How to Become More Efficient at Tree Removals
On a recent Facebook post, we asked, “what you recommended to someone that wanted to get faster at doing removals?” An overwhelming response was that you don’t need to be faster, you need to be safe. That’s a great point and obviously the best answer for the given scenario, but when we asked, we were assuming that the theoretical climber was, indeed, safe. So, with that being said, let’s look at some ways that a climber can reduce the time that they are in the tree by making them more efficient at tree removals.
Reduce Time and Effort Getting Into a Tree
One of the best ways to make your day go by faster and make the work easier on your body is to reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to get into the tree. When I first started climbing, I would throw my spikes on and spike up the tree from the ground up. It’s pretty straight forward, but in those big trees, it’s a lot of work! So I moved on to ascending into the tree with a foot ascender and a knee ascender and then putting my spikes on while up in the tree. This made it super easy to get into the tree, but it was a pain to get my spikes on exactly how I wanted them while in the tree. Finally, I looked into a pair of Kiwi Klimbers and used them to ascend into the tree SRT with my spikes on! Awesome!
Kiwi Klimbers are ascenders that attach to your spikes right underneath the gaff, essentially turning them into Ascending Removal Machines! Honestly, they make it so you can easily ascend a rope and then kick your ascender off the rope and kick your gaffs right into the tree. They even come with an attachment for your left gaff so you can attach a knee ascender to it as well. This makes getting into large trees super easy.
The best way I have used to describe the advantage of using devices such as Kiwi Klimbers instead of just gaffing up the tree is to think about the fastest way to get from wherever you are to Hawaii. Obviously the fastest way to get there is by plane, and planes fly in straight lines. That straight line looks a whole lot like your rope in that tree doesn’t it? Moving up and down a straight rope is far easier than gaffing up a big tree and dodging around limbs and all that stuff.
A Huge Time and Energy Saver
The other thing these work great for are the times that you are doing a lot of tip tying of limbs. I did this a ton when I was doing line clearance and it took a lot out of me to have to go all the way up in the piece I was removing to tie the rigging line and then go all the way back down to where it connected to the tree to make the cut, only to have to do it all over again for the next piece and the next. Once I started using my Kiwi Klimber, I could clip my ascender into the rope and ascend right up the rope and swing out to my next piece to remove, instead of having to climb in and around limbs on my way back up. This significantly reduced my removal times AND it made me less tired at the end of the day. These are both plusses in my opinion!
Find the Correct Fit
The one thing to keep in mind when you order your Kiwi Klimber ascender is to order it for the pair of gaffs you have or the ones you plan on getting. The Kiwi Klimber comes pre-drilled to be installed with the bolts that go through the shank of your spikes and screw into your gaffs. If you order the wrong Kiwi Klimber, it will not attach to your spikes. Once you do get it attached, I would recommend taking a couple ascents that are low and slow to get used to how this new way of ascending feels. It doesn’t feel the same as just using a foot ascender, since a foot ascender just attaches to your boot. The Kiwi Klimber is attached to your pair of spikes, so the movement feels quite a bit more rigid; this is mostly because your spikes come all the way to just below your knee. Getting used to them isn’t hard though and you will easily see the advantages with a few ascents!
Are you already using Kiwi Klimbers now? How do you like them? Do you feel like they have cut time and effort out of some of your big removal days? We would love to hear what you think about them in the comments below!