Climbing \"wild\" trees

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15 years 5 months ago #133040 by Davej
Climbing \"wild\" trees was created by Davej
Ok, so you can get out the binoculars and look at a limb, and once you get a rope on it you can try a bounce test. Is that enough? Are you now ready to trust your life to this TIP?

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15 years 5 months ago #133041 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Climbing
Davej wrote:

Ok, so you can get out the binoculars and look at a limb, and once you get a rope on it you can try a bounce test. Is that enough? Are you now ready to trust your life to this TIP?


Ya have to go through the whole tree assessment protocol, look at the tree from the root zone to the tip-top. Bounce test is not definitive and you can drop a branch on your head. So you need to look at everything before committing to a particular TIP.
-moss

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15 years 5 months ago #133043 by Davej
Replied by Davej on topic Re:Climbing

moss wrote:
Ya have to go through the whole tree assessment protocol, look at the tree from the root zone to the tip-top.


So you don't climb wild deciduous trees in the Winter? Fungi might not be visible then. Leaves won't be there either.

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15 years 5 months ago #133044 by moonfarm
Replied by moonfarm on topic Re:Climbing
You don't need leaves, you just need a good pair of binoculars. Look at the bud set, and relative size of them. You're not only looking for just live branches, but branches with healthy, plump buds, and buds all the way down to the end of the branch.

Fungi is not a cause of tree mortality, but often a symptom, and frequently a final one at that. The tree in question more than likely has enough wrong with it (cracks, splitting, bark peeling away) before the fungus ever shows up that waiting for fungi to appear isn't needed.

The best online resource I've seen for hazard trees is found at http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/uf/utrmm/. Chapter 3 is the one for evaluating trees, but read the whole thing. Maybe you'll become your town's tree warden.

Tim

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15 years 5 months ago #133045 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Climbing
Leaves growing on a branch do not mean it is safe. I've seen some nasty rotten limbs that have leaves or live buds on them. Generally speaking I find it easier to assess a deciduous tree in winter, leaves cover up a lot of flaws in a tree. There are trees in my area that look great in the summer and terrible in the winter when the rotted and busted up crown structure is revealed.

On a wild tree do your best job assessing, if it passes your ground-based assessment then hang your rope on the stoutest limb you can find. Climb carefully on the first ascent, nothing wrong with placing backup protection on the tree as you climb to the first TIP. Once you're in the tree you can examine things more closely to further determine the structural integrity of the limbs and the tree.

Your assessment skills grow as you accumulate hours, months and years of climbing. I see very experienced arborist climbers hang ropes on branches I would never use. They have the hours in trees and familiarity with a particular species to make the call. Rec climbers don't have the same pressures or need to put their ropes on apparently borderline TIPs. We have the luxury to be very conservative in TIP selection and we should exercise that privilege.
-moss

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15 years 4 months ago #133071 by Davej
Replied by Davej on topic Re:Climbing

moss wrote:
There are trees in my area that look great in the summer and terrible in the winter when the rotted and busted up crown structure is revealed.


That is true, and I guess breakage is really the ultimate indicator of a tree full of terrible risky TIPs.

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15 years 4 months ago #133072 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Climbing
Davej wrote:

That is true, and I guess breakage is really the ultimate indicator of a tree full of terrible risky TIPs.


Through assessment you should be able to determine risky TIPs without getting to breakage.
-moss

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15 years 4 months ago #133073 by Davej
Replied by Davej on topic Re:Climbing

moss wrote:
Through assessment you should be able to determine risky TIPs without getting to breakage.


Maybe ALT using the trunk is the best approach for scouting a tree?

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15 years 4 months ago #133075 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Climbing
Davej wrote:

moss wrote:
Through assessment you should be able to determine risky TIPs without getting to breakage.


Maybe ALT using the trunk is the best approach for scouting a tree?


I usually ascend away from the trunk on first ascents, its the way it usually works out for me. I don't think you can make a best policy for first ascent on an unknown tree beyond do your best assessment and decide what climb method to use for that particular tree. I'm not going to tell you not to put a back-up lanyard around the trunk. Take it on a case-by-case basis. If you don't feel that you can effectively assess a particular tree for a strong TIP then move on to another one that you can. As your assessment abilities improve, you'll be able to climb more confidently in more unknown trees.

Note this photo, this is a wild red oak. The climber is going up on a static rope setting that I used to make the first ascent in this tree. The TIP is above the top of the photo, it is all air until the TIP is reached. I made the decision on the TIP after carefully examining the tree from all angles. The rope was in a crotch, the limb was about 12\" in diameter, the TIP was approx. 80' high.


Climbing the same tree another day a different climber opted to put their TIP in the first lowest crotch. When they got up there they were unable to advance from that position without me helping from above. Point being that in many forest trees you need the high TIP to get into the tree, so gradually building assessment skills is key. Two years ago I would've walked away from that tree, I needed more time in red oak to acquire the skill to assess.
-moss

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15 years 4 months ago #133080 by Davej
Replied by Davej on topic Re:Climbing

moss wrote:
Climbing the same tree another day a different climber opted to put their TIP in the first lowest crotch. When they got up there they were unable to advance from that position...


Alright, I can certainly see that it would be silly to select a low TIP that doesn't offer a good position to advance from, but in general I think that will be my approach -- to select the lowest TIP that offers multiple choices for advancing.

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15 years 4 months ago #133087 by moss
Replied by moss on topic Re:Climbing
Davej wrote:Alright, I can certainly see that it would be silly to select a low TIP that doesn't offer a good position to advance from, but in general I think that will be my approach -- to select the lowest TIP that offers multiple choices for advancing.[/quote]

A wise approach!
-moss

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15 years 3 months ago - 15 years 3 months ago #133295 by wildrice
Replied by wildrice on topic Re:Climbing
I would say that regarding \"wild-trees\" that the lowest tip for safety is not always the best approach. Consider that in \"wild-trees\" that natural atrophy occurs, even when the tree is healthy. In my experince clilmbing \"wild-trees\" most of the limbs that I am concerned about our in the lower section of the tree. (Please note that you need to be conserned with the over health of the tree).

Many people have climbed at FDR State Park. One of the trees there (called \"The Tower\") is considered a \"wild-tree\" but is actually a semi-wild-tree. This tree is used a lot for training and by climbers during programs. I removed the dead limbs or limbs of concern, which the promint larger limbs that where removed was from the bottom of the tree. By doing this it made the first limb that could be accessed to be around 50ft.(just to note you around 70 to 80 plus feet in the lower to mid canopy area). Most of the limbs had leaves and looked healthy from the ground but with closer look they where hollow inside, sections that were rottin or covered in mushrooms.

I find that when making \"tame-trees\" that most of the large branches that have to be removed or \"treated\" or lower limbs (that means limbs that are not in the high canopy). My feeling is that Peter and Abe can account for this as well, but I will let them speack for themsleves on that matter.

Everytree is differnt and should be approach as a new tree. If a \"wild-tree\" has been climbed and is being revisted, I would suggest to always approach like the first time you are climbing it. You never know what may have happen to that tree during the time you are gone or a problem that was there but not revieled has now become clear.

Go by tree health evaluation, and experance.

I personally like a high setting, (if I can get it and if it is safe) because it is easeir for rigging.

Mother Earth- Our Most Sacred Heirloom
Last edit: 15 years 3 months ago by wildrice.

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15 years 3 months ago - 15 years 3 months ago #133297 by Baker
Replied by Baker on topic Re:Climbing
moss wrote:

Davej wrote:Alright, I can certainly see that it would be silly to select a low TIP that doesn't offer a good position to advance from, but in general I think that will be my approach -- to select the lowest TIP that offers multiple choices for advancing.


A wise approach!
-moss[/quote]

Indeed, good advice. This is the same way rock climbers work. Never place a piece of protective gear in a crack without knowing where the next 2, 3, or more are going to go as well.
Last edit: 15 years 3 months ago by Baker.

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