Some questions for you lovely climbers about an app for finding good trees to climb

lukehesluke

New Member
Hi guys. I'm a bit of a novice climber, having just free climbed trees wherever I've found them. I loooove doing it when I can but hard pressed to find good spots in the city (live in London)

Soooo, I want to make a web app to help find good spots nearby. As I'm just a novice, I'd love to get you guys' feedback on this idea and answers to some questions:

What kinds of things do you want to know about a tree before you climb it. Free climbing vs rope climbing, easy vs hard, pictures, description, etc

Are there safety concerns to take into account giving information about potentially risky trees to any idiot

Are there environmental concerns with having potentially dozens (hundreds?) of people coming to climb the same tree

Is this just a stupid idea? Should I just go out to a park before engineering an entire website?

Any other general feedback on what you think about this idea? Especially interested to know if other cityfolk think this would help them

Thanks much you guys
 

NorCalBrock

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. I'm a bit of a novice climber, having just free climbed trees wherever I've found them. I loooove doing it when I can but hard pressed to find good spots in the city (live in London)

Soooo, I want to make a web app to help find good spots nearby. As I'm just a novice, I'd love to get you guys' feedback on this idea and answers to some questions:

What kinds of things do you want to know about a tree before you climb it. Free climbing vs rope climbing, easy vs hard, pictures, description, etc

Are there safety concerns to take into account giving information about potentially risky trees to any idiot

Are there environmental concerns with having potentially dozens (hundreds?) of people coming to climb the same tree

Is this just a stupid idea? Should I just go out to a park before engineering an entire website?

Any other general feedback on what you think about this idea? Especially interested to know if other cityfolk think this would help them

Thanks much you guys

Couldn't you just create a map group where people can set pins and descriptions in google maps?

Environmental concerns? Yes...my concern would be continuos cambium burn from those who use double rope without cambium savers.

Not a terrible idea - I'd put up a disclaimer to protect your hide or a way to remain anonymous because there might be legal issues.

I remember Pfanner Man telling me he has been ticketed for recreation climbing


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lukehesluke

New Member
Couldn't you just create a map group where people can set pins and descriptions in google maps?
This is a great point, NorCalBrock. It's easy as a programmer to want to over-engineer everything. A map group would be an easy way to search by location. The only reason I'm thinking of something like an app is so that it's easy to add spots. What I imagine is someone finding a spot, taking a picture on their phone, and their phone automatically getting location from the phone's GPS. In this way, a pin can automatically be added to the map

Environmental concerns? Yes...my concern would be continuos cambium burn from those who use double rope without cambium savers.
Thanks, I wasn't aware of this! I have a feeling there's gonna be a few concerns such as these. My thinking is that any website or app encouraging people to climb trees needs to have a very visible section on advising climbers how to be as environmentally friendly as possible

I remember Pfanner Man telling me he has been ticketed for recreation climbing
Didn't know this was possible! Will need to some reading up on this. Thanks!
 

NorCalBrock

Well-Known Member
This is a great point, NorCalBrock. It's easy as a programmer to want to over-engineer everything. A map group would be an easy way to search by location. The only reason I'm thinking of something like an app is so that it's easy to add spots. What I imagine is someone finding a spot, taking a picture on their phone, and their phone automatically getting location from the phone's GPS. In this way, a pin can automatically be added to the map



Thanks, I wasn't aware of this! I have a feeling there's gonna be a few concerns such as these. My thinking is that any website or app encouraging people to climb trees needs to have a very visible section on advising climbers how to be as environmentally friendly as possible



Didn't know this was possible! Will need to some reading up on this. Thanks!

I'm not a layer, but I don't think the disclaimer has to be anything longer than paragraph.

Check out some of the YouTube channels out there - like climbing arborist. They are clearly intended as training videos, but they "aren't training videos".

I'm sure there are hiking apps with similar features.

Personally, I don't want to climb where others are climbing for two reasons: 1) another climber in the tree is an additional hazard...I have little control over their attention to safety and proximity 2) my gear is expensive and I don't want to worry about someone walking away with a bag of gear worth $3,000


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NorCalBrock

Well-Known Member
Nonetheless- it is fun and I can see why people would want to meet and share knowledge and best practices.

I just meet with other trained climbers on a job site and make money doing it. [emoji57]


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ARLO

Well-Known Member
You guys are really opening up a can of worms. Although I live out here in the wild west (Oregon), there are restrictions on where and when we can climb, and there are concerns about recreational climbing in old trees. Just for starters, there are seasonal restrictions on climbing in old-growth trees in the coastal mountains of western Oregon because of concerns about disturbing nesting marbled murrelets. Some climbers ignore those restrictions, but they are something you need to be aware of. In addition, tree climbing in state parks requires permits if you are involved in research (I am less certain about rec climbing). And probably most importantly, it is very difficult to climb big old-growth trees without knocking off lichens and moss that takes hundreds of years to develop. This might not be a big concern if trees are only getting climbed once or twice and the climbers are very conscientious about not damaging the tree, but it does become a concern if the tree is going to be climbed many times. If the tree is on a steep slope it is also difficult to climb without dislodging the duff layer on the ground around the tree, and this can be especially bad if the tree gets climbed a lot.

For the above reasons I am not a big fan of publishing the locations of big old trees. Doing that means that they are likely to get loved to death by climbers. I know that this might come off as a bit snobbish or elitist, but I really do think we should not go out of our way to make it easy for people to find the big trees. Make them work at it so they don't all end up climbing the same trees over and over. So, if you are going to do an app, my suggestion would be one that gives only very general directions about good areas to go climb trees, with lots of advice regarding climbing restrictions and things to do that will help reduce the impact of your activities.
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
I think @ARLO has got it... information about places where it is ok to climb trees, what restrictions apply, who to contact before going, etc. is the really useful info that a rec climber needs. Choosing which particular tree to climb is half the fun, so that info isn't even needed, really. More useful, would be information about which ones NOT to climb! Such an app might encourage enthusiasts to do this research... find out where the good, legal places to climb are at... how to obtain permission, etc. and publish it could actually help promote climbing, in general. So, the idea is a good one. Climbing on private land... perhaps the app should provide a .PDF Release From Liability form that the user can print off, to give to nervous landowners. Embedded articles on best practices, how to approach landowners about climbing in their trees without alarming them, how to approach city officials about developing sensible policies regarding climbing trees on city property and in parks.

The better you plan out its functionality and goals, the more useful the app will be. :)
 

lukehesluke

New Member
Some great responses you guys :D

Here is a DIY cambium saver that can be made at low cost:



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@NorCalBrock this is fantastic information. Plus I'm very curious now what your job is? :)

@ARLO :

1. That's very interesting about the level of restrictions even in Oregon. Britain is running low on wildlife as it is and tends to be on the heavy side around regulations, so this requires serious research. I wonder if I've only ever been climbing as a naive fool :p

2. Destruction of trees is terrible for so many reasons. I'm not sure how best to approach that a moment, but it seems like there should be a hard limit on how much a tree gets climbed per year. Given that unsupervised Johnny Anybodies can not be trusted to take all the necessary safety precautions, despite how much they're informed, a hard limit would need to assume the worst case, that everybody climbs destructively

I like the idea of only showing general areas. I can see this still being potentially damaging for areas with only one or two great trees. THIS REQUIRES SOME MEDITATION

@JeffGu I 100% agree with you. The idea I'm getting is that there's a lot of knowledge required to climb trees safely and legally. This knowledge can be global (e.g. DIY cambium saver skills) or regional (e.g. London's tree climbing regulations). It can be useful to know locations, but really no more specific than e.g. "lovely London plane trees towards the west entrance of Richmond park - best in early Spring"

This is a really productive conversation, people, I'm very glad to have asked (y)
 

lukehesluke

New Member
Another question - @ARLO , where have you generally been able to find out info about climbing restrictions / regulations. Park? County? State? UK isn't USA but I'm wondering if this could give me some idea of where to look in UK government
 

ARLO

Well-Known Member
Another question - @ARLO , where have you generally been able to find out info about climbing restrictions / regulations. Park? County? State? UK isn't USA but I'm wondering if this could give me some idea of where to look in UK government

In most states you can contact the State Parks Division to find out regs regarding climbing in State Parks or other state managed lands. In general you don't need permission to climb trees on US Forest Service or BLM lands, but climbing on federal wildlife refuges requires a permit. For that you need to check with the refuge manager. For information on restrictions on climbing in marbled murrelet habitat during the nesting season you need to check with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In general you are really asking for it if you climb any trees on private lands without permission. For that you need to talk to the individual landowners.
 

papadirk

Active Member
The app that I would like to see for rec climbing is a climb tracker app. I have one for skiing that logs in the number of runs, ave. & top speed, distance etc. It even maps the trails I have skied.
A climb tracker could be similar by tracking climb locations, duration, heights, accents, swings, etc. It could also have a place to enter rope type & hitch type. Does anyone know if something along these line may already exists?
 

ARLO

Well-Known Member
The app that I would like to see for rec climbing is a climb tracker app. I have one for skiing that logs in the number of runs, ave. & top speed, distance etc. It even maps the trails I have skied.
A climb tracker could be similar by tracking climb locations, duration, heights, accents, swings, etc. It could also have a place to enter rope type & hitch type. Does anyone know if something along these line may already exists?
We old school guys refer to this as "field notes". I can think of many other activities conducted in trees that such an app could track. Things like number of tree pee breaks, did you get lucky, with who, etc....
 

NorCalBrock

Well-Known Member
@lukeshesluke I have a pruning and removal business and go to rec climbs organized by TreeStuff or pay for training with TCIA or ACRT


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SomethingWitty

Arkansawyer
Okay, so I have no idea about an app, but I can say that private property is definitely easier to swing.
All that takes is a quick video disclaimer on the landowner's cell phone from everyone and you get to going.
A written release would probably even convince most hesitant landowners.
I've been rec climbing with a few friends in a local neighborhood park where we've encountered some sort of board member/authority figure, and she stopped and asked us a few questions. After it was explained that we were all professional climbers and were using the least invasive modern climbing methods and all of the work-required PPE to just goof off and explore a few beautiful trees as well as teach each other, she seemed to be quite happy to let us stay there and climb.

City parks tend to vary in legality, but state parks here in AR are a definite no-no without special permission.
No matter what, if you walk in like you own the place and wear hats and glasses you will be less likely to get into any trouble. Look shady and you'll be met with suspicion.
 

NorCalBrock

Well-Known Member
Careful to avoid those treestuff tower climbs...
When I was at a rec climb, unbeknownst to me, a newb was trying to disconnect my base anchor while I was ascending! Luckily another climber on the ground noticed and called him out with "what the f%#k are you doing!" before he got too far. :-/


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Bob Bob

Well-Known Member
The app would need to have the exact GPS location(s) of the tree(s) and maybe a user driven rating system for tree set-points (this would help users to determine if the set point is legit). Old fashioned directions could help also. Other key info to include would be species, height, diameter, and estimated # of pitches. It would also be great to know if it's a champion tree. Field notes or general notes would also be helpful along with pictures. Having the app support different languages would also be very helpful since not everyone speaks A-mer-i-can. The app should also allow you to do a set point anywhere- state forest to toxic waste facility; it's the end user that has to set their own risk level tolerance. Legality of the site is also the end users responsibility and I'm sure a disclaimer could state this in several different languages.

The shared google map is a great suggestion, and much easier to develop then a new app. Both an app and map would require people to share their knowledge which sadly looks like it will be a problem.

Being closed handed with knowledge is just not cool so I disagree with the majority-lets keep the old trees secret vibe that's happening here. Hording knowledge is arrogant and selfish. Promoting the location of big and old growth trees helps others enjoy and appreciate them just like you do. Can trees be over-loved? Sure, but we are talking about a very small population of recreational tree climbers or at the very least a very small population of tree loving loving hikers. I'll put it this way, what would you know if someone somewhere didn't share some of their knowledge with you? Answer = not much

Anyone looking for locations of old growth trees to climb in southeast Ohio? I'm happy to share........
 
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