Things to Consider when Climbing Wild Trees
Most of the time when I climb for FUN I am climbing in what is commonly referred to as a “Wild” Tree, Very simply this is a tree that has not been cleaned out by removing dead limbs and other hazards and entanglements. In fact most of the time when I go out I select a tree that has not been previously been climbed. When climbing a tree for the first time it is necessary to take more time assessing the tree because you have no prior knowledge of the tree. In this type of climbing you are relying entirely on your training and past experience. Knowledge of the various strengths and weaknesses of the different species is a good starting point. For Example in a Tulip Poplar in general you you want to keep your settings in close to the trunk because they have rather brittle wood. Then you access the tree for particular hazards as well as it’s general health. After deciding that you have found a suitable tree you plan your entry point ans your expected climbing route. When climbing in a remote area it is important to keep in mind how far away or if there is Rescue help available. If you are climbing alone in a remote area this is even more important since you have only your self to count on to get out of a bad situation. The bottom line is that you have to keep in mind what the reality of your situation is and adjust how much risk you are willing to take on each step of the climb. If you are climbing with other people you may be willing to place your rope on a setting that may cause you a retrieval problem, since if you get your rope stuck there is another climber there to help you out. If you were climbing alone you would not want to take the chance of getting your rope hung in a particularly inaccessible location because this could lead to a serious incident. One Basic Safety Precaution that is often overlooked is to leave word with a friend before you go out about where you will be climbing and roughly what time you expect to be back. This will provide you with the ultimate rescue plan of “Wait for Help” at least you know that at some point someone will come looking for you. Now you may be saying yea but I carry my cell phone I can call for help any time that I Need to… Remember: Batteries Die, Cellphones Fall, and in truly remote areas there often is NO cell coverage. Adjust your mindset to how much risk is acceptable based on the circumstance and Do your self a favor, leave word with a friend. It is a cheep insurance policy and it could save your life!
Have fun, Climb Safe!