Newbie question regarding ascending tall conifers

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Nov 20, 2023
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I have 5 acres of 2nd growth fir and pine in North Central Washington and have removed 196 trees to thin it out. Remaining trees have a lot of dead limbs I'd like to remove for aesthetic purposes. I've done what I can with a pole saw but have 30ish trees I need to climb and limb up to 50'. I have a background in rock climbing (20 years) and SAR rope rescue rigging (5 years). Also a fair bit of construction rigging for log home and steel work. Totally new to roped ascending of trees but tried it over the weekend trying to utilize gear I already own.

I was able to set a MRS system on a false crotch (pulley) and ascend a retired 11mm rescue rope with an 8mm VT hitch with a fussy self tending pulley. It was pretty challenging physically and I was pretty gassed out after 35' and my VT started jamming up on me. I suspect this had to do with getting tired and inexperience/sloppy technique. I cleaned up the one tree and called it a day. I am 51, short and stocky if that matters. I did order the Climber's Companion book. I'm not sure if I just need more experience but it seems like there must be a better way to get my big butt up in the trees to do the work I want to do.

I'm seeing a rope wrench and better looking pulley being used in some cases. Would this make a big difference with this system?
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Is this the preferred method of ascending for this kind of work or should I be trying a SRS system? Something like this:

I can afford to purchase additional gear but would prefer not to spend a bunch of $ if I don't need to. Considering I have a bunch more trees to limb up, I just want to be efficient and safe.

Lightning Performance

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Jul 30, 2021
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Cherry Hill
Mark Chisholm has very good videos on accending a rope right quick. If you have the gear setup well up you go with little effort. I learned it in one weekend. Retiring climber for several reasons mostly physical and endurance related. This will not tire you out. If it does buy a power accender gas job.