Tree failure, while I was climbing it.

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
Well, I just had this happen. Hollow silver maple, broke at the base while I was climbing. I knew it was hollow, but I thought it would hold. One of my guys suggested I tie into the tree behind it so I threw my rope into a crotch I deemed worthy. By the time I was high enough to start cutting my rope was at too high of an angle and slid down the branch to a y. When the tension came off my climbing line putting my full weigh onto the tree, it broke. By the time the tree hit the chimney, most of the weight was on my rope, cushioning the blow to the chimney enough to cause no damage. My lanyard was around the tree too, so my climbing system was now the rigging holding up the tree. My guys got ropes to me which I was able to throw into the other tree and they tied it off so I could climb down. We were then able to rig the tree off of the house. No damage, no injuries, but a hell of a close call. Next time, I will take the time to set my climbing line better and set a rope or ropes from the ground to stabilise the tree. Too many years of climbing trees like this without incident definitly made me a little complacent. Complacency gets experienced climbers killed. I know that, but I guess I needed this to bring it to a point of action.20190807_112911.jpg20190807_112826.jpg
 

Chaplain242

Well-Known Member
Thank goodness that chimney was tough, lucked out there with no damage. Glad your ok. Come close but haven’t had one collapse on me yet...
 

Bob Bob

Well-Known Member
Thanks for sharing this experience. Glad that everyone and everything was OK at the end of the day. Can't imagine the sinking feeling of having a tree fail while I was climbing it.
 

rope-a-dope

Well-Known Member
I had a tree fall out from under me 2 months ago. I had climb and rigging lines in another tree. A super dead already failed pine caught in some little maples. I knew I didn't want to be attached to it in any way, it was soooooo rotten. We couldn't get it tip tied with throw line so I got up to where I could tie it on and lanyard went on the supporting maple to wait for the GRCS. And then half of the maple under the pine snapped, and the whole thing crashed into the house below.
All I did was step on it a few times...
Don't ever skip a precaution if you think of one to take. We set support/guy lines frequently on trees that have glaring defects. AND LISTEN TO YOUR GROUND GUYS.
Very glad to hear the climb line saved the day in another tree.
 
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RBJtree

Well-Known Member
Close call!

Another case where a break away lanyard would have been warranted.

I'm glad your tie in point held!

Did you get much 'saddle squeeze'?
No saddle squeeze. I'm in a tree motion and always use the lower d's for my lanyard. So, I didn't look at this aspect when it was happening, too focused on saving house and life, but the climb line must have slid the whole way to one side of the bridge, and the lanyard and bridge was then making a complete circle with the leg loops locked into place by the opposing pressures and the stopper knots. This kept me from being squeezed, and the relatively short bridge length I was using stopped my legs from being ripped apart. I was actually quite comfortable apart from one leg having slightly restricted circulation and I couldn't't even try to adjust because every time I moved my feet the tree would shift, so I just let it go until the rigging was set.
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
A breakaway positioning lanyard? I never heard of anyone using such a thing. Sounds like it might cause as much danger as it saves you from. In this case, it would probably have resulted in the chimney breaking, maybe I would have taken a swing back into the tree I was tied into. If it was a fall arrest type breakaway lanyard that just lengthens to relieve shock, it might have allowed the tree to break the chimney , fall off the stump, roll off the house, and try to drag me down with it. I think my saftey gear worked quite well today. Saved me, and my customers house.
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
Another aspect to this situation I would like to share. I was using a hh2 on my climbing line in a ddrt/mrs setup and my lanyard adjuster was a distel hitch and tending pulley. When I was ready to move, the distel was locked up solid, but the hh2 moved easily. The hh2 with the standard hitch was able to hold the weight without slipping, and release when I wanted it to. Some other devices or setups may have slipped under that much pressure, or locked up. Big thanks to @pctree for designing a device that helped make this a walk away experience!
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
So what did your bridge do? It pulled both lower Ds outwards and just compressed the stopper knots?

Would this have been worse chance of injury if your lanyard was on the upper Ds on the hips?
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
So what did your bridge do? It pulled both lower Ds outwards and just compressed the stopper knots?

Would this have been worse chance of injury if your lanyard was on the upper Ds on the hips?
I believe that's what it did. I really didn't think about it while I was there and didn't look to see, but it's the only thing that makes sense. if my lanyard had been on my hips, I think it would have had more of a chance to squeeze me, twist me, or turn me.
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
Consider the loads your gear saw and replace as needed. The TM is rated fairly low, so I’d think twice about climbing in it

Glad your whole!
Everything is definitely getting a good inspection and considering replacement.
 
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Woodwork

Active Member
Man, that had to have been scary. Glad you're OK, thanks for posting up to tell us about it.

I can't remember whether I dreamed this or read it somewhere, but it seems like somewhere along the line I saw (or dreamed) of someone saying that to prevent being in the Circle of Death when you cut a tree while on the lanyard, one method would be to attach both ends of the lanyard to ONE ring on the saddle (I guess a ring on the bridge to center it), so that if something happened, if the tree chaired or whatever, you wouldn't be inside the circle with the tree. Is that something people actually do, or did I imagine this or mis-read something somehow?
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
Man, that had to have been scary. Glad you're OK, thanks for posting up to tell us about it.

I can't remember whether I dreamed this or read it somewhere, but it seems like somewhere along the line I saw (or dreamed) of someone saying that to prevent being in the Circle of Death when you cut a tree while on the lanyard, one method would be to attach both ends of the lanyard to ONE ring on the saddle (I guess a ring on the bridge to center it), so that if something happened, if the tree chaired or whatever, you wouldn't be inside the circle with the tree. Is that something people actually do, or did I imagine this or mis-read something somehow?
I have never done the 1 ring thing exactly for that reason, but apparently with a short enough bridge, using the lower d's on the treemo works for that!
I always use two attachment points when cutting on a spar or blowing out a top, my positioning lanyard on my lower d's, and a climbing line. The climbing line is sometimes choked in a srt setup, sometimes just used like a second lanyard, but connected to the bridge ring/swivel/ whatever you use. Anyway, with my setup, I guess both the lanyard and the climbing line are circle of death protection as long as the adjuster/positioner/prussik/multisender can hold tight. Never thought of that before.
 
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