At Bartlett Arborist Supply, we are all climbers. We started doing tree work and now work in the gear supply side of the business, but we still climb any chance we get!
Whether it be climbing competitions, recreational climbing, or going back with a crew for a couple days, we climb as often as possible. It’s a hard thing to get away from when you love being in the air.
Since I started climbing the industry has made huge leaps ahead from where it once was. When I started climbing 9 years ago, the Hitch Climber pulley from DMM was cutting edge. The Hitch Climber is still an awesome tool in any climber’s kit, but nowadays there are so many new pieces of gear, it’s very easy to get lost in the sheer amount of gear we have at our fingertips.
Many climbers are moving to SRT climbing because it’s proven to be easier on a climber’s body. With all the new SRT tools like the Rope Wrench, Petzl Rig, ISC D4 or things like the Unicender we are capable of ascending a rope in a perfectly straight line right to the top of the tree.
By using these amazing tools we can add years to our climbing career. We talked about ascending techniques before as well as SRT work positioning which are both a bit different from double rope ascending and work positioning. With any new technique it’s good to learn the basics and move into it slowly.
Though SRT climbing looks to be very gear intensive, it doesn't have to be. With just basic gear, the climber is capable of quickly ascending the rope and quickly beginning work.
For the new SRT climber, the best piece of equipment the can have outside of their climbing kit would be a Big Shot for setting your line in the tree. This giant sling shot helps to precisely shoot your throw line into the tree greatly reducing the amount of time involved with getting a climb line into the tree. Many times I’ve heard people call the throw bag the “bag of humility.” This is the best description I have ever heard for this great tool! It will either make or break your day. With the big shot your day will go by much easier.
Other than the big shot I would recommend setting a line high in a tree and staying on lower limbs or the ground until you get the “feeling” for the climbing. Unlike a double rope system, the rope does not move when you pull it. This can lead to some very awkward first limb walks. It’s best to stay low and slow before going high into the tree. Stay safe!