Vermeer Australia held its annual Arborist Seminar Series in November, with arbor industry leaders and experts presenting seminars over three days on best practice tips and tricks in arboriculture, with topics suited for novice climbers right through to experienced arborists. The series was held online once again this year due to Covid restrictions, however that didn’t stop climbers from around the country wanting to get involved, upskill and interact with the industry experts.
Jamie Boston from Boston Tree Care in Brisbane was one of the presenters this year, talking attendees through modern ascending techniques for tree climbers and loppers, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
The classic technique – modern rope foot lock
The modern rope foot lock is a tried and tested technique that allows climbers to lock the rope at their feet and climb up to their desired anchor point. While this is an effective and fast technique, it can be tiring on the body, and has some limitations when setting up for descent.
Modern day techniques – ascending a tree on a single line
There are two techniques Jamie uses when setting up to ascend on a single line – the first is the hand ascender, foot loop, foot ascender configuration, with a device in the middle; and the second is a knee and foot descender with a device in the middle.
Hand ascender, foot loop, foot ascender configuration
This technique allows you to use the rope like a ladder, with your arms the main muscles used to climb. You need to make sure they keep your body position upright, so when you’re stepping up and down, you’re putting your force directly into the rope, and not on an angle, which could put you off balance or in a bad position.
Knee and foot ascender
Jamie believes this is the most efficient technique when ascending trees, as you use the bigger muscles in your legs, rather than relying on your arm muscles like you do with the hand ascender system. Your arms are used to keep yourself upright, and your legs do all the climbing work.
While the modern foot rope lock and the hand ascender, foot loop, foot ascender are quicker, the knee and foot ascender technique does not use as much energy and isn’t as taxing on the body, something that climbers need to consider when working on large projects where they might be climbing 10 or more trees a day.