A few years ago, some of you had some play time at Cal-Wood in Boulder County, Colorado. My kids and I watched and played with your group a bit and I saw some damned splendid ideas that came in handy recently. People had a whole bunch of ways they were launching things up into the branches to get ropes where you wanted them. The whole weekend was great but that launching part is what's relevant at the moment.
Over the past few days, I have had to do something many of you might consider horrible but it was necessary. A friend got a job that involved taking down three trees. I was asked to help make sure it all happened safely. I am now in NC and really miss CO but I'm a freak and look forward to the frequent hurricanes that I remember from over a decade ago when I lived here before.
Anyway, one tree was a dead deciduous, I'm not sure about the species. That one was easy. The other two were a couple of 70-80 foot tall pines that had branch spread almost as wide as the trees were tall. Since they were so close to the house, we had to take branches down before we did anything to the trunks. Due to being forced to leave a lot of things behind in CO, I had to do this stuff 'old-school'. I sacrificed some rope for a doubled Swiss seat and 3 Prusik knots for ascending.
We rented a 50' lift to take down most of the branches but I still had to climb a lot to get ropes on a lot of things so we could be safe and not hurt people or the houses that were very close. After cutting as many branches as we needed to get out of the way, we took the top 30 feet down and landed them exactly where we wanted them... which was not on people or houses lol.
That left us with some very tall and relatively bare trunks that were still a threat to the house. This is where you guys came to mind. Rather than waste another $400 for renting the lift again, we used some bungee cords and made a big slingshot to launch a chunk of wood with some twine trailing behind it and used that to pull the ropes up. With one rope tied to a static anchor about 6' into the ground at an angle and another about 90 degrees away and attached to a truck, our evil act was safely completed.
Dessert: The initial climbing required me to go up about 30' first, then there was a lot of tossing rope to go up 10-20 feet at a time. I haven't counted rings yet but the base of the trunks were at least 30" in diameter. It was impossible to just climb branches because they had been trimmed in the past and I'm not 15' tall. Because of the need to go up and down so much and we only had the lift for one day, my ascent odometer is now about 600' greater than before. Maybe I'm a wuss or just out of practice but that much ascension via prusik knots sure feels like a lot. There just wasn't an easier way and I'm kinda happy about that, my body says otherwise. I think I did it right by mostly using my legs. Extend leg, slide the knot for my waist up, adjust the one for my hand, relax and move the one for my leg again. It was probably no more than 2 feet at a time. On top of all that, I'm probably going to get paid for it.
Thank you for some inspirational ideas/techniques. I wish I could have had more fun time but we were in a bit of a hurry. However, there's another similar job coming up that will be even better. We have about 40 trees in a very small space that need to come down because they have already proven themselves dangerous and trimming just won't work, they are all diseased. The plan is to leave about 20-30' of trunk standing and use some of the rest to make a play space up in the air. Think ewok village but with more rope and much smaller trees.