Seeing the foliage shake high up as I climb makes me nervous.

Winchman

Branched out member
I've set up two tie-in points recently on what looked like sturdy crotches on healthy pine trees, but when I started climbing I could see the foliage further up shaking quite a bit each time I advanced. Part of me says it's no problem, but the other part that says NO WAY wins out. In both cases the lead is at least four inches in diameter at the TIP angling slightly away from the vertical line of the lower trunk. That would have given me a little more clearance from the trunk and lower limbs, and made climbing easier.

It's just recreational climbing, but I'd like to enjoy setting up and using some more TIPs. How do you go about convincing yourself a TIP is safe when you can see the foliage shaking as you climb?
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
How do you go about convincing yourself a TIP is safe when you can see the foliage shaking as you climb?


@Richard Mumford-yoyoman has written up a TIP testing protocol that is valid. Take some time in Search and you should find his write up

White pine is in the group of trees that should NEVER have a rope routed over limbs. Your rope should always go around the tree trunk and over at least one, better two, branches in the whorl.
 

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
That would have given me a little more clearance from the trunk and lower limbs, and made climbing easier.
Sometimes that makes it easier to climb, sometimes not.

When I am up against a trunk ascending, the toe of my non-ascender foot can rest on the tree and makes the ergonomics better for me. I usually seek out a route like this instead of one where I am floating in air.

With a pine, particularly the density of limbs you’ll see towards the top of the canopy, you can easily ascend higher using careful methods of advancing your climb line if you start out lower. Not to mention you’ll have a much better tie in point cinched around the trunk when you start advancing in the tree. Very hard to achieve that with a throwline on the ground.
 

Winchman

Branched out member
I think I found the video on testing anchors, and I'll give his suggestion a try. https://www.treebuzz.com/forum/threads/select-and-check-your-anchor.45350/#post-688470

I was already in the trees when I set the two TIPs in question, so I was able to get the line over a limb on the far side of the leads as suggested. Having a light weight extension pole with an L on the end is really handy for this. I'll work my throwline into a crotch before I climb to limbs smaller that six inches at the TIP. I've got a lot of patience with myself when setting TIPs and getting a clear drop.

I don't mind spinning or swinging as I climb. It usually evens out so the rope isn't rubbing hard on itself, and I'll be close enough to something to unwind it as I get higher. Constantly pushing myself away from the trunk or limbs wears me out. I'd rather put that effort into ascending as long as possible.
 

moss

Been here a while
If your line is at the union or within a few inches on 4" diameter loblolly (thinking that is your pine species) you're good. This is assuming everything else is good like the limb is alive and has full structural integrity and the spar is sound in the area of and below the union.

First ascent on any tree or TIP I proceed with caution. As a rec climber you are not under clock pressure so you can maintain a second lanyard tie-in as you ascend. Don't bounce the system hard in your ascent cycle. Move the lanyard up as you go. Don't do a side D lanyard connection unless it is super convenient and your feet are on the tree, center attach to your bridge if your feet are off the tree on ascent. When you reset the lanyard as you go you're doing a "static" hang on your main rope, that's not when things break. You are essentially inspecting everything about the tree as you make this cautious ascent. When you reach the TIP you can give it the most thorough inspection.

Pines move a lot in wind, that's how they release wind energy and stay alive. Expect it to move when you load up your system.

Once you know the tree and have inspected every bit of from the ground to TIP at arms length you can climb it with confidence, or not if you've discovered structural problems at any point.
-AJ
 

moss

Been here a while
I think I found the video on testing anchors, and I'll give his suggestion a try. https://www.treebuzz.com/forum/threads/select-and-check-your-anchor.45350/#post-688470

I was already in the trees when I set the two TIPs in question, so I was able to get the line over a limb on the far side of the leads as suggested. Having a light weight extension pole with an L on the end is really handy for this. I'll work my throwline into a crotch before I climb to limbs smaller that six inches at the TIP. I've got a lot of patience with myself when setting TIPs and getting a clear drop.

I don't mind spinning or swinging as I climb. It usually evens out so the rope isn't rubbing hard on itself, and I'll be close enough to something to unwind it as I get higher. Constantly pushing myself away from the trunk or limbs wears me out. I'd rather put that effort into ascending as long as possible.
Climbing MRS?
 

moss

Been here a while
White pine is in the group of trees that should NEVER have a rope routed over limbs. Your rope should always go around the tree trunk and over at least one, better two, branches in the whorl.

I will politely disagree ;-)

For initial ascent from the ground if you're at the limb trunk union on a decent diameter limb 6" or greater all good.

This is after all other tree assessment has been done as best as it can be from the ground including using binoculars.

So many variables to consider, mid-crown white pine limbs can be ridiculously tight-ringed and hard-wooded as an oak, super strong. Upper and top branches/limbs are typically very green/young wood and snap crackle pop. Depends on the individual tree of course. Some white pine especially the old ones have super gnarly strong wood at the top.
-AJ
 

Winchman

Branched out member
I'm climbing MRS with a Petzl BB rescue pulley just below the TIP. An anchor rope goes from the top of the pulley over the limb and down to the base of the tree. It takes a few extra minutes to set up, but the minimal friction of the pulley makes climbing a lot easier. If I plan to use the TIP often, I'll install a hard plastic rope guide over the limb to protect the tree.
 

moss

Been here a while
I'm climbing MRS with a Petzl BB rescue pulley just below the TIP. An anchor rope goes from the top of the pulley over the limb and down to the base of the tree. It takes a few extra minutes to set up, but the minimal friction of the pulley makes climbing a lot easier. If I plan to use the TIP often, I'll install a hard plastic rope guide over the limb to protect the tree.

I remember now, you've described your climbing setup in the past.

I wasn't reading for comprehension on your original post. I see you clearly explained it and I misunderstood.

Anchor is set around a 4" diameter spar. The rescue pulley is basal anchored with a separate line, correct? When you climb you're getting a "fishing pole" effect, you're bending the top and probably a certain amount of trunk below until it gets thick enough not to bend. Your body weight is dynamically magnified every ascent cycle as you climb. That's on top of your theoretically doubled weight on the basal anchored rescue pulley setup. No surprise that the top is moving alot as you climb.

I would simply set your semi-permanent anchor lower, maybe at 8-10" diameter on the spar. There will still be movement but likely not enough to undermine your confidence. If you want to go higher on any of your climbs you can always advance above your rescue pulley anchor.
-AJ
 
Last edited:
I remember now, you've described your climbing setup in the past.

I wasn't reading for comprehension on your original post. I see you clearly explained it and I misunderstood.

Anchor is set around a 4" diameter spar. The rescue pulley is basal anchored with a separate line, correct? When you climb you're getting a "fishing pole" effect, you're bending the top and probably a certain amount of trunk below until it gets thick enough not to bend. Your body weight is dynamically magnified every ascent cycle as you climb. That's on top of your theoretically doubled weight on the basal anchored rescue pulley setup. No surprise that the top is moving alot as you climb.

I would simply set your semi-permanent anchor lower, maybe at 8-10" diameter on the spar. There will still be movement but likely not enough to undermine your confidence. If you want to go higher on any of your climbs you can always advance above your rescue pulley anchor.
-AJ
If I’m reading this correctly it’s making me nerves and if that same tip is used over and over in this configuration it could lead to failure correct?
 

Winchman

Branched out member
Yeah, the TIPs looked pretty good from the ground and from where I was in the canopy when I put the lines in place. I thought the leads were going to be sturdy enough, but now I'm not so sure.
 

Jehinten

Carpal tunnel level member
Location
Evansville
It sounds to me like your just adding a large load to a flexible top with your basal anchored system. My suggestion would be to setup your system as normal lower in the canopy and then advance your MRS system higher if needed without the basal tie. This will load the top with only your bodyweight instead of 2X your weight.

You might even find it easier to carry a second short MRS system and leave your primary system in place and advance with your secondary. On your way out of the tree just switch back over to your primary and retrieve the secondary while still in the canopy.
 

moss

Been here a while
If I’m reading this correctly it’s making me nerves and if that same tip is used over and over in this configuration it could lead to failure correct?
It could but too many variables to say it would or would not fail. But as we’ve discussed, it would be better to lower the upper “redirect” for the basal anchor to a thicker/heavier part of the spar.
-AJ
 

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