Basic Tree Climbing Techniques


As a kid, climbing a tree seems fairly easy. But as one grows older, the danger in going up a big and tall tree becomes even greater. Fortunately, there are advanced and affordable tree climbing equipment today that make this activity safer for many people including those engaged in recreational and professional purposes.

After you’ve prepared your gear, it’s time to learn the basic techniques in tree climbing. Patience, determination and constant practice are vital in being able to do this activity successfully regardless whether you’re a kid or an adult. It’s not enough that you read through the proper techniques because a hands-on practice is very necessary to learn the right way of doing it.

Basic techniques

The Double-rope technique (DRT) is simple to follow and considered to be safer. This is the technique often used in climbing trees that are up to about 10 feet tall such as the pines, maples, oaks and poplars.

This method allows for the rope to be easily retrieved by a climber even without going back up to the tree. By double rope, this means one end of the rope is connected to the climber’s harness then goes around the tree and to the friction hitch. This hitch is also attached to the climber allowing the person to adjust his rope.

It is important to note here that the rope must be looped over a branch to set up the climbing system. A branch protection device may be needed to lessen the damage to your rope as well as to the bark of the branch. In going up, the common way is to use only your arms and this is easier to do for people who have light weight.

The Single-rope technique (SRT) is ideal for use in taller trees that have a height of more than 300 feet. The firs, spruce and redwoods belong to this category. This technique calls for the legs to work in ascending the tree but is considered less strenuous compared to the double-rope method. Another difference is that more climbing gear is needed for this technique.

Using a throw line with an attached weight and a slingshot or a bow as a launching system will enable you to anchor your rope to a high branch. Ascenders are then used to help a person climb up a tree.
There are two types of techniques you can apply using a single rope sit-stand and rope-walking. The sit-stand system allows a person to climb in a sitting position and with an ascender, straddles the rope. The rope-walking method utilizes the ascenders attached to both feet with one higher than the other. Coordination of the hands and feet are required here such that as one steps up, he or she must also pull up the rope.

The Lead climb technique (LCT) is more complicated. This means that a lead climber first goes up the tree then makes an anchor to control the rope for his partner. As the rope is secured, the second climber can then follow. Most often, the double rope technique is used in this tree climbing method.