How many times have you rigged out big wood? How about zip lining nasty dead hollow logs out of trees? How about zip lining those logs with nothing but grave stones underneath you? This was the first time I really got involved with the industry and it was at a volunteer work day.
I drove our company truck and chipper two hours away to help with a volunteer work day through our local ISA chapter called the ASM which stands for the Arboricultural Society of Michigan. We were working at a War Dog Memorial where dogs that had served in previous wars had been buried. The people that take care of this memorial were mostly veterans as well or family members of veterans. Once we arrived we noticed that there were two other tree care companies there as well. This always brings about a fair bit of friendly competition in my opinion and all the bells and whistles are sure to be pulled out!
We were given our tree which was a massive Black Oak and told to mitigate the risks that it posed to pedestrians and the grave stones of the war dogs. As I looked up into the massive tree all I could see was a 24” diameter dead and hollow leader about 60 feet off the ground hanging directly over the headstones! Obviously we knew what needed to be done but how was the real problem.
I set a rope and ascended into the canopy to put together a plan of action. The limb was severely decayed and I was surprised that it was still attached to the tree. Rigging the pieces straight down posed the threat of the rope crushing the wood and possibly sending smaller but still damaging pieces onto the graves below. I decided to set up a zip line to quickly and efficiently move the wood away from the tree and away from the graves. This also helped out our ground guys because they wouldn’t have to carry the wood around all the graves.
I attached 2 slings to each log and then attached a carabiner and omni block to each sling. The omni block then attached to the rope we had tied to the tree and anchored with a Port A Wrap at our destination point. The first log was cut and it sailed down the rope landing at the other end of the park away from all the graves! Our plan worked great! I attached 2 slings to even out the load on the logs and reduce the crushing ability, which worked out as well.
We zip lined the rest of the logs across the park and notched some trees after that. In the end it was a great day and I got to have fun with other like minded climbers and volunteers. Afterwards I was fortunate enough to be rewarded a medal from the Veterans for ours volunteer service. On top of that, someone had taken my picture and submitted it to TCIA Magazine. One day I got a call from a friend telling me that I was on the cover of the magazine! Not a bad way to get involved huh?