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What is a good diameter of a pine tree branch for safe climbing of 115 lbs. In other words, how wide should the branch be to support 115 lbs.
I've seen different recommendations. Another way to look at it is to consider there are many variables so a specific diameter value is never going to be 100% valid. For example different pine species can have very different strength qualities. And in the same tree of a given pine species the same diameter limb can have different strength depending on the age and structure of the limb.
So... bear in mind that there are many variables to consider in assessing the safety of a limb you want to set your rope on. With more experience climbing and assessing individual trees and limbs you will be able have a better idea for what works for your weight and climbing technique.
My general rule for first ascent of a new tree of any species and most certainly a pine species is to set the rope at the union of the limb and the trunk. When you are climbing in the upper crown of a pine species and to certain extent any species, the wood is young and fast growing, the annual rings are wide (as opposed to tight) and the wood is less strong than limbs in the lower crown where the limbs are older and growing more slowly.
For a white pine, Pinus strobus I like a minimum 5" diameter for a healthy limb with no cracks or internal rot, rope set at the limb/trunk union.
There is, nevertheless, a certain respect and a general duty of humanity that ties us, not only to beasts that have life and sense, but even to trees and plants. -- Michael Eyquem, seigneur de Montaigne
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