The wide variety of trees and their natural forms makes each climb a unique challenge. Although most people think of tree climbing as a fun childhood pastime, it is often difficult and dangerous. Take the time to identify a healthy tree with sturdy footholds, and you can enjoy yourself without fear. If you climb regularly, purchase a basic climbing harness and ropes before tackling the tallest trees.
1. Wear well-fitting clothing. The clothing should be loose enough to allow full range of motion, but not baggy enough to snag on branches. Remove all loose jewelry and accessories, especially from around your neck, as these may snag during the climb.
◦ If possible, wear flexible shoes with good traction. If your shoes have hard soles or poor traction, climbing barefoot might be easier.
2. Examine the tree from a distance. Find a tree with large, strong branches that can support your weight, at least 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Before you start the climb, step back far enough to inspect the whole tree. Avoid trees with any of the following signs of danger:
◦ Strange shapes or turns in the trunk. Leaning trees are risky but sometimes safe.
◦ Deep cracks.
◦ Large areas of sunken or missing bark.
◦ A forked top is a sign of decay in conifers. Other types of tree might still be safe, but do not try to reach the fork.
3. Check near the ground. Approach the tree and inspect the lower trunk and the circle of ground 3 feet (0.9 meters) around it. These are all signs of a damaged or dying tree that is unsafe to climb.
◦ Mushrooms or other fungus growing on the tree or around the base.
◦ Many dead branches on the ground. (A few dead branches attached to the lower trunk is common, but if they’re falling from higher up, there’s a more serious problem.)
◦ A large hole or several small ones in the base.
◦ Severed roots, or a raised or cracked area of soil next to the trunk (a sign of uprooting).
. Allow for poor weather conditions. Even if the tree is sturdy, weather conditions could make the climb more dangerous. Understand how the following affect your climb:
◦ Never climb during a thunderstorm, or in strong wind.
◦ Wet conditions can make the tree slippery and very dangerous to climb.
◦ Cold temperatures make wood brittle. Plan on climbing slowly and testing every branch before you use it as support.
Look for local dangers. There’s one last safety step before you can get started. Look closely for the following dangers. These can be difficult to spot from the ground, so keep an eye out while climbing as well.
◦ Never climb if there is a power line within 10 feet (3 meters) of the tree’s branches.
◦ Do not climb below large branches that have broken off and snagged in the tree. Climbers call these “widow makers” for a reason.
◦ Check the tree and nearby trees for bee and wasp colonies, or large bird or mammal nests. Avoid the trees immediately around these animals.
Swiss designer mr.Papriko of creative studio PAPRIKO Ink., illustrates, designs characters, creates graphics and typographical stuff. Besides he also draws, paints and takes care of the Papriko family, a bunch of whimsical characters, such as for example “Pimon”, the guy featured in this column. Mr.Papriko is currently living in Japan with his wife and two kids.
Have a look at his website to see more awesome stuff of him: mr. Papriko
PAPRIKO Ink. joins the JECKYBENG family with an own column where ‘MO & PIMON’ take you on sarcastic and ironic outdoor adventures. ‘PIMON’, the chilli super hero from downtown Tokyo and a newbie to outdoor activities is honored to hang out with outdoor celebrity ‘MO’ and learns first hand what it takes to enjoy and survive in the rough bavarian woods and beyond.
Sources and Citations:
2. ↑ http://www.fs.fed.us/treeclimbing/policy/guide/tree-climbing-field-guide-2005-edition.pdf
3. ↑ http://treeclimbing.com/index.php/choosing-a-tree/selection
4. ↑ http://www.fs.fed.us/treeclimbing/policy/guide/tree-climbing-field-guide-2005-edition.pdf