Tree climbing offers endless possible combinations of equipment used to create many varied systems and techniques for climbing trees. The thing is, you really need to know what Technique you are going to use first. Only after that can you know what gear you need!
Here is a list of the 7 basic minimum items needed to climb trees professionally & safely.
We recommend only those designed specifically for tree work. Tree climbing harnesses have many unique features that at first may not be apparent. They are designed for “Work Positioning” and are sometimes called a “Sit Harness” They are very different to recreation/rock climbing harnesses or fall arrest harnesses. They have a low central main attachment point, usually referred to as a “bridge” and importantly they include side “D” rings for Flipline/Lanyard attachment.
The flipline, lanyard or pole strap (all the same thing) attach to one side D ring of the harness and is used to position yourself securely by placing it around the tree, and then clipping in to the opposite side D ring. It is a key part of climbing on spurs, and in addition to your Climbing Rope, is also required to both hold you in position, and offer a secondary form of attachment whilst making a cut.
Unless included as part of a complete Lanyard System, you will need an Adjuster for your Flipline or Lanyard. This is used to lengthen or shorten your lanyard to fine tune your work positioning.
The ropes we offer are specifically designed for Tree Climbing and approved by their manufacturers for such use. Rock climbing ropes or other random ropes are NOT suitable and will behave very differently when used outside the intended use. A Climbing Rope is often referred to as your “LifeLine”…and should be thought of as exactly that! Your life as you know it may well depend on it! There is no set length…it depends on the size of the trees you plan to work in. Generally, you will need a length double the height of the tree, but this varies with different climbing techniques. Common lengths people go for seem to be 35m, 45m, 50m or 60m. Or by the meter you can choose any length you like.
The Prusik is a friction hitch. It is used to adjust your position on the Climbing Rope, effectively allowing you to ascend or descend the tree. At the bare minimum, it can be tied out of one end of your climbing line, but most commonly it is a seperate short length of specialist cord with high heat resistance. The friction when descending creates a lot of heat concentrated in one place which can melt through normal cord.
For climbing, we recommend Triple Action, Auto Locking Carabiners…or Karabiners to some. They can be Alloy or Steel, though most use alloy for climbing and save steel for rigging use. These are used to create secure connections between the above climbing rope, prusik and lanyard to your harness. You will need at bare minimum 2, but it wise to have at least 4 or more.
Spurs are used to position yourself on the trunk or limbs where there is no natural foot-hold. They allow you, with the aid of a Flipline & Harness, to “walk” up the trunk of a tree. If you at all care about the trees you are working on, good practice says they should only be used during tree removals, NOT pruning.
That’s about it for the basics. With the above “Kit” you can access, move around, and position yourself within the canopy.