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Thread: Spellfeller's Continuing (Mis)Adventures Aloft

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    Clueless but careful Spellfeller's Avatar
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    Default Spellfeller's Continuing (Mis)Adventures Aloft

    Hi, all:

    Every since this excitement (LINK)--which I felt bad posting in a thread about REAL professionals doing their jobs (plus the occasional kayak digression)--I wanted to track my VERY amateur climbing progress and, more importantly, get feedback from experts who actually know what they are doing. Starting a thread seemed to make the most sense, so here goes!

    I also wanted to leave a testament to all the wisdom of The Tree House. This is proof that with a great debt to Jeff Jepson and you guys, someone who takes this slowly and methodically can actually learn to climb safely. Thanks, T-Housers!

    As some of you know, I have a pretty hurting ash tree (LINK) that had a few large dead lower limbs and a bunch of stubs. The jury is still out as to whether the tree can actually be saved, but consensus was that climbing it to deadwood would be valuable experience and MAY give the tree a better fighting chance if it is battling EAB.

    Today was the day!

    My photographer had a bunch of other things to do, besides shoot her goofy husband learning his new hobby, but she did get a few good pictures.

    Always happy to share a dopey expression, I'll start with a bad case of Buck-In Face. The whole limb I am hanging from had to go. Trying to implement a mouse-eating-an-elephant type of plan, I've already gotten the "hamstring branch" behind my leg, and I'm now doing some cockamamie "work positioning" to try and tackle half of the fork above me. There MUST have been a more graceful way to do this (like straddle it from the top, maybe?), but at least I am sporting the fir tree socks!




    I know you are familiar with limb walking. How about limb clinging?!



    One thing that was super evident today is that there is an order to everything. Here I am post-fork cutting & climbing higher to take out some stubs that were preventing me from swinging left to get to the large branch in the background. I had to go up and cut loose some barriers, so I could make the traverse. (Eventually, I took off both large branches at the trunk, but I left them as rest platforms for a while. Today was a LOT of time working suspended, and it was nice to have a place to land and stand up!)



    Stub #1 falls victim. (Trying to hold the climbing line out of the way of the saw. Split tail was WAY too long again. Clearly, I think I am 6'5" or sumpthin'...)



    Stub #2, vanquished!



    Now I can get the swing I need to reach the "back" branch, further from the camera.

    Going...



    Going...



    Gotcha!



    Sawing away on Limby McDeaderson...



    Task completed, time for a hit off the Camelbak!



    I learned an important (and elementary!) lesson at this point. In this position, I was forced to make the final cuts on the middle limb left handed. It didn't take me TOO long to figure out to drop my line on the other side and come back at the job right handed. Duh! No pictures of that, as my photographer had to tend to her own to-do list!



    She did come back out to capture another first at the end of the day: I spotted some deadwood in a neighboring maple and decided I was up for a bigger swing. First time I'd gone from the tree with my TIP to another one. Too cool!





    Thank for reading, guys, and for all the advice and counsel. Please add suggestions, critiques, what-the-@#$%-were-you-thinkings, if you get a minute!

    Climb safe!
    Jeff

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    TreeHouser Sponsor Raj's Avatar
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    Didn't check the pictures out closely, yet, but at least ankle boots with an aggressive tread helps walking around the canopy, and holds a foot ascender better, for the future.
    Peter

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    Clueless but careful Spellfeller's Avatar
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    Thanks, Peter. A foot ascender is definitely something on the wish list.

    These are my ground boots, 10", steel toe, etc. I use them anytime I use the saw. I guess I've thought they were overkill for climbing?



    Any suggestions? I was thinking about these. Do you have experience with Asolo?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jeff

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    I'm Not Slash Chris E's Avatar
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    Proper positioning is the main challenge when it comes to climbing especially pruning in my opinion. You want to position yourself over the piece to be cut and then lower yourself off to either side until its at chest height/waist height before cutting, use your knees/feet to put yourself into a crouched position where you are stable and comfortable and can use the handsaw efficiently. Being off to the side means you are not supporting your full weight with your legs (or crotch if straddling) but rather extending your legs/crouching down either pushes away from or towards where you will be cutting. I hope this makes sense.

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    Clueless but careful Spellfeller's Avatar
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    I think I follow, Chris. If I understand you correctly, in many cases today I was too far below what I was trying to cut, i.e., things were at head/shoulder height rather than chest/waist height.

    One thing I noticed, is that when you don't have a place to stand and are bracing yourself against the trunk--pushing against the tension of your lanyard, in a sense--it would be nice to have kneepads!
    Jeff

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    I'm Not Slash Chris E's Avatar
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    Yes Jeff I didn't mention it specifically but you were too far below the work which is awkward (no doubt you realised this ), in a work environment you would likely suffer some type of rsi/strain injury cutting in these positions repeatedly.

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    Student of the Jedi treebilly's Avatar
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    You're doing better than most of the guys I have to work with. You were able to get up there at least.
    Better work positioning will be very helpful and that will come with experience. As Chris said try to cut below shoulder height. Being above really wears on them.
    -Rich

  8. #8
    TreeHouser Sponsor SouthSoundTree-'s Avatar
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    Strike from above/ at the height of the limb, as mentioned. Cut that split tail in half or so. Make two. Scaffold knot to biner.

    Be aware of reaction of the limb. If you are taking off a long dangly thing, the remaining trunk can move quite a bit. What was working from the side to release, can become swinging under the limb going up. Its moving up, and will come down. You don't want to end up under the limb, and get a conk on the head, to boot.

    I'm confused. Are you using an eye and eye hitch cord on your lanyard, but a blake's on your climbing line? Make the leap. I'd switch, at least.

    Get yourself away from the tree. Longer lanyard, counter pressure your feet/ knee and foot against the trunk.
    Sean

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    TreeHouse Administrator MasterBlaster's Avatar
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    1) It is easier to reach down than reach up.

    2) It is easier to use a chainsaw than a handsaw.


  10. #10
    More biners!!! Sponsor pantheraba's Avatar
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    Asolos are great. Have some now...have been thru. at least 3 pair. Comfortable, waterproof, fine boots. I use mine in the trees all the time.
    Gary

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