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Up A Tree. March 11, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, climbing.
Tags: , , , ,

I had the occasion to meet local arborist Bart B. recently, a man who not only cares for local trees, but also does canopy work and biological surveys in other parts of the world.  I thought what he does sounded interesting, and as I’ve lately been taking pictures of great trees from the ground up, I wondered aloud if I might join him for that top-down view sometime.

Several days and a few phone calls later we met in Amherst for an introductory climb.  Bart has everything necessary to outfit a curious person for an introduction to The Heights, and came with the whole shooting match:  a giant slingshot to lob a weight and string over a high branch, stout ropes to be hauled up and over, harnesses and ascenders and safety devices.

He picked out a big oak he’s worked in before:

…then shot a line over a high fork and set up the ropes.

It’s been a while since I worked with ropes, so it was a joy to be tying in and getting some air.  I got a brief intro to the gear used in tree work (which differs in some respects from what we use in the world of rock climbing,) then started up ahead of Bart:

It was tiring, as I’ve been sedentary over the winter, but satisfying.  I expected I’d be sore for a few subsequent days, but it was exhilarating doing the kind of back and core work necessitated by rope-ascending.

Once up about 70 feet I reset our anchors and broke out the camera as Bart came up to meet me:

The black dot up and right from Bart’s head is a hiker passing below us, just for scale.

These photos are nothing fancy; I was there primarily to make the connection and get introduced to the equipment and methods used in tree-work.  If I get invited back for more I’ll bring a selection of lenses and spend some real time setting things up for better shots.

Thanks to Bart B. for the time and effort it takes to get a Newbie up to speed!


1. Gina - March 12, 2012

You told me about this but a picture is worth a thousand words! Very cool, indeed!

2. littlebangtheory - March 12, 2012

Yes, it was. And as I predicted, I’m sore all over for it (kinda feels good!) 🙂

3. backwater - March 13, 2012

Very nice! If you haven’t read it, already, I can heartily recommend The Wild Trees, by Richard Preston, about giant redwoods. It’s an amazing book; lots of tree-climbing equipment is discussed. 🙂

4. TheCunningRunt - March 13, 2012

Backwater, Welcome! …and thanks for commenting. I’ll look up The Wild Trees, and doubtless learn a good deal.

5. L B - March 15, 2012

I watched our tree guy, Dave Hawkins, climb and cut and thin and then cable up and save some of our trees. No better tree guy here in the valley.

6. susancrow - March 16, 2012

There’s nothing like getting a little perspective..

7. littlebangtheory - March 16, 2012

LB (Laurie?) I looked up Dave’s creds, sounds like you’ve got Da Man! Good arborists are a pleasure to watch in action. I hope the connections I’m making will yield some interesting photos at the least.

Susan/Crow, I’m looking forward to settling in to some real photography from That Perspective. It may take a while for me to find the right combination of people and settings, but I’m game to try!

8. Felicity - September 4, 2016

Is that Bart B. Who went to John Jay HS and loved snakes?

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