mapping movement within a tree

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
Approaching a full prune on mature canopy trees, in our area generally Oaks, Ash, Maple, Linden, Cherry, Beech, etc.

I am developing patterns for how to work each section in efficient ways. The concept of: ddrt works horizontally, srt vertically, gave me some ideas. Going up, securing my TIP if needed, then setting outward redirects to drop down into an area, returning up, then back down again a few times to reach each section. Or working one side on the way up, the other on the way down. Of course every tree is unique, I am just seeking considerations that help map and pattern the tree.

I am generally base tying an SRT system, then using a rope sling (ring and carbiner on either ends eye) to bring the rope to the extended tie-in, so I don't need to fully unclip or squeeze through the union. In smaller trees lately I have been liking to set a friction saver and use ddrt when the tree is more wide than tall. Then I go for a toss outward with the lanyard and haul myself out to work a branch section.

I am sure this conversation has been had before here, I would gladly read the archives, if you recall any. my search didn't find that conversation.

My questions: how do you approach or map the tree when doing a complete prune?
Are there patterns you look for to help choose paths?
All thoughts and insights appreciated. It's such a dynamic thing.
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
I primarily do pruning / trimming work more than removal and climb ddrt.

Typically what I do is start by setting a nice high TIP that gives me good positioning to reach other necessary areas of the tree and then work off that.

I’m fine climbing up another leader and having my line be horizontal or not directly above me, etc.

However, over the last year what I have started experimenting with, and I’ve mentiond this before on here, is adding a second ddrt line for improved work position if I think it’s warranted for what I have to do. I even do this with removals sometimes.

So I’ll work off the main TIP and use the second ddrt line for better work position in certain situations like a tree with multiple leaders, etc. Sometimes I’ll stay tied in to both, or hop off the main TIP and just be tied into the second.

My current systems are the Petzl ZigZag on my main and hitch climber on second.

I am interested in maybe getting the Unicender and instead of having two ddrt lines maybe trying a ddrt and srt in scenarios where I think two lines would be beneficial.

So that’s sort of how I plan it. And sometimes I’ll just use one line. Every situation is different.

Another thing I could add is while every tree is different, I think you can identify patterns in how you do things in certain types of trees (example: widespread with multiple leaders, single stem, etc.) as far as mapping out your climbing setup / how you’re going to move from Point A to Point B and then to Point C and sort of have a basic game plan for how you are going to tackle a certain type of tree structure and then just tailor it to each individual tree.

76A5ED34-DFF8-4532-9D8C-F3692C669150.jpeg


And yes, I know for those of you using SRT you may just use redirects instead of a second climb line.
 
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Tuebor

Well-Known Member
Location
Here
I can't help you with a plan, but consider the use of either a secret weapon (DdRT off an SRT access line) or triple threat (3 SRT work positioning lines distributed from a single TIP). On the other hand, I don't hear much about them in social media lately so maybe they've fallen out of favor.
 

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
I love these kinds of climbs.

You can create a great map for your movement when you access the canopy. I trace the canopy back to sections- it almost always ends up to be 3 or 4 sections. Work those sections individually then move to the next. It’s a little bit of extra labor but I’ll usually go back up to my TIP when switching sections to have the best rope angle. It saves time and calories in the long run. Might have a second TIP if the horizontal travel from one to the other tip is more than 30’, ish.
 

Bart_

Well-Known Member
Location
GTA
SRT, basal tie, best central high tip, long and short lanyard to DRT up around off to the sides. Often ends up you're double DRT'ed on the lanyards and the SRT line is just a way to get back to the rest of the tree without starting over. The SRT line can also give good vector loading when you're out on a spindly thang which then gets transformed to axial pole loading rather than bend loading.

A common problem is trees that have been gut pruned to let the air in to breathe better ;) so all your climbing features are gone except way out the leaders. Sometimes the span is so great that you have to preset your second line as it would be so far from you that you couldn't retrieve it if set from climb position within the tree. Unless you resort to long poles etc. Inconvenient for sure. Caveat - I've nearly sworn off the bear hug, inch worm belly scrape shinnying that younger lads are willing to tolerate to get up a stubborn section.

I'm a fan of sling with biner redirects. Off featureless stems is particularly helpful.

Just remember to be thankful whenever a tree actually has a sound, stout central leader that's not too short. When there's no central leader the brain scratching starts.
 

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
The way my company prunes, we rarely need to access every part of the tree. It is more so targeted pruning to reduce load from specific limbs. The rare occasion that we have to access the majority of the canopy, two climbers is a pretty sweet trick, lol. Pre-directing an SRT line to the most complicated “quadrant” of the tree is also pretty ideal. Work as much from that pre-direct as possible, then retrieve it so you can finish the tree from main TIP and redirect as needed.
As far as mapping, it is always nice to work the opposite of how a woman shops (no offense), from one section “around” the tree and end near where you started. I do believe that is pretty common sense but it is there just in case.
With that said we don’t have very large trees in my area, but our silver maples get pretty technical as well as our cottonweeds.
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
Thanks everyone, great thoughts here.
@climbingmonkey24 I recently made use of a 2nd ddrt line, in a cherry with a northern section that leaned waaay out over the yard, and was equally tall to the central leader. Srt to the center, ddrt to the reaching section. The whole tree was kinda reaching out and most of the work needed was all at the tippy top tips. With the double tie-in, I was able to do a real thorough job, exceeded my expectations. I felt more secure with the overall tie-in and was able to dig in, reaching with the pole saw, even while extended way out. It was a good proof that having two lines set can result in a higher quality of work. Sometimes I feel indulgent to consider taking so much time setting up, and wonder if it will indeed add benefit or efficiency to the job. In this case, it definitely did.

@Tuebor a while back I attached a pulley to my srt line with a prusik loop, and climbed ddrt off that after ascending. I was able to move the pulley up and down the line to reach various levels, (leave my srt setup attached to the rope and leave it there) and had a great time moving around with ddrt, as I was going pretty far laterally working over a road. It's a pretty cool system that I want to experiment more with.

@Stumpsprouts I just got a knee ascender going, it's getting me used to the idea that I can go up fairly easily and take the time to get well set up for each section. I used to just power through being tied in strange uncomfortable ways, because it's only for a few moments... so I am now evaluating how things go compared to getting really well set up for each section individually, or just relying on one basic tie in to work everything.
I know what you are talking about, how to see the sections of the tree.

@Bart_ that cherry I described above had all the issues you were speaking of, hardly anything in the middle, just long busy branch tips with a dozen feet between each. Luckily the central point was indeed stout. On Friday I was in a stately Ash with copious strong unions... I was thanking the stars, it felt like 4 of 5 climbs the past month were from barely adequate structures.
I use a double end lanyard, 27' rope. So I do end up basically on a 2nd ddrt system to haul outward, keeping my other end more like a buckstrap length. I have considered trying a 15' lanyard, with a ~50' extra line to have a true ddrt setup that I can move around the tree rather than doing the redirects. Feels a bit heavy handed, but also sounds dreamy. Will probably give something like this a try some time.

@TreeVB I was thinking about that after posting, how oftentimes a majority of the work is in one quadrant of the tree, and I will set the tie in point to be ideal for the areas where I will mainly be, and passable for working the other side, if it's just a quick journey over there.
Are you predirecting with a well aimed throw? I need to look into this more.

Thanks again everyone. It's good to compare the approach. The climbers I learned from used pretty basic techniques and lately I am the only climber on the team, so it's great for me to get a reality check. I want to be efficient and set up well. I also recognize that I am doing higher quality work when I am able to access safely and precisely where I need to be. Me getting efficient at setting up and managing a 2nd system could be quicker than struggling to work off one, sometimes, like these sparser trees. I am not sure. Trying to experiment a little each day, while taking care of business.
~Michael
 

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
Sometimes there is a situation where I can president with one throw, but more often then not, I will set my main TIP and throw again for the president and pull my tail through. This is all with a basal tie in mind.
Throw hook for traversing is one more wonderful tool.
 

SoftBankHawks

Well-Known Member
Location
Japan
Hi,
Great question, appreciate the sensitivity of it.
Branch network (morphology) is complex, plus the on-going timeline of decay and other factors that can weaken a tree, not countless but much to consider. It is difficult to give advice.

That said. I tend to always approach climbing design with three lines. Two being long and one being short. The short one stays on my hip (work positioning lanyard). I conceptualize the long lines into MAIN LINE and WORK POSITIONING. ML is anchored in a robust place, centrally, and can be rigged in a number of ways, MRS, SRS, BA etc. I maintain a clear line between myself and the ML anchor, means that I can return to it easily. WP line is always rigged into SRS and thrown higher and to the outside of the structure (natural redirects). WP line gives me vertical stability.

When suspended from two opposing points it is unlikely to need the mechanical assist from MRS.

And so I always run two SRS lines, especially on bigger trees.

Hope that makes some sense ?!

Paul
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
thanks @SoftBankHawks , This sounds like a great practice.
It really is incredible the amount of factors that go into approaching any tree.
I will definitely be trying something like this, having an outward work positioning line. Will likely do MRS with that, as I find it so easy to reposition. I have been working on some ideas for 'slack management' so things are somewhat kept together. I imagine that once when gets accustomed to a system, taking care of it becomes second nature.
Thanks for a great reply~
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
Nothing wrong with taking some extra time to do what you think you need to in order to safely perform the work. No need to rush in this business. Operate at a pace you are comfortable with.
This can never be said enough. I don't know if it's just my experience, but I am glad this attitude is more prevalent than 5 years ago. A local friend and bad-ass climber encouraged me last year "if anyone you work for starts hollering to rush, don't listen, you are the one up there with the saw." and sure enough it happened when I was trying out working with a few different crews last year. Guy started hollering to drop huge pieces. I was dropping these 25' tulip limbs in two pieces, with a tear cut, to reduce damage to garden landscape beneath, and give ground crew time to haul them off without cutting, he says "nah, that's one cut" (after we have been working successfully for ~3 hours and he arrives) so I dropped one full, tips hit the ground and bounced log back toward my base tie.... I said, "you know what, why don't you come finish the tree in your style, show me how it's done." he saw his mistake immediately! I came down to haul brush and he sweated his ass off to finish it. Last day I worked with that crew...
Anyway, in another day I may have powered through even more. It was crucial to have my friends voice with me to say "you are doing fine and you have nothing to prove to this guy today".
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
Sometimes there is a situation where I can president with one throw, but more often then not, I will set my main TIP and throw again for the president and pull my tail through. This is all with a basal tie in mind.
Throw hook for traversing is one more wonderful tool.
Awesome, thanks for describing.
ahh the hook, I ask my sons about tool purchases and they have a resounding YES that I should get one :)
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
This can never be said enough. I don't know if it's just my experience, but I am glad this attitude is more prevalent than 5 years ago. A local friend and bad-ass climber encouraged me last year "if anyone you work for starts hollering to rush, don't listen, you are the one up there with the saw." and sure enough it happened when I was trying out working with a few different crews last year. Guy started hollering to drop huge pieces. I was dropping these 25' tulip limbs in two pieces, with a tear cut, to reduce damage to garden landscape beneath, and give ground crew time to haul them off without cutting, he says "nah, that's one cut" (after we have been working successfully for ~3 hours and he arrives) so I dropped one full, tips hit the ground and bounced log back toward my base tie.... I said, "you know what, why don't you come finish the tree in your style, show me how it's done." he saw his mistake immediately! I came down to haul brush and he sweated his ass off to finish it. Last day I worked with that crew...
Anyway, in another day I may have powered through even more. It was crucial to have my friends voice with me to say "you are doing fine and you have nothing to prove to this guy today".

When you're in the tree you are in control, and if people on your crew are getting inpatient or telling you to hurry up, etc. never allow it to interfere with what you know is right for you. Let them wait, or even come down if you think it's a bad situation and your safety is at risk because they don't respect you and how you work.

It's one thing if you're taking more time than usual because you are just screwing around not wanting to work, a totally different thing when you are taking longer because you are operating at a pace you are comfortable with.

This shit doesn't need to be a race as to who can get things done faster. Some people work faster than others, and others take more time. Nothing wrong with that. A climber should do what they feel comfortable and safe with.
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
It's one thing if you're taking more time than usual because you are just screwing around not wanting to work, a totally different thing when you are taking longer because you are operating at a pace you are comfortable with.
Absolutely. The thing that got me too, was that it wasn't even faster to make a huge fast mess at the base of the tree. The ground guys ended up hating working through a tangled pile of branches that needed to be cut. I was dropping pieces that could be handled by one person without need for a ground saw.

The crew I work with now is awesome, and great clients as it's a ~40 y/o business. Hoping to get more time working with other climbers though, to continue growing. All the replies here are great, definitely giving me some ideas and encouragement about the most recent setups I have been working with.
 

colb

Well-Known Member
Location
Florida
You may already do this, but it has become "a thing" to have a long tail, drop into a section of the tree on a bight, return to the trunk from a redirect, lanyard in, connect a climbing system to the long tail, disonnect the original system, and pull the bight out. Make sure you understand the safety issues and practice in an easy tree.
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
You may already do this, but it has become "a thing" to have a long tail, drop into a section of the tree on a bight, return to the trunk from a redirect, lanyard in, connect a climbing system to the long tail, disonnect the original system, and pull the bight out. Make sure you understand the safety issues and practice in an easy tree.
I read this a few times, yet I am not fully grasping it. ....
Wait, I read it two more times and now I get it, haha! This is cool! Yes, I would need to plan leaving a longer tail but this makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
 

theatertech87

Well-Known Member
Location
Rochester
I try and preset as much as I can. Either set multiple lines from the ground, reach out/toss a second line through an adventurous crotch for use later on and lower in the tree later (or doing the same with the tail of my rope). Doing both with rigging lines. Using retrievable hardware as much as possible so I don't have to retrace my paths through the tree. Usually I start on the most difficult side so as I get winded, the work gets easier so I can maintain a steady pace. I plan my toes of up out down in so there's as little overlap as possible again to avoid wasted effort... All lnvolves a plan from the ground...

Basically I'm lazy and try and do as little extra unnecessary work as I can in tree...
 

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