Select and Check your anchor

Richard Mumford-yoyoman

Been here a while
Location
Atlanta GA
This is a compilation of some posts I have been making for the last 5 years about checking your primary anchor. I recently had a limb just fall from a sweetgum in my back yard. As best I can figure is sudden or summer limb drop which I don't understand very well. That is not the point of this post. The point is, check your anchor! I climb with a primary anchor that I usually test, I say usually because if my line is set right next to the trunk with a good sized limb I am 100% confident that it is good to go. Some trees have several stems or divide into several stems or trunks, some are leaners. These, I am ALWAYS going to test!
Short story, a doubled and sustained load test is easy to do, provides good verification of the anchor until a closer examination can be done. Once in the tree and I have reached my anchor the choice can be made to move it, (higher, around the stem or other place that I am able to feel and see) or start using a secondary anchor in conjunction with the primary anchor.
No tree species are exempt from anchor failures and there are no tree species that I cannot verify my anchors in.

Please, take just a moment, it is easy, does not require skilled knots or technique or a second qualified climber.

Simply, a half hitch, a loop and another half hitch to stand on. Listen, feel and sense the tree for at least a minute. Ascend smoothly and do a closer verification before getting to work or play.

Links to videos I have done in the past.











Richard Mumford
Climbing Innovations LLC
 

Richard Mumford-yoyoman

Been here a while
Location
Atlanta GA
Seeing this perfectly good oak limb fall in the park the other day makes me think twice about trusting oak limbs without some kind of backup, even up close to the trunk. No rot where it broke and no recent unusual winds to account for it falling.

View attachment 76650
I'm very confident if it passes a doubled and sustained load test. Then I'll ascend, give it a close examination and reconfigure or relocate my anchor as appropriate.
 

TheTreeSpyder

Participating member
Location
Florida>>> USA
Bomb Pruf anchor great place to start!
And in knots i always set backwards from final ballast of Nip, grooming backwards to and out Standing Part.
i think of it like a Porty/ropeBrake setup. The nip is the 'tailer'/controller; set this man first to get the jump on the Load, instead of Load getting jump on him!

Generally on DdRT would always seize 1 leg to anchor by Clove to trunk, or if Porty being set up to it's sling and jump hard on the other end for 2/1 x Impact, or have Tiny nail it (he was also good for shade).
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In SRT, would just impact or have Tiny do. Few times went thru Port carabiner on trunk back up to friction hitch and down for trying to put 3/1 test on it (- frictions-angles) looking for that better test like DdRT Naturally lending to 2xImpact testing.
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L-eared to watch for codoms, stay next to parent connection, favoring 30degree joints more than pure lateral etc.
For the same amount of contact degrees, by same rope mated to same wood (so same 'radial CoF') should give same friction.
 

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
Ascend smoothly and do a closer verification before getting to work or play.
Yes yes yes

Also if you can’t see what the rope is running over, don’t trust it.

Yesterday I had a TIP in a red maple with such a bushy tall canopy I could not see exactly where I was anchored. We did a double load test and it held and ‘felt solid’. Still, I didn’t trust it and kept my lanyard on for the entire ascent. Tip was at around 85’. Once I got through the canopy I was glad I did, my anchor was basically a dead twig. Astonishing the strength of even that branch collar. Also the lead it was on had a vertical crack about 6’ long.
 
I'd be interested in what the "old timers" think about how our trees may be changing - from just plain age, to freakish storm damage, to more widespread insect damage, to drought and weird temperature swings and of course our tendency to keep paving paradise - are the trees maybe becoming less and less trustworthy than say 30 years ago? I look around here and see lots of "hidden" damage from storms - splits in the main stems, etc. - it makes me very circumspect about anchors sometimes and I climb with way more care. So what was maybe valid for climbers 30 yrs ago is less so now? Old climbers and bold climbers but no old, bold climbers? And of course we now have the two ropes thing and some municipalities (at the behest of their "safety departments and layers upon layers of lawyers" no doubt), banning tree climbing altogether and working from buckets and lifts.
 
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DSMc

Been here a while
Location
Montana
I'd be interested in what the "old timers" think about how our trees may be changing ... are the trees maybe becoming less and less trustworthy than say 30 years ago?...

No. Much has changed in tree climbing in the last 50+ years. The trees, however, are not one of those.

The other comment about 'old or bold' is an adapted saying from the world of pilots, and is just as untrue for them as it is for us. Bold does not mean reckless. Most pilots have nerves of steel and can function calmly and decisively, even under tremendously adverse conditions.

The number of situations that can kill or maim arborists on any given day are literally uncountable. We succeed or fail, not by being fearless or carrying redundancy to some ridiculous level, but by recognizing 'possibilities' made visible through a combination of observation and knowledge.

Ergo, be observant and analyze. If the unknown is greater than the known, consider an alternative approach.
 

Richard Mumford-yoyoman

Been here a while
Location
Atlanta GA
....
The other comment about 'old or bold' is an adapted saying from the world of pilots, and is just as untrue for them as it is for us. Bold does not mean reckless. Most pilots have nerves of steel and can function calmly and decisively, even under tremendously adverse conditions.
....
Pilots may look "calmly and decisively" but they are nervous, they just put it aside and do what has been practiced for a moment in time.
I agree, bold is not reckless, it is also knowing what the limitations are, knowing that mother nature can take you apart in an instant. Trees, likewise are part of mother nature and the law of gravity. Bold as you may be, makes no difference.
 
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TheTreeSpyder

Participating member
Location
Florida>>> USA
Pilots are cold, clean calculating, 'Knowledge Replaces Fear', trusting the numbers and 'feel' tuned to mo'fos;
when in the focus of their game zone.
Pilots have all that tuned up louder over rest of human screams inside;
only with more than just all their (like climber) chips on the table....
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i think that if bold means stupid cowboy risk taking saying fits to climbers and pilots etc..
But if bold means cold steal aligned cleanly to purpose, saying is more of oxymoron against seasoned artist.
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i think trees changing risk categories would be from inability to run from pollution and chainsaw mostly, also isolation from self supporting biologies and mechanix to single isolated and chainsawed.
i think always saw same risk categories, perhaps just more well , now as then.
Trees live longest, tallest, most rigid, heaviest accumulation etc. afforded by Nature that works so well with; as greatest acclimators of what eternity has thrown at them; before our infestation!
 

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