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bald cypress - safe to climb?

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by Canyon Angler, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Canyon Angler

    Canyon Angler ArboristSite Guru

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    Hey guys, new hobbyist/homeowner climber here.

    I have a 18-yr-old bald cypress 15" DBH that got a split tip that broke and half broke off and half is hanging from a strap of bark about 20' up.
    Need to get handsaw and cut that hanging piece down. (No spurs.)

    BC seems weak, brittle. Not sure how much to trust branches for climbing it. I'm new at this so I have some questions:

    I should use a rope and saddle along with lanyard, being new, shouldn't I? (Have this stuff already.)

    Or would saddle and lanyard/prusik (would use lanyard double-ended) alone be enough?

    Tree has lots of branches, and I plan to use them to go up. If I use a rope, it'll just be for safety, with prusik loop to saddle, not climbing on the rope.

    What concerns me if I use a rope is how safe it is to trust a skinny branch crotch up high for a lifeline in bald cypress.
    And for all I know on this tree, the split might continue down the stem.

    If I could get a "cinch" choker on main stem up high, I would trust that for lifeline, but not sure how to do that from below.
    One idea: Throwline rope over branch, walk rope back around tree, then attach carabiner to end to make loop to cinch on main stem.
    But if I did that, how would I get carabiner and other end of rope back down after I climbed back down?
    I guess I could switch over from a cinch to a crotch once I got up in the tree but would rather not.

    Sorry so wordy and probably using wrong words (thinking it through as I write it) but do you all have any tips for a FNG on this? How can I cinch the main stem from below and use that as anchor point, in a way that I can get everything back out of the tree from below afterwards? It seems like I've seen this somewhere but I forget.

    My rope climbing knowledge is limited to DRT as taught by Peter Jenkins's "Tree Climbing Basics" DVD and Jeff Jepson's "TCC" (also have On Rope and Freedom of Hills) and what I've learned reading A/S, watching youtube, etc., so please keep it basic. Trying to learn as much as possible "old school" without gadgets in case of emergency (and can't afford gadgets). Problem is, there's really no one around here to teach me in person, so I have to teach myself, and have a dope for a student. So sorry if this is a really basic dumb question. Not knowing the terms, I don't even know how to search for the answer.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Canyon Angler

    Canyon Angler ArboristSite Guru

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    I think I just remembered: A webbing strap with a big ring on one end and a small ring on the other. Is that what you use? What is that called?

    Is there something I can rig as a substitute? Trying to minimize buying more of this stuff.
     
  3. Canyon Angler

    Canyon Angler ArboristSite Guru

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    I didn't think "cinch" was the right word, but I guess some people use it. Found this, but I don't think it would work on a tree with lots of branches like mine:



    For something low like I'm doing at 20' high, would this be OK?

    - Get rope up over branch, pull down end
    - Bring rope around tree so rope is around main stem
    - Tie an Alpine Loop in middle of climbing line, pull one end of rope through alpine loop, cinch up to top of tree around main stem
    - When finished and back on ground, pull down on the end of the rope containing the alpine loop, and pull the remainder of the rope out of the tree.

    Main downside I see here is you need to be careful not to try to load the "loose" end of the rope containing the alpine loop...but that could be addressed (I think) by tying that end of the rope to the base of the tree. Seems like this would also make moving your prusik loop up easier as you climb up the tree.
     
  4. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Climb up the branches. Put the lanyard around the tree and your climbing line as high as you can reach around the stem and over a branch. Walk up a couple of branches, remove your lanyard and out it as high as you can reach. Rinse and repeat until you get as high as you need. When youre there, put you climbing line around the stem and over a couple of branches. As long as the climbing line is arouns the stem, you wont fall even it the branches break, because you line will get hung up on branches lower down.
     
  5. Canyon Angler

    Canyon Angler ArboristSite Guru

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    Thank you, BC WetCoast. I appreciate the help.
     

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