Spiking leaners, any advice?

Location
Ontario
I've been climbing for a few years and I know leaning leads just suck but I'm wondering if there's any advice or tricks I'm missing when spiking leaning trees when you've no other TIP. Thanks in advance!
 

Chaplain242

Branched out member
Best way is to preset a line from the ground to the tip of the leader with a second line and ropewalk that out to the tip of the leader

If spurless and no preset line can be installed it can be a painfully laborious sling-step and sling-grip ascent.

I find this happens especially on topped trees where the branches become leaders and are heavy leaners but also easily snap-able as overextended in some cases so having progressive rope tie-ins(similar to dog-bones when rock climbing) can be helpful as far as safety or confidence goes.

Some climbers stay on top all the way but in small diameter stuff with few side branches I often go underneath and use my lanyard using arms similar to hip-thrusting to advance, when high enough tie a rope running-bowline style then a wrap around the leader, take a step back down, then haul myself on top of the branch again. Sometimes use a wrap with my lanyard if bark too slippery or angle too steep.

If spurless can be a painfully laborious sling-step and sling-grip ascent.

Best way is to preset a second line from the ground to the tip of the leader and ropewalk/hand ascender that out to the end/tip of the leader

Would like to hear others techniques
 

Stumpsprouts

Branched out member
Location
Asheville
Some climbers stay on top all the way
That would be my only piece of advice. When you approach from below it’s quite a PITA to get topside. I would simply spike from bottom up.

This can also be a good time to use strategic stub placement. On a heavy leaner, if you are rigging, those stubs aren’t going to foul up your pieces.
 

Dan Cobb

Branched out member
Location
Hoover
Before I had spurs, I twice screwed a few 2x6 rungs to the top side of steep branches to facilitate getting past treacherous spots and provide a stable work position. I'm sure that violates many folks' idea of how tree work should be done (and I don't disagree), but it worked well and takes almost no time with the screws already run into the 2x6s and a cordless drill. I'd have spent more time figuring out how to do it another way or been slow working in a precarious position. BTW, both times were on trees at my house, so I didn't have to worry about being publicly ridiculed.
 
Oh leaners! Take your time, triple check your gaff sets and dont lean forward without proper points of contact because at a certain point the gaffs will rip the tree fibers into oblivion because the load increases when you lean forward ever so slightly. Theres a threshold where buckstrap and gaff work safely together. If you lean forward and dont hold a point of contact to compensate for the load on the buckstrap (thats now loose in need of a slight tightening) gaff load increases and next thing you know you’re sliding four, five, six feet down the trunk. Going up is 100% safer especially if you set a canopy anchor first, also this has been more prevelant in Red(scotch) pine trees. Throw in a mature shaggyish bark red pine and it’s not a matter of IF youre going to have a gaff slip in the tree but it becomes a matter of WHEN. They’re my least favorite species to climb and my most favorite to kill. Yin yang sort of I suppose? So many of them out here it is what it is. Because of this most times I’ll throw my split tail on at the base of the tree right along with my buckstrap. I call it my emergency brake and it works!
 

Chaplain242

Branched out member
That would be my only piece of advice. When you approach from below it’s quite a PITA to get topside. I would simply spike from bottom up.

This can also be a good time to use strategic stub placement. On a heavy leaner, if you are rigging, those stubs aren’t going to foul up your pieces.
Can be a PITA - but found I can still be faster sometimes doing it that way. Whatever works in the situation
 
The leaner is an art form. Sometimes you can gaff and hand ascender with a long lanyard but the angle of the gaff will make or break you. More than once have I ended up racking the leaner in a bad place.
We only hug the trees cause we hafta right!? got lucky at age 19 my first slide was a smooth maple tree. The locusts not so nice to hug! Couple awesome scars tho. I tell ppl I got mauled by a small leopard
 
Can be a PITA - but found I can still be faster sometimes doing it that way. Whatever works in the situation
I think they need to make PITA an official arbor cultural term cause none of it is easy just less of a pain in the patoot the more experience gained and tricks learned. Actually…..that’d be a hell of a company name!! “P. I. T. A. Tree Co.” probably already taken….
 

RyanCafferky

Branched out member
My advice if you have nothing else to tie into other than the stem you are spurring is to tie in twice either by using an adjustable friction saver or a choked SRT line. Keep your lanyard long so your weight is on your spurs and not pulling your torso near the stem which limits the amount of weight you can put on the spurs. If I need to lean to either side to make a cut or install rigging gear, I choke my lanyard on the stem in an SRT configuration so I can lean against it. I position it so the choke point is on the far side of the stem so I can pull myself back on top when I need to.

I echo Rico’s sentiments. Don’t put yourself on the underside of a leaner. That is so much more physical and difficult.
 
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Chaplain242

Branched out member
My advice if you have nothing else to tie into other than the stem you are spurring is to tie in twice either by using an adjustable friction saver or a choked SRT line. If I need to lean to either side to make a cut or install rigging gear I choke my lanyard on the stem in an SRT configuration so I can lean against it. I position it so the choke point is on the far side of the stem so I can pull myself back on top when I need to.

I echo Rico’s sentiments. Don’t put yourself on the underside of a leaner. That is so much more physical and difficult. Getting comfortable with your lanyard being long and confident putting all of your weight on your spurs is the key.
Completely agree with being on top is better, but the amount of times I have slipped off and ended up underneath I dont waste time anymore once under, I just proceed and get back on top at the destination - I dont go back for slippy seconds...
 
Completely agree with being on top is better, but the amount of times I have slipped off and ended up underneath I dont waste time anymore once under, I just proceed and get back on top at the destination - I dont go back for slippy seconds...
Ya just gotta run with it and act like you meant to do it!! Yer not alone there chief!!! Only a fool would get slapped twice!!
 
I will admit, all my experience and bravery goes out the window when it comes to this type of situation. I believe I have the experience and conditioning to accomplish spiking a large gnarly leaner but without another tree or good tie in point I pass these up almost 100 percent of the time. I'm talking mostly about a tree that doesn't have other leads to tie into, just a single gnarly leaner I get too much fear for it to be safe. I just wanted to throw that out there because passing it up is another option and I have no problem admitting that. I am terrified of being stuck on the underside and unable to get on top again and running out of strength. But I most do pruning and medium removals with about 5-6 years experience total so I am not as experienced with gnarly removals as you folks.

Question: I came across this on youtube, would this method help much on a leaner ? I thought it was neat but not sure how much this could help or apply here.

 
Oh yes. That is the fanciest freaking most complex “split tail” I’ve ever seen. Essentially the same exact thing minus a ring, carbiner and mechanical hitch(of which I completely despise). What I see here are added points of failure to a more simplistic system. Big fan of KISS(not the band) keep it simple smarty. Just wondering if anyone has bent a mechanical hitch and or broken them? Do they fail? How often? Funny to see it jam up just like a blake at first Climb any which way you please to reach the ground safely but I have four split tails with thimbles that I spliced myself(7th season lobsterman) and I’d take that all day over any of the fancy stuff. I tie a bowline to a bean and clip that to my harness and follow suit with my split tail tying a blake hitch(i add two wraps to ease the knot from binding so often, IT WORKS!! ) definitely can see how the advanced wicked expensive system in the video keeps you closer to the tree but the same concept can be attained with knots and line. That bean to ring setup would have me messing my pants all day. Now im worried about six other things going wrong versus two to three. Definitely fancy and I may actually use this in a time of need but I feel like I can get just as close to the tree and play the bight just as much…maybe? Not sure cause I trust what’s worked for me over the last 16 years. I still gots all me fangahs and toe digits too…..
 

treesap

Participating member
Location
east TN
why the ring and carabiner? wouldnt a quickie thru the bowline or spliced eye be faster, cheaper, and less to go wrong?


p.s, if anyone has a quickie you would sell for cheap HMU
 
Makes sense to me what you are all saying. I have never tried anything quite like it myself but what intrigued me about it was 2 things: it does appear to keep you closer to the trunk and second as you work down you are tied in still around the spar as you go down. Perhaps a simpler way to accomplish this is better for sure. Cheers
 

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