How to Climb a Tree

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It is fun and useful to learn how to climb a tree. Sitting high on top of a tall tree is exhilarating and relaxing. More importantly, for survival, sometimes you need to climb a tree to get away from predators and other dangers. Don’t worry if you haven’t got the chance to learn how to climb a tree in your childhood days. We are here to give you simple tips on how to climb a tree in many ways possible.

How to Free Climb a Tree

Let’s discuss the basics first. What should you do if you want to climb a tree without any equipment?

  • Know how to start climbing.

    To successfully climb a tree, you need to plan your first move. Since there are various types of trees, there are also different ways on how to start your ascent.

    You are lucky if the tree’s lowest branch is extremely thick and reachable. Use one hand to tightly grip it while the other is wrapped around the trunk. Then, either put your feet on sturdy gnarls or wrap your legs around the tree’s body.

    If your target branch is higher than your reach, jump! However, make sure you are very close to the trunk so you can step on it once you finally grip the branch. To completely elevate yourself, just walk upwards by strengthening the balls of your feet and tightly wrapping your arms around the branch.

    Meanwhile, if your target branch is too high for a strong jump, you should have extremely athletic legs. Run towards to the trunk and immediately plant one foot on the tree so you can move upwards. Use the ball of your foot to ensure stronger force. Then, right after your first step on the trunk, do not waste a second to use your other foot to jump so you can “fly” towards the branch and forcefully grab it. The whole thing is just like parkour.

    On the other hand, if your legs are not too strong for parkour, hug the trunk and spread your legs wide so your feet land on both sides. Then, use the balls of your feet to lift yourself up. Every time your feet moves higher, elongate your body as well while still hugging the trunk. Do this repeatedly until you reach your target branch. This method is the same as climbing a coconut tree.

  • Pull yourself up.

    You finally got hold of the branch – now what? You should be able to pull your entire body up. To do this, put a lot of force on your arm muscles so you can do a chin-up and rest your forearms on the branch. As you continue focusing your force on your arms, swing one leg so you can straddle the branch.

How to Climb a Tree with Equipment

If you are not strong enough for free climbing tall trees, better gather proper equipment so you can still climb one. The following are ways on how to climb a tree with tools:

  • Get the right equipment.

    Safety should be your number one priority. So, find a helmet and a harness first. One of the most ideal kinds of helmets for this activity is the one used for rock climbing. When it comes to the harness, only use what is best for climbing trees. Harnesses for rock climbing are too tight for such a normal activity.

    The next priority should be the ropes. Both types should be present. First, we have the throw line. It is a thin rope that usually has a bright color. It should go towards the other side of the branch by throwing it over. All functional throw lines are attached to a special bag that you should throw over the branch. No matter where the bag falls, the rope goes along with it.

    Meanwhile, the next one is called the static rope. It is different than the other kind called the dynamic rope because of its firmness. Dynamic ropes are stretchy.

    To help you ascend, get a Prusik cord. But first, you need a carabiner so you can attach the cord to your harness and climbing rope. As an alternative, you may purchase a foot ascender instead.

    Lastly, you need a branch protector or cambium protector. This tool protects the branch and the climbing rope from the risks of friction. To be more specific, choose metal branch protectors. Experts do not recommend leather types.

  • Choose the right branch.

    Before you start throwing a rope, make sure that your target branch is at least six inches in diameter. This is crucial since thinner branches easily snap when you carry your weight through a rope.

    Additionally, you have to evaluate the whole tree. Never climb a dying, diseased or old tree. Red flags are missing barks and dead branches around the tree’s crown or topmost part. To ensure you will never miss a thing, observe the tree from far away before you come closer to inspect details.

    Interestingly, a healthy tree can be hazardous as well if it will get you susceptible to factors such as nests, animals and power lines. Always avoid trees surrounded by poison ivy and rotten roots.

  • Prepare the ropes.

    The double-rope method is perfect for beginners for it is probably the easiest and safest one out there. It is a common technique in climbing pines, maples, poplars, oaks, and even extremely tall trees that are more or less a hundred feet in height.

    Once you finally choose a sturdy branch to focus on, toss the throw line over it. To guarantee that the thin rope will successfully reach the other side, take advantage of its throw bag or use a slingshot.

    Next, put the branch protector on the rope. Then, make a knot to attach the static rope to the throw line. To elevate the static rope and the branch protector until they reach the branch, go to the opposite side and pull the throw line.

  • Tie the right knots.

    To connect both sides of the rope securely, use the Blake’s hitch as the primary knot. For the carabiner, use the double fisherman’s knot. It takes a lot of practice to perfect these knots, so do not climb a tree with ropes if you are still a beginner. Ask help from a pro to tie the knots for you.

  • Wear your gear.

    As soon as everything is A-OK, wear your helmet and harness. Then, attach yourself to the rope. You should know how to strap the harness properly. Do not let your harness become loose.

  • Climb the tree.

    There are two options when you are ready to start your ascend. These options revolve around the movement of your feet. You may add a Prusik cord to assist your feet as you go up. The other technique is just to firmly walk on the trunk. For support, make your arm muscles stronger as you pull yourself up.

Summary

Again, the two common ways on how to climb a tree are free-climbing and using the equipment. When you free climb a tree, you just need coordination of your arm and leg muscles. However, beginners are not recommended to free climb unless their target tree is low and has extremely thick branches. The safer method for beginners is climbing with tools. But, they still need the help of some pros to ensure that the ropes are placed correctly and the knots are 100% secure.

Another way to enjoy trees is by lying in a hammock. You may use a backyard hammock or the one used for camping. If you want to produce something mind-blowing out of trees, learn how to make a dugout canoe. However, if you do not want to buy a log, you have to know how to safely cut down a tree.