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TOPIC: ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador

ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 8 years 10 months ago #133390

  • HooT
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Howdy folks ~

Not wanting in the least to stir a hornets nest, and maybe this isn't the best place for this inquiry, (and if it isn't maybe you can suggest where might be the best place??), but I am deeply curious about establishing relationships with community \"authorities\" who have various dominions over prime tree climbing areas such as city parks. I feel like just maybe the process of defining and legitimizing recreational tree climbing as an accepted and responsible pursuit as it relates to obtaining permission to climb in public places should be considered within the domain of Accepted Climbing Practices (ACP). (whew)

I dunno about you folks, but I am tired of ninja climbs as my main outlet for climbing good trees (not saying I won't do them anymore!...) and am lusting after some massive mature trees in some public places that I would just love to climb in my area (and have had my eye on for a while). I would like to solicit people's input and perspective on establishing functional relationships with park authorities (or tree authorities wherever they may be found) if this is something that you have managed to accomplish in your neck of the woods.

Or, if you are a tree authority (I know there are a couple of climbers on these boards who also enjoy professional positions as park rangers, etc.) I would love to know how you would want to be approached if you didn't know anything about rec. tree climbing, and what would need to be presented to you in order for you to grant permission to climb the trees within your purview.

Ultimately I suspect that if our community of climbers had a defined protocol (or set of guidelines) to use when we want to build a positive relationship with a municipal / governmental tree authority it would be of great help, not only to get into some amazing trees, but also to further legitimize the public's perception of recreational tree climbing as a responsible sport, hobby, and/or pastime.
Thanks!
~HooT
So many Trees... So little Time!
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Acceptable Climbing Practices 8 years 10 months ago #133392

  • TreeTramp
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Dear HooT,

You have asked a question that has been weighing on my mind for years and I applaud your efforts in requesting comments. I also find it difficult to trespass in a public park to climb in their trees without permission. When you get down to it we really have no defense for our actions just because the effort in getting permission is so great. Don’t get me started about “It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission”. The public authorities’ are responsible for preserving the health of their park lands; fauna and flora as well as the safety of the people using them. In that lays the rub- Liability. Just look at the lack of injury from Recreational Tree Climbing as compared with every other sport that takes place in our parks.

There are many sports that require permission to use public lands. Some require a just a signed notice of use with or without a user fee; some require a waiver; some require that you pay a bond to pay for the search and rescue team expenses if you fail to complete your event within the allowed time. In each case the authority has the responsibility to determine if you are capable to completing your event without injury, harm or damage to yourself, others or the property. What better way is there than to present your credentials of capability than presenting a diploma stating that you have satisfactory completed a Basic Tree Climbing course based on Acceptable Climbing Practices?

An Instructor following the Acceptable Climbing Practices guidelines established by a board of Recreational Tree Climbing leaders can teach you how to safely climb on your own without supervision. The Instructor has insurance coverage in effect while you are a student but you are on your own once you leave the class. The group that I am referring to is in the final stages of formation is called Global Organization of Tree Climbers aka GoTreeClimbing; GOTC; http://www.GoTreeClimbing.org

Currently we are composing guidelines for Instructors/Facillators to meet or exceed for conducting private lessons; public climbs; etc. Our goal is to have ACP’s for all styles of recreational tree climbing. Any person can join as a General Member or with board approval join as an Instructor/Facillator. (Instructor: Person who teaches others climbing, facilitator or instructor skills. Facilitator: Person who conducts a group, program, or similar climb.)
I consider the satisfactory completion of a Basic Tree Climbing class that follows GOTC guidelines the best place to start in building your credentials. The student that has completed to the satisfaction of their GOTC recognized Instructor their ability to climb without supervision should be able to present their credentials to a landowner or public property official to attempt to get permission for recreational tree climbing. If more terms are required, I suggest presenting a waiver stating you hold the landowner harmless in case of injury to yourself and present a certificate of insurance stating you are financially responsible for injury to others or damages to the property. Everyone would benefit with a personal liability policy and if combined with possible additional coverage you will have demonstrated financial responsibility.

I am all in favor of campaigning to the authorities to make known that there are proven skill building processes that work and have passed the test of time. There are no easy answers or easy paths but we can refine this process to establish Recreational Tree Climbing as a recognized activity for all ages and abilities.

See you at the top,
Dan House
Tree Climbing Kansas City http://treeclimbingkansascity.com/

NOTE: the comments posted here are my vision alone and do not represent the consensus views of the GOTC organization at this time.
Last Edit: 8 years 10 months ago by TreeTramp.
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Re: Acceptable Climbing Practices 8 years 6 months ago #133905

  • oldtimer
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Amen to that said by Tree Tramp!
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Re: Acceptable Climbing Practices 8 years 6 months ago #133963

I've been just getting involved in the inner workings of the city bureaucracy. I'm meeting people, shaking hands, going to meetings, observing, asking, reading...I will soon start formally requesting permission from the people who I think are most likely to grant it.

I'm sure more people get hurt playing soccer in LA parks...but they can still play!

love
nick
Would you like a lanyard spliced up, or anything else for that matter??? Give me a call- 323-384-7770 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Re:ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 8 years 2 months ago #134206

This has been on my mind for a while...
It seems there are two topics here, the legality of climbing pubic trees, and the standards of teaching/equipment. I see the need to calm the friction created by reinventing the wheel. Doesn't ACP of tree climbing already exist through WOGA (or other insurance), ANZI, and ISA? Speaking of insurance, I was recently asked by a fellow arborist if the recreational insurance carriers would honor those of us who already instruct professionally and have CPR / rescue certifications done annually... my guess would be yes? Tree Climbing USAs web site says "An instructor per our insurance carrier indicates at a 1 to 10 ratio; however. we hold to the 1 to 6" Does this mean insurance doesn't give a hoot about rec community standards and certifications?

Don't get me wrong, i do see a need for standards. While climbing in oregon everyone used a wrench to lock their delta links, at tanglewood i saw people using their fingers. I also learned there is some conflict over screw locks.. but if you are finger tightening a delta it IS a screw lock... and what about people not using the top hole of the ascender for life support applications as per the directions? I also see lots of rec tree climbing photos that show termination knots with no back up knot... rock climbers use two back up knots, professional tree climbers use one, and rec tree climbers use none? hmmmmm...

So we need standards, but i agree that they need to be expanded to allow for more techniques and more equipment. I read that the GOTC has rules about only using arborist equipment. I teach my rock climbing buddies to climb trees using their own gear that's used for top roping... which is normally anchored to (drum roll please) a tree! Take away the rock holds and they will be ascending with AID techniques just like us tree climbers, no different. Personally i see no reason to make a rock climber invest in two sets of gear.

As far as the legality of climbing public trees goes, i contacted the local authorities who informed me there is no current law on the books regarding tree climbing. My fear is that with the police state we live in today, police are legislators, judges, jury, and executioners on the spot... my hope is that the alphabet soup groups can protect us from this tyranny.

I'd like to thank all of you who have made efforts to this effect. Good luck and happy climbing!
adam
Last Edit: 8 years 2 months ago by ReginaARC. Reason: i think the auto log out was my fault...
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Re:ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 8 years 2 months ago #134209

  • moss
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Regina, just wanted to address a couple of your points:

The guidelines on the GOTC website are intended for "program climbs" which means they are written as a guide for facilitators/climb organizers who are running organized climbs for beginners or first-time climbers. They are not "rules" they are recommended best practices based on 20 years plus experience of the instructors who wrote the guidelines. They are definitely not guidelines or "rules" for individual climbers. So for program climbs it is recommended that tree climbing harnesses be provided as opposed to torturing people by making them climb trees in rock harnesses :-)

It's totally legit and safe to finger tighten screwlinks for life support purposes on New Tribe climbing harnesses. I can finger tighten a screwlink so that you'll need a wrench to take it off but there's no point in doing that. If you snug them up tight with your fingers they'll never loosen on their own. The nut on a screwlink is double-threaded, it takes quite a few turns to open up a gap. Very different than the few turns it takes to open a screwgate biner, it's comparing apples and oranges. I've never had or seen a screwlink that was properly finger tightened become unscrewed on a climber's harness. For rigging situations it's a different matter due to the potentially extreme dynamic loads involved.

My experience is that climbers have to do their own work locally to gain acceptance for tree climbing on public trees. Top down approach won't work, every town, city, park, chunk of public land is different with different people involved. The best you can do at this point is be diplomatic, show competence, be persuasive and patient. There are plenty of out of the way trees that can be climbed without climbing the gorgeous tree in the middle of a heavily traveled town or city park. When asked, any liability lawyer will tell a city or town land manager that tree climbing is much too risky to allow.
-moss
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Re:ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 8 years 2 months ago #134210

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ReginaARC wrote:
...My fear is that with the police state we live in today, police are legislators, judges, jury, and executioners on the spot... my hope is that the alphabet soup groups can protect us from this tyranny.

My number one rule for climb locations is don't climb where a vehicle can roll up to within sight of or within easy walking distance of a tree. Following that rule I've never been bothered by police.
-moss
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Re:ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 8 years 2 months ago #134211

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ReginaARC wrote:
... and what about people not using the top hole of the ascender for life support applications as per the directions?

Not to get picky on you but Petzl recommends using the lower attachment point for life support applications on their ascenders. At least that's what they show in the technical notice that comes with their ascenders. I think that's a working tree climber practice to attach to the upper hole (ANSI rule?). I have nothing against using the upper hole but there is no manufacturer requirement or recommendation to use the top hole. If you're rigging a DdRT system off of a handled ascender it would be insane not to attach to the upper hole but for normal SRT ascent the lower attachment point is valid. I've never heard of a rec climbing (or work climbing) incident where the lower attachment point failed. This practice is in the context of always using a second ascender or equivalent also with a life support tether so there is protection in case one ascender fails.
-moss
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Re:ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 7 years 5 months ago #134841

  • 2chops
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Here's my take on the standards & ethics issue. No matter how good they may be, they won't cause anyone to abide by them. Just like posted speed limits and the known consequences for getting caught breaking them. Many folks tend to do what they think they can get away with. We've all done this. All of us. One time or another. Ninja climb anyone?

We, as climbers/facilitators/arborists, have good standards already in place. ISA, ANSI and TCI have this covered. We are all ambassadors as far as I'm concerned. I talked and explained and showed video to a lot of people here in Williamsport in order to get permission to run my climbing academy on city owned land. The Streets & Parks GF was firmly on the side of NO at first. But after hearing my pitch a few times, and realising that I did indeed take the whole safety thing seriously he changed his tune. Now I have the oppertunity and responsibility to be diligent in the course of my operations. We all do.

Ron
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Re:ACP - Tree Climbing Ambassador 7 years 5 months ago #134844

  • greenluck
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Just don't get caught.....

If you do, ask what city ordinance you are in violation of.

If you get some form of ticket, don't pay the fine & show up for the court date (if one is offered, like a minor traffic violation). You may wind-up having the ticket/fine thrown out.

The risk of getting caught never prevented me from climbing trees in public parks that I help pay for.....
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