Topped then neglected, now I need to climb it.


New Member
Greetings, I'm looking for input from seasoned, veteran climbers. I'm rather new to this stuff.
I have a Silver Maple that was topped to about 30 or 35 feet, about 15 to 20 years ago, and then left to do its own thing. The sucker growth at the topping wounds grew upward, now reaching 20 to 25 feet in length. What I have is several stems that look like "Thing" from the Addams Family but with the fingers pointing up. Add in decay starting in the "palm" and running down the center of the "wrist" and you will have a good picture of what I am dealing with.
Residential area, targets everywhere! The outside of each "finger" looks like it has knit well with the stubs left from the topping. The inside edges are not secured to much, and what is there is hollowing out.
I was thinking about a few approaches. One is, tie the fingers together, loop them to each other and climb past the stabilization(s) until I am high enough to cut pieces safe to drop or rig down. Climbing any one by itself would result in it falling out from the palm, I am sure. With the support of the other fingers I think the clusters will hold. Also, as I get about 15 feet or so above the old topping point, the fingers might actually be able to be pulled together enough to touch.
Another idea I would like opinions on was to try "salami cuts" and drop the fingers straight down through the rest of the canopy. My main concerns with this are, 1) that's a rather advanced technique and I'm still a tenderfoot, 2) I don't know if my saw would cut fast enough for it to work in the first place. I can practice to help decide about the saw's performance, so maybe that isn't really an issue. Still, though, a 20 to 25 foot limb dropping straight down from 30 or 35 feet is not real appealing to me.
I am wide open for suggestions! A bucket truck or platform lift cannot access the tree due to the targets I mentioned earlier or this would already be done!
Thank you to anyone who tries to help. I appreciate your time and wisdom.


Well-Known Member
I would suggest hiring or contracting a lift...Silver Maples can be challenging at times with no central tie ins and bad rope angles. Either get a lift or find a very reputable contract climber in your area. You can handle the logistics and ground work and he can handle the climbing and rigging make money, he makes money, but most importantly you get to learn from an experienced climber. Just make sure he has his own liability insurance and everything is above board on his end. I think, and ego's are what can get people killed in any at height disciplines. No shame in realizing your limits and turning it into a learning experience. Stay safe. Cheers


Well-Known Member
My Island, WA
It’s going to be impossible to try to help you without photos, and a better understanding of where your at in climbing.
Yes salami cuts could work, and you can do it with a small under powered saw if you know what your doing. I can do it in 8” wood with a stock ms 150 without a blink of the eye.
Sometimes on fuzzed out previously topped maples I will tie into a bundle of stems.


Well-Known Member
Have a few strategies but yes need pics to tailor to your situation.

Ring roped a Eucalyptus and salami cut six limbs 2 years ago. Worked great till a tiny bud half way up a 55 foot leader grabbed the rope ring and leader spun like a march leaders sceptre and took out gutter on neighbours property.

Partly due to using a polesaw thinking it was safer - it wasn’t - and destroyed the shaft.

Set up the cut with a chainsaw with better fine control, and use a polesaw for a trigger/release cut if feel safer in your situation.

My job was done as a favor for someone as 9 other company’s passed on the job. Favor that cost me a shaft and $250...


Well-Known Member
As part of your strategy, consider running your climbing line through a sling below the palm, to mitigate in the event you break off. If you think you'll need it, you're in too far and should re-evaluate. If you think you don't need it, stick in anyways...
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