How Small a Diameter is Safe to Climb High (Conifier)

rico

Well-Known Member
Oh wow.... old worn spurs, ragged flipline, rough safety line, battered Civil War losing saddle? He is only missing one piece of gear: https://www.livescience.com/41576-tongue-controlled-wheelchair-paralysis.html. Next time you see him, asking how that is working out for him.

I learned back in my paragliding/hang gliding days that its worth spending the money of equipment that can help you stay safe.
You do realize that it is the man who makes the climber and not his shiny new gear, right? I myself climbed in my trusty old floating dee saddle for over 30 years. Climbed in my well loved Bashlins for over 30 years. All while trusting my life to my less than perfect Safety Blue, and my ragged 7/8" wirecore manilla fliplines. 30 yrs of wreaking big wood in that raggedy old gear and I somehow managed to stay alive?
 

Mowerr

Well-Known Member
You do realize that it is the man who makes the climber and not his shiny new gear, right? I myself climbed in my trusty old floating dee saddle for over 30 years. Climbed in my well loved Bashlins for over 30 years. All while trusting my life to my less than perfect Safety Blue, and my ragged 7/8" wirecore manilla fliplines. 30 yrs of wreaking big wood in that raggedy old gear and I somehow managed to stay alive?
This is what I came up around seen untill a couple years ago when I got on the internet here. So many really really good climbers out there that kill with only a rope, harness and saw.
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
The biggest advantages to modern gear, in my less than humble opinion, are the increased level of safety and proficiency, and the fact that it can extend the number of years you can physically do this work. Modern climbing innovations and techniques can at least let you enjoy the ride well into your sixties... you'll have to slow down and do less of it, but you can move into other areas of the business, or into a management role. Or maybe just do it once in awhile so you can enjoy the view and feel alive. But, you probably won't have to look for a new line of work when you're 45 because you've worn out your body to the point where you no longer feel you can do it, or there's no joy in doing it. This is probably the best time in history to be climbing... any kind of climbing... because there's been so much progress made in the last decade.

There's nothing wrong with shiny, new things. I'm practically a museum piece... but when the Smithsonian has me stuffed and mounted, they'll have all kinds of shiny bling to use as props.
 

jmcscrap

Well-Known Member
Skipped a few posts while reading through - apologies if already mentioned.

CLIMB MORE TREES - This will and has helped everyone here learn what the "acceptable" limits are. The top 30' of the 100' pine are pretty damn close to what a 30' pine is on the ground - climb one - how does it feel? Sketchy? Solid?

Go up 50' in a 100' pine - feel good, feel comfortable? go up 10 more feet - still good? you get the idea.

I still learn new things from every tree I am in, kinda why I love this job!
 

rico

Well-Known Member
The biggest advantages to modern gear, in my less than humble opinion, are the increased level of safety and proficiency, and the fact that it can extend the number of years you can physically do this work. Modern climbing innovations and techniques can at least let you enjoy the ride well into your sixties... you'll have to slow down and do less of it, but you can move into other areas of the business, or into a management role. Or maybe just do it once in awhile so you can enjoy the view and feel alive. But, you probably won't have to look for a new line of work when you're 45 because you've worn out your body to the point where you no longer feel you can do it, or there's no joy in doing it. This is probably the best time in history to be climbing... any kind of climbing... because there's been so much progress made in the last decade.

There's nothing wrong with shiny, new things. I'm practically a museum piece... but when the Smithsonian has me stuffed and mounted, they'll have all kinds of shiny bling to use as props.
I am living proof that much of the modern gear can extend a climbers career, but too much gear, too much fear, and too much setup can utterly ruin proficiency.

I actually feel that much of the new gear and methods are less safe that the old school stuff. I know many guys who climbed in the same saddle for over 20 yrs. You gonna do that with a TreeMo or a Monkey Beaver? Is a retrievable friction saver safer that throwing your climbing line over a big crotch? Is a little 11mm superfly lanyard with an ART Position safer than a big old 7/8" flipline with a bechtet hitch? Is SRT of a basal anchor safer than DdRT through a natural crotch?

For 35 yrs I hardly ever gave my gear a second thought. Throw on some spurs, throw my flipline around the tree, and with a climbing line in tow go get some fucking wood on the ground. I always had supreme confidence that my setup would keep me safe. Sadly I can't always say the same with all this new fangled gear I have around here.
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
Yeah, giving up weight often means giving up durability. My favorite harness is still a Buckingham Master Pro series one... it's built tougher than anything else I have or had, but it's about 5 or 6 pounds with the stuff I have on it. Maybe more... I haven't weighed it lately, and I've added a couple of things. It's a bit Old School but it's comfy and I like it.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Of all the new gear have bought and used in the last few years the 2 pieces of gear that felt right the moment I started using them were the HH2 and the MCRS. 2 kickass, rock solid pieces of gear that I never give a second thought about.
 
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climbingmonkey24

Active Member
Just a quick point about the lanyard stopping you from falling.

Few things to consider.

If there are branches below you then obviously you aren’t gonna slide down the whole tree because eventually the branches would stop your lanyard.

But this is something tree workers think about when spiking in case their spikes kick out. Me personally when I’m climbing a spar if I don’t have a tie in above I cinch my line around the trunk so if I gaff out the line will tighten and prevent me from sliding down the tree. In theory if you just have a lanyard, and especially if you aren’t wearing spikes you could technically go for a slide depending how tight your lanyard is.

Another thing I have seen people do and I have sometimes done is wrap your lanyard around the tree a full 360 degrees so that way if your main system fails the lanyard will tighten and prevent fall out.

The other option would be a second climbing system. I utilize these on some trees depending what I’m doing.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Don't worry about getting the snot scratched out of you. Worry if you will come to a very, very, very abrupt stop.

Gaffing out will happen, and you should be practicing pinching the lanyard to the trunk with a squeeze of your hands toward each other. This is your brake. Practice and visualize doing it as a reaction, not a conscious thought.

Whenever I'm operating a machine, like loader or grinder, I always know what my fastest evasive-maneuver will be...dropping loader arms or backing the grinder away are my usuals. When climbing with my lanyard, it's to pinch. Gloves help. Check out speed-spar climbing videos at logging shows. They are using padded gloves and pinching to control speed while bombing out.
 

TimBr

Official Well Known Greeter
@sdeese; Something I've never had a need to try was this suggestion by a veteran arborist. He said that if you start to drop with your lanyard around a tree, slamming your palms against each side of your lanyard will cause it to cinch up on the stem, and stop the fall that is in progress. He called gaffing out "taking the bark highway express".

Edit: I was taking my time while typing up this post, and Sean, @southsoundtree, responded with the same info, only better, before I hit the button to enter my post into the thread. You can't get much better than advice from Sean.
 
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moss

Well-Known Member
You do realize that it is the man who makes the climber and not his shiny new gear, right? I myself climbed in my trusty old floating dee saddle for over 30 years. Climbed in my well loved Bashlins for over 30 years. All while trusting my life to my less than perfect Safety Blue, and my ragged 7/8" wirecore manilla fliplines. 30 yrs of wreaking big wood in that raggedy old gear and I somehow managed to stay alive?
I say this over and over again to new climbers I'm mentoring or training.

It's a natural trap for new climbers, especially new rec climbers on their own. First read Jepson's, then go through the Sherrill catalog, then buy some awesome glittery gear. Much of it ends up in the "never to be used again" pile. That NEVER happened to me, oh no never. Anybody want some lanyard/rope snaps? Haven't used them in 14 years, perfect condition ;-)

It's all about time in the trees, that's what makes a climber. Upgrading technique and gear is best done when you actually know why you need it.
-AJ
 

samsquatch

Well-Known Member
For 35 yrs I hardly ever gave my gear a second thought. Throw on some spurs, throw my flipline around the tree, and with a climbing line in tow go get some fucking wood on the ground. I always had supreme confidence that my setup would keep me safe. Sadly I can't always say the same with all this new fangled gear I have around here.
Don't make it like they used to, that's probably for sure.
I think the perception of new gear being unsafe-ish is due to the stories we hear about that gear failing. Look at it this way, 35 yrs ago, you wouldn't be drinking your morning coffee in the PNW and read in your local paper about a tree climbing death in Nor Carolina. Today, that info is in your hand and it makes you realize how many people are actually using this fucking gear. % deaths overall new gear vs old gear is probably lower assuming better quality control, but our confidence is also lower because we can instantly find a story of that gear failing.
 

Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
. . . It's a natural trap for new climbers, especially new rec climbers on their own. . .
The gear addiction is aggravated even worse if one lives within easy driving distance of one of the retail stores like WesSpur. I drive past it every time I am in Bellingham running errands and picking up supplies, and it requires immense resolve and strength of will to resist turning in there.
 

Jan_

Well-Known Member
The gear addiction is aggravated even worse if one lives within easy driving distance of one of the retail stores like WesSpur. I drive past it every time I am in Bellingham running errands and picking up supplies, and it requires immense resolve and strength of will to resist turning in there.
How many wesspurs are there in america? I think there are about 10-20 tree climbing stores total in Germany...
 

Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
How many wesspurs are there in america? I think there are about 10-20 tree climbing stores total in Germany...
I think WesSpur has only one retail store front; most of their trade is online ordering from their website.
 

Jan_

Well-Known Member
I think WesSpur has only one retail store front; most of their trade is online ordering from their website.
You are quiet lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you see it : D ) to be living near it then, I'd love to be able to visit one regularly.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
The gear addiction is aggravated even worse if one lives within easy driving distance of one of the retail stores like WesSpur. I drive past it every time I am in Bellingham running errands and picking up supplies, and it requires immense resolve and strength of will to resist turning in there.
You live in an excellent neighborhood! I've been in the Bellingham area once, really liked it.
-AJ
 

Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
You live in an excellent neighborhood! I've been in the Bellingham area once, really liked it.
-AJ
Yeah, it is incredible out here, especially compared to where I grew up on the Gulf Coast. As a kid the scene out my window was a row of oil refineries and a napalm factory. Heat, humidity, air pollution, every kind of insect and poisonous snake and other other vermin. I don't know what the hell my family was thinking leaving Lincolnshire. They sent me back to the UK to school and I hitch-hiked up there; it is beautiful! Anyway, I live on a small island SW of Bellingham and a thirty minute ferry ride from the mainland. Lots of fabulous trees, including four climbers right in my own yard. You will have to come back out, A.J.; maybe do a travelling climbing workshop once you get your school up and going. A number of us out here could possibly pool our money and help bring you out.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
Yeah, it is incredible out here, especially compared to where I grew up on the Gulf Coast. As a kid the scene out my window was a row of oil refineries and a napalm factory. Heat, humidity, air pollution, every kind of insect and poisonous snake and other other vermin. I don't know what the hell my family was thinking leaving Lincolnshire. They sent me back to the UK to school and I hitch-hiked up there; it is beautiful! Anyway, I live on a small island SW of Bellingham and a thirty minute ferry ride from the mainland. Lots of fabulous trees, including four climbers right in my own yard. You will have to come back out, A.J.; maybe do a travelling climbing workshop once you get your school up and going. A number of us out here could possibly pool our money and help bring you out.
Let’s make that happen!
 

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