The past few weeks, well months have been a tree intensive time for me, culminating to the Tree Climber's Rendezvous in Jacksonville. The icing spread across my tree climbing cake when I made a detour through NC to visit family during my drive home to Ohio. I took this opportunity to contact MightyPoplar and see if he was available to meet up for some climbing. We met at Carolina North Forest, and I knew immediately that I was in good company. The day started with a nice hike though this rich mixed forest. Loblolly, White Pine, Tulipifera, White, Red, and Chestnut Oak surrounding. Our introductory tree was a gnarly old Red Oak in a wild setting... We were chattering about the whole while, getting to know each other as we were setting our lines.
During this climb, I learned that MP is an isolated climber, figuring things out on is own, using safe practices taught in Peter Jenkins' DVD. A very solid grasp of the fundamentals. I enjoyed the company of MP tremendously, as I do anyone that is excited about the trees and the climbing. I first tied up my normal DRT system with a michoacan, and a hitch climber pulley, and was going to head up as I normally would to a 35' TIP. The questions, and discussion about technique were flowing, so I pulled off my hitch climber, and tied in "traditional", realizing the opportunity to share some lessons learned. This was the first climb MP climbed without a footloop prussic, utilizing the SL footlock. I doubt he will ever use the prussic again. Then we moved on to the double blakes, and MP was zipping up the tree faster than me in my single blakes traditional setup. I love sharing the tips that have been shared with me, either through posts that I have read, books, or climbing with experienced climbers.
As we were hanging around in this great old tree, I knew that this was going to be a most excellent day.
Mighty Poplar, in a Quercus Rubra
myself with martian hat.
After this climb, we chattered through the forest toward the Poplars. The weather was perfect, chunky clouds breaking up the blue, and temperatures in the high 60s.
The tree is a bute. I am envious of these woods, and these Poplars! This next tree, demanded a 75' TIP, and I made the shot after a couple of tries, cinched the limb, set up a Frog system, and headed up. MP flying up the tree on his double blakes, with no footloop prussic, safety knots perfectly distributed along his down rope.. Great tree, great climb.
MP setting up
The last tree we visited was a 120ish co-dominate Tulip, growing out of a small ravine in the forest. MP was not going to have time to climb this one with me, as work/family duties were calling. He stayed on the groun as support, and to take photos until I made it to my 85' TIP. After he left the wind picked up, as I was in the smaller of the 2 leaders at the 100' mark. I took time to reflect on the last week at the rendezvous, and this perfect day of climbing with a new friend.
Thanks MP for placing these geocaches in a way that honors the trees, and welcoming me to your woods.
This type of tree climbing may be different than what most of you are used to, as there is a geocache container hidden in each of these trees. Trying to get to a specific location in a tree, changes the approach to the climb quite a bit. I havent gocached in quite a while, but it is what got me into the trees. I do realize that many tree climbers take issue with hanging these containers in trees. I will say this, geocaching in trees, if done conscientiously, raises awareness of trees, and builds climbing communities.
This day for me was not about the geocaches, It was about the trees, about meeting Patrick -a good soul, and new climber full of thoughtful questions, and passion for climbing. Thanks again MightyPoplar, it was a pleasure to meet and climb with you. We are all here to help you on your journey as a tree climber.