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TOPIC: Sport vs Arborist Techniques

Sport vs Arborist Techniques 1 year 7 months ago #137679

  • BrianF
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If you look at rock climbing, it basically started as a mountaineering technique. Climbers used lots and lots of gear and anchor points. Climbing a single rock face was like a miniature mountain expedition.

Out of this foundation sport climbing eventually emerged. Things got simpler. A lot of equipment changed from climbing aids that were integral to ascents to mostly safety features. Rock climbing became much more focused on strength and climbing techniques than on the use of climbing equipment to make ascents. These days people often free climb in a day what would have taken weeks with an expedition climbing mindset.

Then there is recreational tree climbing. I'm new and a relative outsider to the activity, but to me recreational tree climbing is very much in it's infancy. It still seems to based largely around arborist techniques. If trees were rocks, the methods seem much more akin to mountaineering techniques than to sport climbing.

Yet to me recreational tree climbing seems much more suited for a minimalist or sport style approach. Trees aren't very tall, at least not compared to mountains. Even a complex climb is hardly more than a couple hour endeavor. Plus recreational climbers do not always have to get to the top. Climbing trees seem much more like climbing on a recreational climbing wall than up the side of a mountain.

I mean an arborist can buy a climbing kit, use it for a while, and before long make it high up into almost anything they need to climb. So recreational climber buys similar equipment, and before long they can also make it way up into almost any tree they care to climb. Then what? Climb another tree, and another, and another. What is just another day on the job for a tree trimmer becomes one predictable and almost assured climb after another for a skilled recreational climber.

It make sense to me that eventually a recreational climber might start trying to find ways to make a climb more interesting and challenging. Instead of relying on techniques that are proven to almost always work if properly applied, a climber might start trying to do things differently, climbing with less and less equipment, relying more and more on skill and strength.

I really feel like tree climbing had tremendous room to grow and evolve as a sport. It can change from something that basically emulates tree worker techniques, to something much closer to boulder or short face rock climbing. I can possibly see more and more people climbing for sport and fitness and developing all kinds of new approaches and techniques. To me this feels like it would be interesting and exciting to be a part of.

Me, I've always liked climbing things. Now I'm motivated to do it a lot more seriously. I really want to learn as much as I can, but I also can't promise to follow all the sound advice. I look at all these trees and think, "If I went out and bought this, this, and that, and practiced a little I could climb right to the top." But then I think, "But how can I get up there with as little equipment as possible?" To me that is where the challenge is at and what makes tree climbing interesting.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of this post is, except to share my observations and perhaps encourage folks to think outside the box. Take care and happy climbing.
Last Edit: 1 year 7 months ago by BrianF.
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