getting used to climbing with spurrs

rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods
The stomping and subsequent yanking is murder to one’s joints too. Nobody’s legs are supposed to see hard, yanking, pull forces like that, and I’m certain the stomping push force is not good.. An old coworker of mine had these shitty dull Klein’s that needed that kind of force to function. He made them work, he was a good capable climber, but wouldn't ya know he’s having hip and knee pain before he’s 40 years old?

For most trees around here, just stepping up with my body weight is sufficient to set the gaff deep enough.
Yep. Even in my shaggy barked trees a light touch with the feet is key for fluidity, speed, efficiency, solid work positioning (more on this later), and longevity.....

 

treesap

Well-Known Member
Location
east TN
looks like I will probably be picking up a gaff gauge (I know, I know I should already have one)
I know the tip on mine isnt sharpened to the right radius, and my body weight is on the light side (About 115) although technique is huge (Which I need work)
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
Some people may disagree with me here and I of course respect everyone's opinion. I'm not a huge fan of spiking up a spar with just a lanyard and part of that is simply what I as a climber am comfortable with. It's a matter of having that second tie in and not relying on just a lanyard for me at least.

If I can get a tie in above first I will. If not, what I typically will do is cinch my climbing line around the trunk (either just clip on to itself with carabiner or use a knot), and then advance that cinched climbing line up the spar with the lanyard. Can even advance both at the same time by leaving some slack in the climb line and just holding it with the lanyard. If you do it right you should be able to move just as fast and efficient as you would with just the lanyard.

Three primary reasons I like to do this.

#1 In case of emergency where I may need to make a quick bail out.
#2 If I slip or gaff out, the climb line will tighten and catch me so I don't slide down the trunk.
#3 The added safety of the second tie in.

To some this may sound like more work but I don't really consider it to be. I've spiked up spars with just a lanyard before. Doesn't really take anymore time at least in my opinion.

I'm not saying I'm right either, but I can understand not being totally comfortable on spurs to the point of running up a 100 ft spar like nothing because I do more pruning than removals so do not have a need for spurs on a regular basis.

Aside from that, you need to get comfortable on spurs and have confidence in your ability to climb with them in my opinion. That comes with practice. Practice outside of the job, so you can take as much time as you like trying different things and getting the feel for it.

Also @treesap when you talk about spiking down, do you mean in between cuts? There's different things and ways to go about it where you can descend on your line and then retrieve your line without actually having to climb down on the spikes, which also saves time and is less stress on your joints. My buddy and I took down a huge pine this past weekend and he climbed, and he had this cool thing that he put around the spar and then put his climbing line through and he would descend to where the next cut would be and we were taking large pieces, and he was able to retrieve his rope from above him. Not sure what the name of it is, would have to ask.
 
Last edited:

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
My buddy and I took down a huge pine this past weekend and he climbed, and he had this cool thing that he put around the spar and then put his climbing line through and he would descend to where the next cut would be and we were taking large pieces, and he was able to retrieve his rope from above him. Not sure what the name of it is, would have to ask.
That kind of system recently came up in this thread. https://www.treebuzz.com/forum/threads/buckingham-tree-squeeze.40053/
 

treesap

Well-Known Member
Location
east TN
since all my stuff is practice, and not work (For now) im not coming down from topping cuts (Usually) BUT it still applies, due to some gear restrictions there are some trees that are a real pain to come back down, although on SRT I can set a choking anchor, and a retrieval line which works good.

I also run a afs choked around the spar on DRT
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods

treesap

Well-Known Member
Location
east TN
just got back from a short climb, ran my flipline loose and just kept a decent body position with my arms, helluva lot better
thanks Rico
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA

I posted some thoughts in that thread and still use the T.S. frequently since I almost never set lines before spurning up on removal jobs. As some said it is just a glorified adjustable friction saver, but the stiffness makes it behave more like a steel-core flipline than a floppy rope. Most of the trees I'm doing wind up with a few limbs or at least stubs most of the length of the trunk, so most of the way even before the main canopy, I need to be running my saw, so it allows for an easily advanceable second tie-in that is also retrievable. But it's really a DRT tool. I tie in DRT as I'm spuring up with my flipline and that, take the top, and if I want, can switch to SRT with a long tail to rap back down without having to spur down. Or as is often the case, I can just rap to the ground on that system which is already setup, and drop the remaining log from the ground.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
Location
Barbados
His illustrations on contact points and gaff placement are nonsense. He also forgot to mention one of the leading causes of gaff outs. Poor body position...Climbers who are uncomfortable in spurs tend to run their flipline too tight, which causes them to be in too upright of a position, which leads to gaff outs....
Also if too straight up, you will be in a crappy position to use a big saw. All cramped up. Dangerous position to be in. Little control.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Location
redwoods
@rico, what advice would you give about contact points and gaff placement?
First is his notion that our gaff placement/orientation/direction should always be pointed directly at the pith of the tree...Pure nonsense...Spur placement is fluid, depending on size of tree, lean of tree, what your are trying to accomplish at any given moment, ect, ect. Hell, many times one foot is doing something very different than the other foot depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

Second is his notion that we should create a point of contact with the inside of our toe area touching the tree....Pure blasphemy, and wrong on so many levels..Internally rotating the leg/foot while in spurs? Who would do such a thing? It will literally lead to more gaff outs, and will put undue and unnecessary stress on your knees...not to mention its completely unnatural and highly inefficient.

A truly good spur climber dances on the tip of his gaffs.
 
Last edited:

Brando CalPankian

Active Member
Location
Washington
His illustrations on contact points and gaff placement are nonsense. He also forgot to mention one of the leading causes of gaff outs. Poor body position...Climbers who are uncomfortable in spurs tend to run their flipline too tight, which causes them to be in too upright of a position, which leads to gaff outs....
^this
 

TimKilpatrick

New Member
Location
PNW
First is his notion that our gaff placement/orientation/direction should always be pointed directly at the pith of the tree...Pure nonsense...Spur placement is fluid, depending on size of tree, lean of tree, what your are trying to accomplish at any given moment, ect, ect. Hell, many times one foot is doing something very different than the other foot depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

Second is his notion that we should create a point of contact with the inside of our toe area touching the tree....Pure blasphemy, and wrong on so many levels..Internally rotating the leg/foot while in spurs? Who would do such a thing? It will literally lead to more gaff outs, and will put undue and unnecessary stress on your knees...not to mention its completely unnatural and highly inefficient.

A truly good spur climber dances on the tip of his gaffs.
Pure nonsense? That’s a little harsh. I find his suggestion of gaff placement helpful. Especially on small diameter spars when balancing becomes difficult but double wrapping my lanyard is excessive. I don’t find it necessary to awkwardly rotate the leg/foot to gain toe to tree contact. That’s a bit of an exaggeration on your part. It’s easy and helpful in some situations.
I agree with your comments about proper body positioning, excellent point.
Please remember not everyone is a master “spur climber dancing on the tips of his gaffs”. Guys are asking questions about basic climbing skills because they are new to climbing and haven’t gained your superior level of confidence yet.
You’re very quick to discount a well written, informative article put out by some of the most respected, collaborative talent in our industry. May I suggest you put all your great wisdom to use and start a blog? You can call it I’m The Best There Is, Plain and Simple! You could put down what you don’t agree with and write informing articles on advanced tree climbing skills and brag about how your feet do different things. When you do be sure to have someone educated check your grammar for you, I believe you meant etc, etc not ect, ect.
 

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
Pure nonsense? That’s a little harsh. I find his suggestion of gaff placement helpful. Especially on small diameter spars when balancing becomes difficult but double wrapping my lanyard is excessive. I don’t find it necessary to awkwardly rotate the leg/foot to gain toe to tree contact. That’s a bit of an exaggeration on your part. It’s easy and helpful in some situations.
I agree with your comments about proper body positioning, excellent point.
Please remember not everyone is a master “spur climber dancing on the tips of his gaffs”. Guys are asking questions about basic climbing skills because they are new to climbing and haven’t gained your superior level of confidence yet.
You’re very quick to discount a well written, informative article put out by some of the most respected, collaborative talent in our industry. May I suggest you put all your great wisdom to use and start a blog? You can call it I’m The Best There Is, Plain and Simple! You could put down what you don’t agree with and write informing articles on advanced tree climbing skills and brag about how your feet do different things. When you do be sure to have someone educated check your grammar for you, I believe you meant etc, etc not ect, ect.
You’ve made it personal. Pointless.
 

AdkEric

Well-Known Member
Location
Adirondacks
Please remember not everyone is a master “spur climber dancing on the tips of his gaffs”. Guys are asking questions about basic climbing skills because they are new to climbing and haven’t gained your superior level of confidence yet.
Nor will they, should they not heed the advice of veteran climbers with decades of experience on spurs.
.
... and brag about how your feet do different things. When you do be sure to have someone educated check your grammar for you, I believe you meant etc, etc not ect, ect.
What a most excellent ending to your incredibly helpful contribution to this thread; insults! Keep up the good work!
 

TimKilpatrick

New Member
Location
PNW
Nor will they, should they not heed the advice of veteran climbers with decades of experience on spurs.
.

What a most excellent ending to your incredibly helpful contribution to this thread; insults! Keep up the good work!
My apologies. It does get my blood boiling to hear such hard work and experience be called “pure nonsense” and “pure blasphemy on so many levels”. Nobody’s done more than the Treemagineers to advance our industry in terms of climbing technique and hardware. They’ve invented the Treemotion saddle, the Hitchclimber pulley, the eye to eye prussik, the Captain Hook just to name a few but they aren’t fit to speak on climbing techniques? They’ve offered their experience, expertise, and ideas often times at no charge. You may not agree with everything they say and that’s fine but they certainly don’t deserve to be disrespected that way but they don’t need my defense.
That said, I admit I have little to offer here and will gladly leave these posts to the rambling, negative chatters. I have little time and I prefer to use it climbing trees.
 

New threads New posts

Kask Stihl NORTHEASTERN Arborists Wesspur TreeStuff.com Kask Teufelberger Westminster X-Rigging Teufelberger Tracked Lifts
Top Bottom