2017 Annual Connecticut Winter Rec Climb
I've lost track of how many times we've done this but, we've done it again
The last three years we've only had a handful or less people joining in. Doesn't matter, with a small crew we can be more flexible, last year it was just three of us and we roamed the countryside until we found something fun. We've only had serious snow to climb in on 2 out of 6 or so years. This year was pleasant global warming weather, no snow which is disappointing. We had a good turnout, one climber flew in from Detroit on standby, awesome! Another climber drove down from Vermont, another up from New Jersey so great effort and commitment to making it happen. Our host Ian is an arborist based in Connecticut, he is an expert at chilling in a tree. We share similar tastes in climbing, always to the woods and looking for some challenges. I know that whenever he scouts he's going to come up with something good. We also had one of my favorite tree people along; Aaron, an Asian Longhorned Beetle climber in the NYC area. He loves the trees, super subtle climber, you wouldn't know he's great in the trees except he is. I won't profile all the climbers but some outstanding individuals from different walks of life.
We climbed in a tuliptree grove in a shallow cove up on the side of a ridge. A vernal brook ran along the edge, good soil deposition in an otherwise rocky landscape, perfect habitat for the tulips to thrive. The air temperature was comfortable on the ground but the crowns of the 125'- 130' trees reached well up above the average forest canopy, you could see quite a distance and the wind was moving pretty well up there so it was cooler.
I had a 200' rope tied to a 150' ground anchored. This allowed me to distribute my rope through the upper limbs and then cross over thru a couple of other trees and still be able to reach the ground without going back. I used my trusty DMM Captain Hook to set traverses and move horizontally through the canopy. Took some effort to take the rope out at the end, with something like 6 or 7 natural redirects there was significant friction to overcome.
This was the largest tree in the grove, 130', CBH = 12.3'. It had a huge crown, most of the climbers were in this tree:
Here's Aaron demonstrating excellent relaxation technique in a third tree:
Ian up in the big tree hiding behind last year's tuliptree blossoms:
The same view zoomed back, Ian's a spec but maybe you can get a sense of the size of the crown of the tree he's in:
Here's helmet cam video by Andre from Cape Cod. On a ridiculous perch, mucho heuvos! Shows the versatility of single rope allowing a climber to safely go places in trees we didn't think possible a few years ago. He's on a super long upward curving side limb, his rope is coming out of the upper center of the tree. The device he's using is called the Bulldog Bone, I tried it out, super smooth. Built by North Carolina backwoods innovator Surveyor, each one hand-made, it rivals any of the new SRT "multicenders" out there but significantly lower cost.Andre in the best perch of the day
A quote from Andre after the climb: "That was a long way out. Amazing how much easier it feels when the objective of to get way out there and enjoy it as oppose to getting there, pruning, and quickly moving to the next spot. Mental lesson learned at that moment."
I packed my Tree-O-Board into the woods, set it up after climbing was done so everyone got to try it out, Michael from Detroit catching some surf: