Question: Why not tree climbing?

  • 2chops
  • 2chops's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Gold Boarder
  • Gold Boarder
More
11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #135906 by 2chops
Question: Why not tree climbing? was created by 2chops
As the topic thread suggests, this has been rolling around in my mind for a while now. Let me elaborate.

While on our way to an event we were running, my wife picked up a flyer from a very popular resort in our state, PA. It featured their Tree Top Adventures. All of the usual stuff, zip lines, high ropes traverses, rock walls.... Fun stuff, but to me, there's something missing. Tree climbing.

Now...

Don't answer me by saying tree climbing isn't as exciting as zip lines. I did a zip line once. To tell you the truth I found it boring. I do have a challenger type of personality, and I suppose that having done a lot of climbing, the whole zip line thing was just anticlimactic. My point here is they do rock climbing all over the place. Great activity for the skinny folk with monkey type finger strength. But essentially it's no different from tree climbing. You pick a route, gear up and go up, hang out and descend. Neither is fast, both are "extreme " in that there is a risk element to it, and both do require personal effort.

So...

I guess my question is, after 30 years of existence as an "available to the public at large" activity, why don't you see a bigger interest in what we here do?

Now...
I understand that in some ways our flying under the radar is good. But it just seems to me that we would get more exposure. Don't take this as whining. It's just a question that keeps coming up.

Any takers?

Ron
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by 2chops.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #135907 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
I'll put ziplining and ropes courses in one category and all the varieties of rock climbing (bouldering, gym climbing etc.) in another.

1. Ziplining etc.
Successful business model, once the infrastructure is set up the business owner can easily process many people through the experience with zero or minimal training up front.

2. Rock climbing etc.
An individual or small team sport. Much more comparable to tree climbing. But... a climber can participate with a minimal amount of gear and setup time, and quickly engage in the activity and be done in an hour if they want, or climb as long as they want. There are many legal places to climb outdoors, and many options for climbing indoors. Initial gear investment a fair amount less than tree climbing

Why hasn't tree climbing taken off?
1. Low availability of public climb locations. I'm seven years into my climbing and 90% of my climb locations are essentially without permission.
2. Most wooded public lands in my area have rules against going off trail. If I want to climb in the woods (where I like to climb) I'm defacto breaking that rule every time.
3. On Massachusetts state land I can get a permit to climb but... I would need to pull a permit for every climb and I would need to carry a million dollars climber personal liability insurance.

So with that sort "access" backdrop to my climbing practice, I'm not going to launch a guiding/climbing business and I'm not going to widely promote tree climbing in my area.
-AJ
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by moss.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #135908 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
Ok, say there was no problem with access to trees. Tree climbing is not a "short attention span" activity. By that I mean there is a significant time commitment to climb. You can't really climb a tree on your lunch break. The tree climbing practice has many points of difficulty and the learning curve is steep. Setting a rope can take a very long time. Many times I've taken an hour to successfully set a rope. When I've been in a particularly obstinate mood I've taken 2 hours to set a rope, and sometimes was not able to climb because I couldn't set a rope. I accept all that and actually enjoy the whole process of throwing and setting a rope. However these are not skill and experience elements that have broad appeal in our society. The practice of patience and persistence in the face of adversity are not what many people think of when they think about recreation in their free time.
-AJ
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by moss.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago - 11 years 7 months ago #135909 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
And lastly the actual climb. Tree climbing can go very smoothly, or it can be grueling difficult, or something in between. And you never really know how it's going to go until you're in the tree. People who love rope and harness tree climbing accept that and relish the challenge.

So... everything I've said doesn't mean I'm pessimistic about the future of tree climbing or unhappy about the practice of tree climbing. But with all the factors I've mentioned, there are many walls between the general public and the widespread practice of our sport.

Selfishly speaking, if there were many more rec tree climber in my area, it would be much tougher for me to climb. The pressure on the "best" woods climbing trees would be too much, destruction of habitat around the trees would start to happen, public land managers would be forced to suppress the activity.
-AJ
Last edit: 11 years 7 months ago by moss.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135910 by AlanReeves
Replied by AlanReeves on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
All excellent points.

Very few people look to actually expend a lot of real effort when in their leisure mode.

Look at camping... How many people are even kind of "roughing it" Some people drive their living room to a park, hookup water, power, and sewer, and then watch TV and drink beer the whole time.

To touch on Moss's last point, we are a group who is in constant, direct contact with the habitat that we utilize for our hobby. It's hard enough for us to not leave any detrimental effects. A LOT of people just don't care that much.

IMO, this is better off a small scale sport.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • 2chops
  • 2chops's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Gold Boarder
  • Gold Boarder
More
11 years 7 months ago #135912 by 2chops
Replied by 2chops on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
First things first. Trees138, welcome aboard.

And you're right. These days many, many people wouldn't think of "roughing " it. Too strenuous and "dirty". Sad state of the nation. I too kind of like the low numbers of tree climbers for the reason of minamizing impact on the forest. Unlike moss, here in PA you're allowed to climb on state forest & state game lands without permits or insurance. Just don't spike up or trim the trees. NY state has the same policy.

As a Climb Facilitator who runs a climbing academy, the lower public awareness sort of works in my favor. I'm the only game in town. On the flip side, being the only game in town means constantly working on PR/marketing. Treeman and some others here can relate to that. But it just strikes me as odd that rock climbers are everywhere. And this brings up another point. The next time you see any rock climb liturature, look close and you know what's missing? Helmets. Same for the zip lines. I'm really surprised that the places that offer these activities get away with it. Have I ever went up a tree without a helmet? Yup. I think only twice, but I did it. To tell you the truth, it's not my concern how they run their operation. I'm just sayin...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rusty

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135913 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
2chops wrote:

...But it just strikes me as odd that rock climbers are everywhere. And this brings up another point. The next time you see any rock climb liturature, look close and you know what's missing? Helmets.


Which points out what's missing from rec tree climbing... gear sponsors. There's an entire clothing and gear industry around rock climbing. And with it the kind of marketing that makes a sport seem sexy and attractive to consumers. Helmets ain't sexy, the art director for the climbing magazine photo shoot is basically saying "Get that helmet off, and less clothing too please!" Or they don't have to say it because it's already pretty deep in the rock culture, kind of a surfing vibe, young tan bodies etc. I don't think serious rock climbers are into that but... for those marketing the products and for the sponsored climbers using the gear and clothing, it's going to fit that profile.

Check out a Patagonia catalog, it's all based on rock and surfing, then pushed out to the general public who can have the lock and feel without actually doing the sport.

I digress... rec tree climbing is not an obviously glamorous sport that's attractive to marketeers and retailers. Which is fine of course ;-)
-AJ

There are sponsored tree climbers but that's all on the pro competition side of things.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135914 by Treezybreez
Replied by Treezybreez on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
I think one reason that tree climbing is not as prevalent as other sports is that people tend to think of it as child's play. I can't tell you how many of my clients tell me that they used to climb trees as a kid and then they grew up (of course they didn't mean with rope and gear).

I had a lady ask me today if tree climbing was the reason for being so slim. I laughed and told her about TCI. I am sure that you could market tree climbing as a weight loss program.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135915 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
Great point, when I do "all comer" public climbs it is very common for parents to show up with their kids and expect to stand there while their kids climb.
-AJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135916 by Treezybreez
Replied by Treezybreez on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
AJ, are you able to convince many of the parents to try tree climbing? After they watch you climb does it change their mind?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135917 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
Treezybreez wrote:

AJ, are you able to convince many of the parents to try tree climbing? After they watch you climb does it change their mind?


Definitely, especially after they watch other adults climb. I'm sure all of the folks facilitating notice this. Many adults are conditioned to bring their kids to various sports activities and then sit on the sidelines and watch. So this is an awesome opportunity for them to engage in challenging physical activity with their kids. Many don't want to get out of their spectator comfort zone.

Treeman runs many many more public climbs than I do or ever have, would be interesting to hear from him how this evolves: "Do parents eventually become more participatory over several climbs watching their kids?".
-AJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135918 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
I love kids but I have to admit, I get tired of running climbs where parents stand around and only the kids climb. I think it's worth promoting climbs targeted at specific age groups, for instance: Teen and adults only climb" or "Adults only climb" etc.
-AJ

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

  • 2chops
  • 2chops's Avatar Topic Author
  • Offline
  • Gold Boarder
  • Gold Boarder
More
11 years 7 months ago #135919 by 2chops
Replied by 2chops on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
Good points guys. Moss , I too have the parent spectators. Everyone of say wow, that looks like fun. Followed by I'm too old. That's when I tell them about our own senior climber, Treeman. Plus I have had a couole of 60+ climbers. I also offer to put them on rope at no cost. If after only a couple of advances they just really don't want to do it, I un hook them, no cost, no hard feelings. Most often they love it, go up and pay up.

My wife and I plan on doing ads next year for adult only only events. "Climb with your honey, up in a tree. K I S S I N G.". :). Anyways.... I've also had more than one person say how climbing would be a good fitness activity.

It seems to me, that the big trick is to get the adults to understand that it's not just for kids. Or that they're not too old.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135922 by patty
Replied by patty on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
I guess I'm pretty notorious for being brazen. When we get parents with kids at public climbs, I always ask the parents if they intend to climb. If they say "no," I often look at them like "oh, you're kidding, right?" and ask why not. If they answer that they're afraid of heights, I talk them through it. I nudge them by saying that climbing with their kids will provide them and the kids a lifetime's worth of memories. Some people take the bait immediately; others wait to see how their kids do, and they they try it. Sometimes I just won't take "no" for an answer from a parent who looks so fit that tree climbing would be a piece of cake for them. I do it with a smile. It usually works.

(Ooops--there goes our red-tailed hawk!)

patty

P.S. It also helps if you keep parents out of the ring and tell them not to "interfere" with their kid's climb. Which we always do. Then if they want to share it with their kids, they have to go up. Treeman's words are something like, "If you want to tell your kid to go, go, go, then'll we'll put a saddle on you and you can go, go, go."

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
11 years 7 months ago #135925 by HUK
Replied by HUK on topic Re:Question: Why not tree climbing?
I agree with every one of the points above. Here are my thoughts.

Tree climbing is not glamorous nor a high profile sport like football etc. So it doesn't get much consideration even if people know about it.

I also believe that as time goes on, the general trend is away from outdoor/nature like activities.
Third - like stated above, there aren't many places where you can try it out. If someone does decide to start, there is a couple hundred dollars to
spend. Other sports have costs too, but they may have a higher appeal or acceptance of the cost.

Fourth - unless you have a lot of gear or hook up with a club you can't easily turn this into a group activity for a few people. You are limited. I'm not sure how to express my thought... If you have one frisbee you can toss it to any number of people. If you have one rope then only one person can climb while others wait. In a society of instant gratification this may not be considered fun. Don't know if this one makes any sense though.

Fifth - addressing the statement of 'child's play' or 'did it as a kid'. This thought will definitely keep adults from trying it again - and thus passing it along.
I may not have expressed myself very well here but I hope you get the idea and that you get something out of it.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Time to create page: 0.186 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum

Join Our Mailing List