High line climbing on hazard redoak

Phil

Well-Known Member
Location
Oak Lawn, IL
I had an interesting climb about a week ago. 90+ foot red oak with what I'm guessing is an old lightning strike. Rams horn was buckled and you could see through the tree in multiple locations. Decay was visible for a good 40' of the trunk and went into the root flair. Only targets were other trees but we wanted to get this down before a storm turned it into something much more dangerous to deal with. This is a private lot with a house located about 200' uphill from this tree. Homeowner likes the white pines so we couldn't just notch and drop from the ground. I decided I wanted to have a high line in case I needed to bail off the stem. No other nearby trees to use as a sole anchor. Plan was to dump the top part of the tree in one cut about 30-40' up. We had the room after cutting down a couple small sugar maples and all the lean was that direction. We installed a tag line to do a pull test before climbing to see/hear how the trunk was acting. Twisty but didn't make any cracking or popping noise. There was 100+ foot white pine to the left side I could use for a high anchor but it wasn't close enough for me to comfortably use as the only anchor. Too big of a swing if I had to bail. There was also another shorter pine to the right I could anchor out of. This one would dictate how high I could get with the high line. Break down of line colors:

Purple: Tag line to test trunk. was not needed for bombing the top.
Blue: 200' Climbing line going into really tall pine and basal anchored
Green: Second climbing line with a pinto pulley on the end. Was redirected through a block in the short pine and basal anchored at a tree further back to help redirect the force down the pine stem.
Red: Guy rope to help mitigate any lateral force on the smaller pine in the event I bail in to my system.

Once I installed the green and red lines in the smaller pine, I descended, put the blue rope through the pinto on the end of the green rope and drifted that out until it was in line with oak stem. Locked everything off, spiked the oak while tied into my highline (srs on the blue rope), decided not to ratchet strap the trunk on the way up, and made the cut with about 50'-60' of top. Everything went according to plan. Super smooth, descended on the high line. An hour of setup for a 2 minute cut haha.

The deviation force pic shows the general setup I was implementing. I estimated a 60 degree angle on my blue rope. Green rope was horizontal. Tree was about 16" dbh at the cut.
 

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pete3d

New Member
Location
Hinchinbrook
I very much appreciate your taking the time to delineate your successful solution to such a situation.
As an old fellow trying to do careful mixed age and species woodlot improvement, learning about your experience is really pertinent. Thanks.
 

Crimsonking

Well-Known Member
Why did you choose not to ratchet strap? Just curious, as I like to strap just above and below a cut in similar situations.
 

Phil

Well-Known Member
Location
Oak Lawn, IL
I very much appreciate your taking the time to delineate your successful solution to such a situation.
As an old fellow trying to do careful mixed age and species woodlot improvement, learning about your experience is really pertinent. Thanks.
I like when others share as it helps me expand my knowledge and critical thinking so I figured I'd contribute some substance myself haha. This was a private lot with a house uphill from this tree. Owner likes all the white pines so we wanted to avoid damaging any. We could have conceivably cut this from the ground but we would have really messed up some of the pines. Had this been a straight woodlot and not a private residence, I likely would have opted to sacrifice a few white pines.
 

Phil

Well-Known Member
Location
Oak Lawn, IL
Why did you choose not to ratchet strap? Just curious, as I like to strap just above and below a cut in similar situations.
The outer portion of the tree still had some good live wood. The center was punky and decayed enough at the cut I wasn't worried about a barber chair. We bought some beefy ratchet straps that morning just in case I decided on the way up that I wasn't comfortable bombing the top. In the end, I decided they were unnecessary. It was purely a judgement call and If I saw someone doing this and they added ratchet straps, I would totally understand. Once I got up there though I got a better feel for the tree.
 

pete3d

New Member
Location
Hinchinbrook
I like when others share as it helps me expand my knowledge and critical thinking so I figured I'd contribute some substance myself haha. This was a private lot with a house uphill from this tree. Owner likes all the white pines so we wanted to avoid damaging any. We could have conceivably cut this from the ground but we would have really messed up some of the pines. Had this been a straight woodlot and not a private residence, I likely would have opted to sacrifice a few white pines.
Although I really enjoy working “up there”, about 98 of 100 trees I mess with are removed entirely form the ground. But what with the occasional errant branch or high voltage power line, I climb, and need the fullest deck techniques I can get in my hand (or head).:)
 

Lupin_IV

Member
Location
St Paul
As a newer climber left to figure shit out 9/11 times, rarely to be explained the shit that pertains to my job, this is arousing material
 

Phil

Well-Known Member
Location
Oak Lawn, IL
As a newer climber left to figure shit out 9/11 times, rarely to be explained the shit that pertains to my job, this is arousing material
I remember when I first started out. All it took was an explanation of why something was done a certain way and what other options were considered and sidelined in lieu of what was actually implemented. I was able to learn and retain information so much better. I know a lot of the veterans here will look at this post, inherently understand it and move on. But I know there's a lot of newer climbers that would get a lot out of the after action report and explanation so I thought I'd share this one. Understanding the use of redirects and how the resultant forces are applied to climbing and rigging systems is fascinating to me and an overall game changer for our work. I wanted to post something more than just a "hey I cut down a hazard tree today" post. I've got some video of the top coming down. Just have to get my hands on my buddies go pro and I'll upload it . Also, I'm gonna sleep easy knowing I've touched you haha.
 

Birdyman88

Well-Known Member
Location
Arlington
Man that's cool that you had such a well thought out plan, estimating the forces and planning for a bail and such. Most of the tree guys around here would look at your plan and say "you're over-thinking it, just climb that baby and get 'er down", lol. Thinking through the variables and planning for them is what keeps your @ss alive doing this stuff.
 

Jzack605

Active Member
Location
Long island
Rigging rope from each tie in point, basal tied with a portawrap or similar that’s locked off, one cut at base so that tree is hanging. Then piece it out from bottom up.

disclaimer is I have not used this technique but would like to better understand when it could be used.
 

Lupin_IV

Member
Location
St Paul
I remember when I first started out. All it took was an explanation of why something was done a certain way and what other options were considered and sidelined in lieu of what was actually implemented. I was able to learn and retain information so much better. I know a lot of the veterans here will look at this post, inherently understand it and move on. But I know there's a lot of newer climbers that would get a lot out of the after action report and explanation so I thought I'd share this one. Understanding the use of redirects and how the resultant forces are applied to climbing and rigging systems is fascinating to me and an overall game changer for our work. I wanted to post something more than just a "hey I cut down a hazard tree today" post. I've got some video of the top coming down. Just have to get my hands on my buddies go pro and I'll upload it . Also, I'm gonna sleep easy knowing I've touched you haha.
The explanation is everything haha gotta understand the theory behind it all when if you do not you can get smashed by a huge log, or worse.
 

Lupin_IV

Member
Location
St Paul
Rigging rope from each tie in point, basal tied with a portawrap or similar that’s locked off, one cut at base so that tree is hanging. Then piece it out from bottom up.

disclaimer is I have not used this technique but would like to better understand when it could be used.
We use it alot when we are taking down multiple pines very close together. Set a rigging anchor and portawrap on one centralized one, hang all of them. Salami/slice/whatever cuts so they ideally slide down. Super easy to get the saw pinched tho, gotta keep an eye out. With the lift, makes super quick work of it
 

Phil

Well-Known Member
Location
Oak Lawn, IL
Rigging rope from each tie in point, basal tied with a portawrap or similar that’s locked off, one cut at base so that tree is hanging. Then piece it out from bottom up.

disclaimer is I have not used this technique but would like to better understand when it could be used.
I see what you're saying. That was not possible with this tree. There's also a lot more that needs to be considered since you are using ropes to support a 90' red oak. Lots of potential for overloading things. The shorter pine I climbed didn't even allow me to get to half way up the red oak. The only thing taller was the white pine I put the blue rope in and that was kind of far away. When you do removals like you are describing, you want your rigging points higher than where you attach your rigging line into the tree you are removing. And you want that rigging pretty high in the tree you are removing. Also, I made one cut and I was done. If I was doing the salami cuts as it was referred to, I would have had to make several dozen cuts, each one causing the entire tree to shift and loading both rigging points. The other thing to consider is that as you remove the butt pieces, each one you take off will change the balance of the remainder of the tree. Eventually, you can remove enough of the trunk to make the tree top heavy and it can flip. So you need to know where your "don't cut anymore or it'll flip" point is haha.

Supporting a whole tree by rigging out of multiple other trees is very useful. Especially when dealing with storm damage. Wasn't happening on this job though.
 

Jzack605

Active Member
Location
Long island
Ah I got ya. Seems the pine was further than I realized and that would be too much negative rigging from the other tree if that’s even acceptable for a hanging situation. Appreciate the explanation.
 

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