Newbie climber - how to climb tree with no proper crotches, without using spurs?

Verdant

New Member
I have been working with an arborist friend who's put me on a hitch climber/VT hitch setup with ddrt. I basically just put a throwline over a crotch and can climb that, that's about the extent of my knowledge.

I'm wondering how you could climb this tree near to me - - the branches seem too small to attach to, and without using spurs I wonder how could it be climbed?
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
Just like how @Mowerr said, then when you got both ends of the rope, pull up a Yosemite bowline or an Alpine Butterfly to choke around the stem. It could be a tiny twig holding the rope up there when setting it, but once choked right, you'll be putting your weight on the stem, the branch won't matter anymore.

You could also keep choking loop runners and stepping in them as you go up with a lanyard. Wouldn't be my first choice, but it's not too hard for short ascents.
 

Verdant

New Member
Just like how @Mowerr said, then when you got both ends of the rope, pull up a Yosemite bowline or an Alpine Butterfly to choke around the stem. It could be a tiny twig holding the rope up there when setting it, but once choked right, you'll be putting your weight on the stem, the branch won't matter anymore.

You could also keep choking loop runners and stepping in them as you go up with a lanyard. Wouldn't be my first choice, but it's not too hard for short ascents.
Don't want to sound slow here but I'm new and trying to expand my knowledge and just trying to get all this straight -

The sequence of operations would be to first send throwline up to near top of tree. Then you would get the SRT climbing rope up via the throwline, and with a running bowline to secure the climbing rope that would be good enough for your tie in? Literally just a running bowline, then you climb SRT up the free end of the rope? It doesn't need a few wraps or anything, just that's enough to hold you?

The lanyard idea is interesting. Would you just use 2 webbing straps wrapped around the tree and alternately step in em, essentially using them as you would spurs?
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
Running bowline with Yosemite backup. Plain running bowline could possibly fail if loaded then unloaded a few times.
Alpine Butterfly is easier for me, easier to retrieve, dead simple to tie.

SRT really requires a bit more gear that's not found in most DdRT setups.

What sucks about the choked loop runner method (besides being slower) is you'll be leaving the choked loop behind as you advance, so you'd need a bunch of them. You can make some out of rope with grapevine knots if you got a rope to sacrifice.

What are you doing to the tree anyways? Climbing for fun? If trimming or removing it, I would get a ton of it with a pole saw. Pic may be deceiving me, but looks pretty small.
 
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moss

Well-Known Member
You can use two girthed slings as footholds. You’ll need to alternate a lanyard and your main climbing line choked on the trunk SRT (many different ways to do that). It’s slow but works. When you step up on one sling take the lower one out and put it above the sling you’re standing on. And so on.
-AJ
 

Verdant

New Member
Running bowline with Yosemite backup. Plain running bowline could possibly fail if loaded then unloaded a few times.
Alpine Butterfly is easier for me, easier to retrieve, dead simple to tie.

SRT really requires a bit more gear that's not found in most DdRT setups.

What sucks about the choked loop runner method (besides being slower) is you'll be leaving the choked loop behind as you advance, so you'd need a bunch of them. You can make some out of rope with grapevine knots if you got a rope to sacrifice.

What are you doing to the tree anyways? Climbing for fun? If trimming or removing it, I would get a ton of it with a pole saw. Pic may be deceiving me, but looks pretty small.
Its a job my friend has, customer estimates tree at 8 metres tall and wants it cut to half current height (will look horrible but that's what they want..).
 

Verdant

New Member
You can use two girthed slings as footholds. You’ll need to alternate a lanyard and your main climbing line choked on the trunk SRT (many different ways to do that). It’s slow but works. When you step up on one sling take the lower one out and put it above the sling you’re standing on. And so on.
-AJ
Could you explain some ways you might alternate lanyard/main climbing line choked on the trunk SRT, out of interest? I have no idea how you would even go about that
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
That's a shame, it'd be a pretty little birch with just a little maintenance pruning. If it even survives a 50% topping, it's just gonna sucker out like crazy and the stem will start decaying at the topping cut.

I'd try to not do it... but if I did, I'd probably do it with a pole saw, maybe stand on the shed for some of it. Also I'd do it before it's growing season, like late winter.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
Could you explain some ways you might alternate lanyard/main climbing line choked on the trunk SRT, out of interest? I have no idea how you would even go about that
Here’s another way to look at it, you asked in the original post how to ascend a trunk without spikes when the branches are too small to hang a rope on. Girthed sling runners replace the spikes. The rest of it (the lanyard and main climbing line) is the same as if you were climbing with spikes.

I agree with southsoundtree’s comment, And more directly to the point, I believe it would be very smart to work on tree climbing fundamentals before attempting tree work on rope.
-AJ
 

Verdant

New Member
Here’s another way to look at it, you asked in the original post how to ascend a trunk without spikes when the branches are too small to hang a rope on. Girthed sling runners replace the spikes. The rest of it (the lanyard and main climbing line) is the same as if you were climbing with spikes.
-AJ
With you now, thanks
 

SomethingWitty

Arkansawyer
Its a job my friend has, customer estimates tree at 8 metres tall and wants it cut to half current height (will look horrible but that's what they want..).
I can't help but be repulsed by someone who is clearly not qualified to make tree care decisions insisting on trying to.
If they can tell me that pruning properly is not the way that they want it done, they can do the shoddy work. If you wouldn't put a plaque with your name in front of it, don't do it.
 

Barc Buster

Well-Known Member
I don't mean to sound like a dick but read this entire thread here:

Then tell your friend and the client to call a qualified pro. Sheesh what is it with these threads lately!

P.s. happy to point you to books to further your climbing education, but refuse to help you mangle a perfectly good living organism.
 

climbingmonkey24

Active Member
Don't want to sound slow here but I'm new and trying to expand my knowledge and just trying to get all this straight -

The sequence of operations would be to first send throwline up to near top of tree. Then you would get the SRT climbing rope up via the throwline, and with a running bowline to secure the climbing rope that would be good enough for your tie in? Literally just a running bowline, then you climb SRT up the free end of the rope? It doesn't need a few wraps or anything, just that's enough to hold you?

The lanyard idea is interesting. Would you just use 2 webbing straps wrapped around the tree and alternately step in em, essentially using them as you would spurs?
Basically when you just shoot the throwline into the canopy you are likely to go over multiple limbs whereas with Ddrt you are trying to just isolate one limb. So when your climbing line is over multiple limbs in a situation like this where there are no good crotches or good sized limbs to isolate it is safer because if one limb was to fail you have multiple limbs beneath that limb still supporting your rope. Granted, that doesn't mean you shoot your line over a few twigs and call it a day. Common sense here. You want to try and get the rope over as good of a branch as possible, but like in your pine trees or firs or spruces, you are likely gonna get the rope over many branches if you just do a canopy shot. So you should be plenty secure and then as mentioned, tie your basal anchor.
 

climbingmonkey24

Active Member
Its a job my friend has, customer estimates tree at 8 metres tall and wants it cut to half current height (will look horrible but that's what they want..).
Unless you have a fair amount of time of practice in climbing alone you have no business trying to remove a tree. Don't mean to be harsh, but this business can get you or others around you seriously hurt or even killed. You don't want to be learning basic climbing principles for the first time when you are trying to remove a tree at the same time.

My advice would be if you want to get into tree climbing or tree work start practicing out small stuff and go from there. It's much different in the real world than simply talking about it on a forum. What are you going to do if you are cutting a top or a large chunk and it sits back on your bar, do you know how to recover from the situation?

When I started I bought some basic climbing equipment and just kept climbing in my backyard. Each time I'd go a little higher. Then try out new stuff such as limb walking, etc.

I still remember when I first started climbing I decided I would start doing tree work. Put an ad out, got some calls. Went to one job, went up the tree and kind of froze because I was unsure of what to do. How to get out to the branches I needed to cut, etc. Used the excuse that I needed spurs and left and came back another day. Still wasn't able to get it. It wasn't that it was impossible it was that I didn't have the experience. So that was the end of that. Wasted my time and didn't make anything and I dropped my chainsaw and broke the bar.

After that, I just continued to rec climb in my yard. Maybe do a few small trim jobs or something for neighbors or people that I know, but nothing too advanced that was beyond my capabilities.

And now I've been climbing for a while, have taken down trees with with a crane, remove stuff over a house, the usual deal. And guess what? I still have lots to learn. This business is a never ending process of constant learning. Doesn't matter if you've been climbing for one year or ten years, there is always new stuff to learn.

It takes time. But don't rush the process or be ignorant of the dangers with tree work. Too often people nowadays don't want to pay a qualified pro to perform tree work so they decide they are gonna do it themselves or they look for someone who calls themselves a "tree guy" and doesn't even check their insurance and then an accident or catastrophe happens.

It's not just about climbing the tree and cutting, it's also about having the knowledge you get from experience to be able to handle yourself in the event things don't go as planned or takes a turn for the worst. And that holds true whether it's a hundred foot pine or a 30 ft maple. Don't think for one second that just because a tree is smaller it is any less dangerous. When you think like that you get complacent and accidents happen. Tree work / logging is considered the most dangerous job there is I believe. You gotta use your head and know what you can and can't do, and when more experience is required.
 
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