't beat SRT for those long ascents. Most of my first pitches are at least 70', and the pine I climbed recently was 90' to my first pitch. Climbing in the woods has its own set of challenges. There was a very small window in the canopy, and after a few tries I was able to hit my target with the BigShot. I set a basal anchor and was able to get up above the canopy. It was like being in another world! I spent some time enjoying the view, and moving on up in the tree. Now that I've isolated that branch, I'll be able to set up a canopy anchor on my next go-round. One of the things I like about DdRT is being able to take my rope with me if I want to, and with a canopy anchor that becomes possible in SRT. Also, with that setup, it's very easy to switch between SRT and DdRT. I still have a lot to learn, especially moving about SRT in broadleaf trees. But that's what I love about climbing trees, endless possibilities for adventure and learning new things.
Last edited:


Active Member
I second Moss's endorsement of DdRT. It's still very useful, and requires mainly just the rope you're already climbing on. If you're climbing SRT, just add a friction saver, a split tail and a slack tending pulley to your gear bag, and you're ready for just about anything.
Just read this great write up and want to know if Mick has evolved his climbing style any to expand beyond the HH since 2014.
Mick you out there?


Well-Known Member
Ha, bringing up an old thread. I'm surprised at myself though, this time around I realized the original incident reported (hanging upside down on a RADS system after trying to use a Pantin with it) was worth commenting on. Many climbers have internalized the solution or automatically avoid getting into the situation but it's worth mentioning for newbies using foot ascenders. For any climbing system paired with a Pantin or CT etc. foot ascender, a new climber can get into trouble when they raise their Pantin foot too high and get bent into a pretzl. Worse case is what the OP reported, the more the climber struggles the higher their foot goes towards their hitch or multicender, next thing they know they're trapped inverted. The solution is simple but not obvious when you're stuck: undo the foot ascender strap and take your foot out. With the CT it's super easy with the big orange pull strap on it which is like a quick release.

The other thing I missed mentioning is, and this is the counter-intuitive mindset: Gear and and technical advances improve climbing ease and safety, but... it's all about ability to be in a tree. Climbing skill and tree smarts are all about experience and have nothing to do with gear. Everyone knows a minimalist/old-school climber who can get around in a tree like no one's business. Love the gear and continually advancing rope techniques but how you approach, assess, and function in a tree has nothing to do with gear. It is natural, understandable and important for new climbers to focus on gear but it is actually not the most important factor in being a good and successful/safe climber.


Well-Known Member
I am new to tree climbing and one of the over-60 lot too, and I confess I am enjoying trying some of this new gear (Bone, SAKA, etc.). The climbing I have done in the past professionally (not in trees) was rather old school, before all these neat innovations. But one thing I am trying hard not to do is let the gear, and messing with it, get in the way of just enjoying the tree itself and being up there. I ascend then just find a place to lanyard in and relax to take stock of how high I am and have a good look at the tree around me. Trees are such amazing creations, no two alike. I feel like a kid again when I get up in one! It is fun to try combinations of gear and puzzle over redirects and such, but I am trying to keep that subordinate to being aware of the tree itself and what it can tell me. I wonder how you guys feel who have to do this for a living; I mean it must be kinda sad when you have to take down a nice big healthy tree for some reason. I think I would find that hard duty. I worked at a ship breaking yard for a while when I was younger and that was sad too. Ships have sort of a soul, a personality, and it really feels like you are cutting up something that had lived. I reckon any big, older tree would be even harder that way. They are actually living things and often so old.

cheers, Stew


Well-Known Member
I guess some of the best threads are meant to be read twice lol. And having read the whole thing I may as well comment on the knee ascender issue.

Having started SRT with a Frogwalker (Pantin, Croll, Ascender w/footloop) then trying both SAKA and HAAS I decided it's best (for me) to stick with the upper ascender/footloop combo above the wrench above the Pantin, I guess it's a personal preference, plus having the CT Quickroll ascender on my harness gives me a quick and easy option for a RADS if needed.

Long live a great thread, anybody seen Mick?