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Up A Tree. March 11, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, climbing.
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8 comments

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!