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2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:50 pm
by AndrewJoslin
This is very detailed documentation of tree climbing process. This climb happened April 2013, it was my first climb on Coast Redwood, intentionally choosing 2nd-growth to climb on. Climbing old-growth redwood is most likely illegal since most are in highly protected groves. Not that I wouldn't pass up a legitimate legal opportunity.

I used a helmet cam and an iPhone to capture the video. The climb was dedicated to my younger sister Dorothy who had visited that particular site with me in years past and who passed away a year ago April.

Typical for solo climbing, especially on a wild tree, and a new species for me, I do a lot of talking to myself as part of the climbing. I also try to provide some verbal info for the benefit of the viewer.

At one point during the climb I felt the entire tree shake from the roots up, very interesting! I guess it could have been a small earthquake but it was quick and didn't have the lingering quality of an earthquake tremor. There was no wind movement. Mysteries abound out in the woods and trees.

Climbing a small redwood (80' or so tree) to access a larger tree
Part 1

Working up the through the crown of the larger tree
Part 2

Going to the top
Part 3

I didn't measure the tree but based on my rope length this redwood was probably in the 210' range.
-AJ

Re: 2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:28 pm
by Don
AJ
Having climbed rocks that didn't need ropes, it's not surprising that I have climbed trees without them...not that that is a sign of any degree of intelligence, I just had no training in rope work. Probably the tallest trees I ever climbed were in Humboldt County, on the Humboldt campus, near Founders Hall. A row of spruces perhaps in the 120' plus range enticed us one windy pre-storm day. We could from the ground pretty much visualize the climb, with pretty much stair step limbs most of the way up. We managed to get pretty far up, before encountering a gap in the "stair step branching". The trees were swaying in the increasing winds and that kind of diminished any courageous attempts to go further. Staying put, we enjoyed our high up lair and its view of the campus and the rest of the town of Arcata.
I noticed that you seem to have climbed alone...do you recommend that? It's clear that you practice safe climbing, double roping (always with a backup loop in place), but...
-Don

Re: 2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:29 pm
by F.Jakobsson
Andrew,
Thanks for taking us up there!
Fredrik

Re: 2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:37 pm
by AndrewJoslin
Don wrote:AJ
Having climbed rocks that didn't need ropes, it's not surprising that I have climbed trees without them...not that that is a sign of any degree of intelligence, I just had no training in rope work. Probably the tallest trees I ever climbed were in Humboldt County, on the Humboldt campus, near Founders Hall. A row of spruces perhaps in the 120' plus range enticed us one windy pre-storm day. We could from the ground pretty much visualize the climb, with pretty much stair step limbs most of the way up. We managed to get pretty far up, before encountering a gap in the "stair step branching". The trees were swaying in the increasing winds and that kind of diminished any courageous attempts to go further. Staying put, we enjoyed our high up lair and its view of the campus and the rest of the town of Arcata.
I noticed that you seem to have climbed alone...do you recommend that? It's clear that you practice safe climbing, double roping (always with a backup loop in place), but...
-Don
There's no joy like free climbing Don. Free climbing can be VERY demanding physically depending on the tree. However using rope and harnesses opens up a lot of options, and it's very sustainable physically for spending hours if not days in trees.

Solo climbing...
In the professional arborist world it is verbotten to work solo. If a climber injures themselves while working there is no one to call for help or to help directly. My climbing comes from a passion for being in the forest, not from the requirement to work in trees. I do enjoy doing tree work now and then but that's a completely different climbing activity. For any activity, whether it's walking a mountain trail, or swimming in a river there is an assessment of conditions and a calculation of risk. I enjoy being with other climbers I learned climbing in the woods mostly solo and have been doing so for plus 7 years. If I depended on having other climbers around I would not be a climber. Everything I do to prepare for climbing and during the climb is thought through very carefully. I love life and am actually not much of a risk taker. I just read an apt quote by the famous Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck. He's well known for doing incredible solo ascents on near vertical ice walls with no rope backup, only an ice axe and crampons. Here's what he says about that (in part): "...I wouldn't do it if I was afraid of it. I'm not an adrenaline junkie. I'm really Swiss, calculating". This rings true. There are many activities that appear to be incredibly risky when in fact the practitioner is highly skilled and has correctly assessed the risk and performs the activity within their skill level. I think that's key to successful solo tree climbing, to know yourself and to honestly understand your physical, mental and skill limits. I've certainly had to work through fear and still do in my climbing, I have a natural fear of heights. The process of overcoming fear is part of what draws me to it, that and the sense of adventure upon approach to a tall tree unknowable from the ground is deeply irresistible to me.
-AJ

Re: 2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:09 pm
by Rand
Don wrote:AJ
It's clear that you practice safe climbing, double roping (always with a backup loop in place), but...
-Don
Reminds me of the hair raising account of Steve Silette's first redwood climb as told in the 'Wild Trees' - with no safety equipment whatsoever. He and one of his buddies went ~ 70' up a small tree like andrew and then jumped the gap over to the larger tree and grabbed one of its epicormic branches. If that didn't sound dangerous enough they then 'rock climbed' up the fissured bark before reaching the next branch. To top it all off, Steve's buddy disturbed a hornet's nest on the way back down and got the ever-livin crap stung out of him before he could jump back over to the small tree and escape. Now that's willpower for you.

Re: 2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:21 am
by AndrewJoslin
Rand wrote:Reminds me of the hair raising account of Steve Silette's first redwood climb as told in the 'Wild Trees' - with no safety equipment whatsoever. He and one of his buddies went ~ 70' up a small tree like andrew and then jumped the gap over to the larger tree and grabbed one of its epicormic branches. If that didn't sound dangerous enough they then 'rock climbed' up the fissured bark before reaching the next branch. To top it all off, Steve's buddy disturbed a hornet's nest on the way back down and got the ever-livin crap stung out of him before he could jump back over to the small tree and escape. Now that's willpower for you.
I was very aware of the infamous Sillett "free traverse" when I planned my similar route on the ground. My traverse risk factor was waaaaaay lower. It is a beautiful feeling hanging out in mid-air between two trees on a roped traverse. In my case it would have been impossible to do a jump and grab traverse, unless my arms were 25' or so long ;-)
-AJ

Re: 2nd Growth Coast Redwood Climb video

Posted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:54 am
by Rand
AndrewJoslin wrote: My traverse risk factor was waaaaaay lower.
-AJ
<chuckle> I'll take the fact that you've lived to see middle age as adequate proof of that.