| Some Joe-isms
Some of my students in Panama got really tired of hearing all my sayings and quotes. As a joke they started collecting them and writing them down in a list that grew day-by-day. At the end of the session they presented the list and read it to all who were there. It got a lot of laughs. Then they told me that I had to post the list on this website. They said that if I didn't agree to this, that they would hide my rum. I have been pestered about this to no end, so now I am posting them, here on the "articles" page, where nobody ever looks anyway! A whole lot of my "rogue" philosophy shows up here. According to the students there is nothing on this list that wasn't repeated at least twice,except for one, although I don't remember repeating them that often! I am also told that many of the "repeats" did not use exactly the same language in the same order but that the meaning never changed.---Joe
You step on that pile of ZingIt, you're gonna be DRT-Dead Right There!
Once in the canopy, you're in a different world. A world unavailable to those who remain below. A world providing a different and unique perspective on life in the forest.
Safety rules are for those who lack the ability to prevail in their absence.
Rules should never be a substitute for common sense and intuitive judgment, when common sense and intuitive judgment are based on a solid foundation of knowledge and experience.
Intuitive judgment comes from experience. Don't try to rush it. Follow the rules until you get there.
It is OK to break a rule if:
you are aware that you are breaking a rule, and
you are aware of the potential consequences of breaking that rule, and
your breaking the rule does not endanger others, and
you are willing to accept total responsibility for any negative outcome.
Reaching the top of a tree is only half the journey.
Let's not overthink this issue!
Every rope has two ends, no more, no less. So don't look at me telling me there is no other end to that rope you're holding!
The higher you climb, the smaller your anchor limb looks. I call it the Law Of Apparently Diminishing Security, or LOADS.
Fear-Induced Brain-Death is what has occurred when a beginning climber reaches the top of a climb and can't remember how to come down.
Fear is directly proportional to height climbed. Up to a point!
Going up the tree is optional, coming down safely is mandatory!
Statistics show that most climbing accidents involving rope occur during descent; or, to be more exact, on rappel.
It is axiomatic that each time you discover a really great tree, a new and better tree will appear in the distance.
Climbing a rope is easy. It's getting the rope up there that's the difficult part.
While throwing, a low limb is better than no limb.
The more times you throw that thing, the more opportunity you are offering to the knot gnomes. Try to get it on the first throw, then the gnomes have only had one chance and maybe they weren't paying attention. You don't really like undoing tangles, do you?
Throw the hell out of it! Don't be nice to it. You might even get a higher setting than you were aiming for.
Throwing and retrieving are what serious climbing is all about. You can go almost anywhere if you can throw a line there and then retrieve it. Just make sure it's a good limb!
Understanding force, within the context of tree climbing, is all about theory. There are too many variables that get in the way when climbers try to apply theory to practice. As Yogi Berra has said: "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." Believe the theory, but apply your judgment!
There are many different safe and acceptable ways to climb. Be wary of those who would have you believe that their way is either the best way, only way, or right way.
The best climbers should have a large "kitbag" of systems, techniques, and gear at their disposal and be willing, without bias, to use whichever is best for the challenge at hand.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" (from DaVinci). The best climbers are those who can climb difficult and challenging trees using only the most basic systems, techniques and gear.
Automation breeds complacency. Be very careful with equipment that is supposed to function automatically.
The more complex the climbing system, the easier the climb. The more complex the climbing system, the more gear you need, the more time you need to set it up, and the more potential exists for mistakes. Complex systems usually result in too many "moving" parts and require much more attention to detail. Stay simple, stay safe.
Most equipment designed for climbing, and used as directed, is not dangerous. It is the climber that is dangerous. Blaming mishaps on the equipment is a cop-out! There are exceptions to this where manufacturing defects are encountered. All equipment should be carefully examined and tested before use.
Be careful to understand the concept of "reversibility"! Don't climb yourself into a position of "irreversibility" that you can't escape from. Another way of saying not to burn your bridges after you've crossed them.
The most important thing you can carry up a tree with you is your brain!
Self-reliance is your most important resource. Don't expect modern technology to always be there to save you if things start to go wrong. "911" is not always there. Batteries go dead. There are areas with no service. GPS units can let you down just as quickly as your cell phone. These things are nice, but don't put too much faith in them!
Nobody at "911" even knows how to climb a tree!
Climbing wild trees in remote environments is a never-ending exercise in creative problem solving.
Whatever works...as long as it's safe!
For most climbers, trees possess a spiritual quality. A tree is more than a mere collection of cells, some differentiated through the process of evolution to perform different tasks; a tree is more than the sum of its parts. A tree is a living, breathing part of the environment and should be perceived as such.
Oh! My! God! It's only a snake! Quit shreaking and get on up the tree! (said only once)
They're only spiders! Squealing and shreaking are not allowed unless you've actually been attacked. Move it!
Every climber should be able to operate as a totally independent unit, even when working as part of a team, practicing team climbing and helping each other. Carry your own load, have all the equipment you need, and be able to cope if you suddenly find yourself in the top of a tree or out in the forest all alone.
There are climb leaders and there are lead climbers. Some people are capable of being both, most are not. Some climbers are neither. Find your niche and develop it.
Tree climbing is not a risk-free activity. It is not a theme park activity. It is an adventure and, by definition, adventure involves risk.
Hey! You! Up there. Yeah, you! You gonna hang there forever or are you gonna set those ropes and get these other climbers moving upwards. You wanna be a lead climber, your first priority is to ensure the safety of your own setting. You've already done that! Second priority, start setting ropes and get the rest of the team up there with you! We're tired of sitting here in the mud! (said several times with variations in choice of words. But you get the idea! Joe at his best!)
Always ask "What if...?" Try to see problems before they arise and try to have a solution ready to use. Always be ready for the worst-case scenario to appear in front of you.
Murphy and his law have been known to show up for a tree climb.
Think about Jack and his beanstalk. You never know what you might find up there.
Whatever! (said several hundred times!)