some canopy scientists do know how to climb...

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12 years 7 months ago #131219 by moss
Ok, I checked out the Ascending the Giants web site and their YouTube video, at least one that I found. I didn't hear any comments about researchers but it must be somewhere. I remember these guys, a pair of arborists from Portland, Oregon. We had a discussion about them somewhere on the TCI message board. Overall they have good intent and a good message for the general public. They speak quite a bit about leave no trace and low impact climbing. They are promoting a \"peak-bagging \" mentality. If they're the only one doing it then it's not too much of a problem. The question is how many climbers will be inspired to follow them? We know that if the same champion trees in PNW old-growth are climbed repeatedly that there will be wear and tear on the ground, understory and in the canopy.

Just wondering though, isn't the vertical range of a big shot and fishing reel combo firing a 3 or 4 oz weight similar to crossbows or compound bows used by PNW research climbers?
-moss

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12 years 7 months ago #131224 by MEA
Hi Moss,
In the version of Ascending the Giants that I saw (also on YouTube) the tall tree researcher comment is in the first minute. Yes, I too thought that the video was well done in terms of inspiring people to get out into the woods... whether or not they plan on climbing. Their message generally is a very good one-- educating more folks about how great trees are... yay! I only hope it won't inspire too many people to climb the epiphyte-laden trees of the Olympic peninsula.
Regarding your other question, I've never used a Big Shot-- can it shoot 250+ feet? I watched some folks using one in Australia and they too were aiming for the lowest branch of a very tall tree. Perhaps that is less an issue of range and more due to some other factor... not sure.
Anyway, thanks for your insights.
Cheers,
MEA

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12 years 7 months ago #131226 by moss
MEA wrote:

...Regarding your other question, I've never used a Big Shot-- can it shoot 250+ feet? I watched some folks using one in Australia and they too were aiming for the lowest branch of a very tall tree. Perhaps that is less an issue of range and more due to some other factor... not sure.


I've only fired one with 10 oz bags and 1.75 or 2mm throwline. With full extension of the sling I think I can hit 120+. I've never tried it with a fishing reel and 3 or 4 oz weight so I have no idea. Be curious if anyone is hitting 200+ feet with that combo, it seems like it should be able to. With trees in my area (New England) there isn't any reason to shoot 200' since you'd be going well over the top of our tallest trees.

I figure with any tree entry there is going to be some disturbance of epiphytes, clearly the less number of times an individual PNW tree is climbed the better. I imagine that you have tag lines in trees you are studying so you can ascend directly to the upper canopy without having to screw around with shooting lines (and the potential branch thrashing that's involved) for every climb.
-moss

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12 years 7 months ago #131233 by michaeljspraggon
Replied by michaeljspraggon on topic Re:some canopy scientists do know how to climb...
I've used 8 oz bags with my Big Shot. It extends the range to about 130ft (VERY rough guess). I'm pretty sure that 250ft or even 200 ft is beyond the Big Shot. It's down to how fast the rubber hose can contract (don't forget the rubber itself is fairly heavy and there is also the hysteresis energy loss in the rubber) I'm guessing that 170ft would be about the limit.

Now somebody is bound to reply saying they've shot 220ft :laugh:

Michael

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12 years 7 months ago - 12 years 7 months ago #131234 by moss
michaeljspraggon wrote:

I've used 8 oz bags with my Big Shot. It extends the range to about 130ft (VERY rough guess). I'm pretty sure that 250ft or even 200 ft is beyond the Big Shot. It's down to how fast the rubber hose can contract (don't forget the rubber itself is fairly heavy and there is also the hysteresis energy loss in the rubber) I'm guessing that 170ft would be about the limit.

Now somebody is bound to reply saying they've shot 220ft :laugh:

Michael


MEA, thanks for hanging in there in the discussion overall and please bear with us during this slight digression into big slingshot range :-)

Michael, I'm thinking about say a 3 oz weight with fishing line, I wonder how high that would go from a big slingshot?

Also, thanks for challenging my vocabulary! I looked it up here:
Hysteresis

Apparently you're referring to elasticity \"lag\" or dynamic loss of energy while the sling is in an extended state?

I noticed that the \"Ascending the Giants\" climbers were using a fishing reel with their big shot. The question is were they taking the lowest available branch because they could visually assess it or was it because it was in their limited firing range? MEA's suggestion that it's best to place the line on the highest reachable branch to lower climber impact on epiphytes makes a heap of sense. It also raises the bar on rope placement and TIP assessment skills since I expect that the TIP will not be visible from the ground.
-moss
Last edit: 12 years 7 months ago by moss.

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12 years 6 months ago #131239 by michaeljspraggon
Replied by michaeljspraggon on topic Re:some canopy scientists do know how to climb...
Ignoring the weight of the rubber itself (way more than 3 oz I'd say) and the hysteresis loss (energy lost from the system as heat during the stretching-contraction of the rubber), which would be the same regardless of the size of shot bag used, the mass of the 3 oz bag + half of the fishing line between you and the branch would probably be less than half of the mass of the 8 oz bag plus half of the nylon throwline I use.

Therefore as potential energy gained = mass x g x height, then the height would be more than twice 130ft. So 280ft would be possible. However the rubber IS a big factor. Another big factor is the increased air resistance-to-mass ratio of the smaller bag, (which is also travelling at a higher average velocity as it needs to reach a greater height) - think of how fast a human free-falls compared with how fast an ant free-falls - smaller objects of similar shape and density slow down faster in the air.

Right, that's enough high school physics. Sorry for the digression :blush:

Michael

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12 years 6 months ago #131241 by moss
Excellent Michael, appreciate the physics lesson. Another factor to lower the theoretical height limit is increased wind/air drag on the throwline.
-moss

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12 years 6 months ago #131246 by atg
Hello there, this is will and brian from ascending the giants. We were told about this thread from a good friend of ours, and felt that we ought to respond.
The comment about helping canopy researches was taken a little out of context in the video editing, and in retrospect we can understand how it could be interpreted as a put-down. Sorry. We have nothing but respect for full time canopy researchers, or anybody who climbs everyday, and are aware of many of their techniques and how well suited they are to the specific demands of their work. We wanted to help some less experienced biologists who are not going to need to climb everyday. We were meeting some such people at the time, and have met more since then. It seems hard for many of these folks to get trustworthy advice on tree climbing techniques, and we are happy to share our knowledge with good people.
As far as the big shot is concerned, we agree that it is important to secure the highest safe anchor to avoid impact on the tree or its inhabitants. That being said, we have found the big shot to be a good way to do this. We use a 6 or 8 oz bag and a 20 lbs. test braided fishing line, and are able to accurately hit shots in the 200' range. I am told that by modifying the big shot with extra tubing and using a 3 to 1 mechanical advantage to pull it back, one can hit up to 230'. Sure, if you climb redwoods every day a compound bow or crossbow makes sense, but we rarely climb trees more than 250' tall, so the big shot works for us. Also, in our experience the shot pouch is much less likely to get caught up in the canopy than an arrow.
Please, don't confuse what we are doing with some tree equivalent of \"peak bagging.\" We are working with big tree registries to update badly outdated records, and hoping that through publicizing these amazing specimeins we can get people excited about trees. So far we have had some encouraging success.
We put together a website to further this effort, it is at
www.ascendingthegiants.com

If you have any questions, you can e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks for reading
-Will and Brian

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12 years 6 months ago #131248 by michaeljspraggon
Replied by michaeljspraggon on topic Re:some canopy scientists do know how to climb...
Hi Will & Brian. Thanks for clarifying that. It's not fair when you are judged by comments, which were taken out of context.

Also: your achievments with an (I'm assuming) unmodified Big Shot blow my theories out of the water :P The next chance I get I'm going to put my Big Shot to the test!

Coincidently, I had been thinking of doing the very same project here in Britain. I'm about to approach the Tree Register of the British Isles (TROBI) and ask permission to climb and measure the increasing number of contenders for Britain's (and therefore Northern Europe's) tallest tree. Almost all of these have never been climbed and have only been measured by laser clinometer - with inconsistent results.

I've yet to visit your website and am intrigued about how and why the media got involved. The story of the rivalry between the Scottish champion and its rival at Lake Vyrnwy, Wales, and the eventual remeasurement of the Scottish tree with lasers was the subject of a BBC TV documentary. How much more interesting would it be if I climbed these trees with a helmet camera to measure them and talked more about the history and ecology as I went? How would this actually help organisations such as TROBI and the Woodland Trust?

However, I am worried that sensationalising the climbing of these trees would lead to 'have-a-go' rock climbers etc. hacking their way up these trees and causing damage to them as well as themselves. What is your view on this?

Michael

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12 years 6 months ago #131249 by treeman
Michael,
I’ll give my viewpoint on your question about others wanting to follow you in climbing the big trees you explore. I do not think \"have a go\" rock climbers are a threat to big trees, or any tree at that. Trees are an entirely different medium of vertical climbing that rock climbers have no clue in handling. I know this coming from that arena myself in the Rocky Mountains in the late 70's. Rock climbers have come to my tree climbing school and walk away unimpressed; not enough adrenaline factor to keep them interested (a big plus for tree climbers concerned about \"conquer at any cost\" mentalities that tend to wreck that which they \"love\").

Professional arborists? That is possibly a different kind of climber that might want to climb \"the biggest and tallest.\" Their skill set will of course be elevated. More vigorous trimming of branches for route clearing purposes and rough foot work, kicking off moss mats and lichen, coupled with bare rope on wood climbing methods, might be employed for speed purposes (arborists tend to climb with speed in mind- a cultural imprint often due to economic persuasions).

I believe I was the first to take up champion tree climbing back in the mid 80's. That's when \"American Forest\" magazine printed TCI's first published article. It was published in their issue with the champion tree list that year and the first time they had ever considered climbing and measuring the champion trees by hand.

I had the concern for peak bag climbers coming behind me too. To circumvent that possibility, we kept the tree's location undisclosed. We did not give out maps or detailed directions, not even to the tree climbing enthusiasts we had developed through the sport we were pioneering. I returned a few times to climb the trees again, but it was purely on an invitational basis. I'm a picky chooser. My teams were small.

What I am seeing now is more detailed directions to the big tree's locations. Books are being published documenting more precise locations. To me, it's like an invitation card. It's upsetting to me personally.

After 25 years of developing recreational tree climbing, I have arrived at the conclusion it will never be a mainstream sport. I am consoled with the fact that rec tree climbing only seems to attract and hold a minute number of some of the finest folks I have ever met. These folks blow the doors off the hard core rock climbing segment that lust for challenge. These folks climbing trees have high character values, a remarkable concern and love for trees, and an easygoing personality that doesn’t need high volumes of stimulation through risk challenges.

Having said all of this, I would like to ask the adventure climbers, canopy researchers, rec climbers, and arborists to not publicize the locations of specimen or special trees if for no other reason than soil compaction and ground disturbances. Take pictures, shoot footage, write a book, have a book written about you, get interviewed, go lecture, get grants, go blog, go podcast, but leave out the locations and directions.

These trees don't need to get visited by untrained folks that are not sensitive or skilled. If the trees are to be viewed, provide an established path and viewing platform. People, especially tree lovers, are generally fine in following directions (management) to limit impact. Forcing people to bushwhack to see a tree won’t help the tree in the long run. Better to leave location information vague and possibly misleading.

Waving from a treetop,
Peter Treeman Jenkins

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12 years 6 months ago #131250 by MEA
Hi Will and Brian,
Thank you for clarifying your comment about tall-tree researchers.
I know from personal experience with the media that it is easy to have things taken out of context. I also know that there is a very fine line between expressing enthusiasm for the trees and inviting others to want to climb them...
It's very cool that you guys are dedicated to updating the big tree registers, and to increasing awareness about how amazing some of these trees are.
All the best,
MEA

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12 years 6 months ago #131251 by MEA
Hi Treeman,
You are SO right on about the need to be more discreet with big/tall tree locations.
For the very reasons you cite below, our group has always attempted to be vague in location descriptions (I don't think any truly precise locations have been published, but please correct me if I'm mistaken here). That said, I know that we haven't been careful enough because a few people have contacted us saying 'hey, we found that tree...'
~MEA

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12 years 6 months ago - 12 years 6 months ago #131252 by treeman
Nice piece Will and Brian,
Thanks for showing us the trees, minus the roadmap to them. Good content too. It kept my attention.

Many of the champion trees I visited in the 80’s had died or had problems. The trees I visited with our team often had not been visited in years and were in bad shape (splits, cracks, etc). I did free corrective measures on some of them. We used to call them “Tree Restorations.” Most of the people didn’t have the money for tree work and were glad to preserve their cherished trees.

Awareness was the big issue back then and now concerning champion trees. Highlighting their existence is a good thing. People are generally interested in the subject. You might want to include a little bit of local history with each tree you visit if possible. Just a content suggestion. Who planted it? Was there a reason for planting it? Is it a grandfather tree (are other trees of same species sprouting near it)?

Might be a good idea to start another thread Will so you can get a more direct response to your piece from the community here. Place it “In The News” forum. Title it “Ascending the Giants” video. Ask for input and suggestions from the community. The TCI site gets over 9,000 visits a month and still gaining. Please feel free to use this site to communicate and gain exposure.

Waving from a treetop,
Peter Treeman Jenkins
Last edit: 12 years 6 months ago by treeman.

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12 years 6 months ago #131253 by treeman
Hi MEA,
I think some persistent rec climbers do the research and make forestry contacts to locate the champ trees. I had assistance from forestry groups and associations myself, but I was and still am a practicing certified arborist with a name.

General locations- like what state park they are located in, can often disclose a location with field work.

I have had reports from the rec community that they found the champ tree and were just happy with discovering it, leaving their ropes behind. The thrill of the hunt was enough.

I personally find these trees imposing (west coast trees). High blind anchor points (TIP) don't thrill me anymore. My reluctance is possibly the function of my age, a return to rational thinking, or a great wife.

Waving from a treetop,
Peter Treeman Jenkins

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12 years 6 months ago #131265 by TreeTramp
The forum dates reveal this topic had very few entries and Love, Nick posted a call to canopy scientists in Nov 07 that resulted in no responses; now we have over 28 replies to just this one message. That’s what I am talking about! Now we learn that in the UK there may be efforts to advance research by combining the layman and professional. We all can learn from one another and the sooner the better it will be.

It has been fun to follow this discussion and now I see a report from Oxman about the Spruce where Patty accepted Peter's proposal, I think I was crying as much as anyone else on the forest floor.

I was very glad to be a crew member on that climb but as I viewed the damaged I promised myself that I would not join anymore gangbangs. We picked up that last backpack and were walking out of the base area I was saddened by all the impact 10,000 foot prints made around the tree and on every limb as high as I could see. The rockhound hired by CBS to climb and shoot video aloft panned around and site for some B roll and was glad they didn't air that footage.

In the eyes of a scientist, arborist, amateur, rec climber, etc. with any concern on environmental impact we cannot allow that kind of damage to occur to the Champions! A small skilled recon team committed to “Leave not Trace” mindset with a long recovery period between climbs should be our protocol. We all should vow to not let damage like that occur during our watch.

Life is a two way street and I know that all of us rec climbers could learn a lot from the scientists and from what I have seen at our gatherings and Rendezvous’ we have a few tricks in our bags that they should see also.

So they need a throw-weight on a string to pass over a limb 200 feet overhead? Maybe we need to have a contest. I guess we will have to raise the hula-hoop throwbag target just a wee bit higher this year.

(OK so standard Big Shots are not the King of the Forest. If I double the length of my 15” rubber weighted launch tubes and stretch them to 350% it will need a 10 foot pole to pass the 200 foot mark. But if I triple the length will I need a come-along to cock it and now dare I say it is the St. Louis Arch now on my radar. Last weekend in July?)

See you at the top,
Dan House

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