When I look at the years I have been climbing trees I see an abundance of great times and so many different trees that it makes my head spin. The industry has changed tenfold in the amount of time I have been a part of it. This major shift is mostly due to the fact that climbers are being so creative with their climbing nowadays. On top of that, social media, like Facebook and Instagram, give other climbers a perfect insight into other climbing styles and techniques.
When I first started climbing, the only thing I had to look at for inspiration and advice were the climbers around me. Some were good and others not so good but we were a group that showed each other what we knew. The downside to this way of working is that we are an isolated industry. We can only see what the others around us are doing. By only doing what those around us are doing we can only make it so far without 1. plateauing or 2. inventing.
Further into my career I started competing in the Michigan Tree Climbing Championships. This was a huge eye opener into what was going on climbing-wise in our industry. I thought I was a good climber (I was decent at most) but when I saw the way these other guys moved through the trees I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. From that point on, all I thought about was tree climbing. I researched and I experimented and I pushed as hard as I could to get others involved with what I loved.
With all the Facebook groups and forums dedicated to tree climbing, it’s hard to keep the latest climbing device or acronym for it straight! Once you start digging into these forums and groups you are bound to find a group of climbers, made up of men and women,that are truly passionate about climbing. They are willing to share knowledge and experiences that will not only make your climbing more efficient but it might also save your life!
Facebook groups like Climber’s Online with 2,610 members, Tree Trimmers, climbers, bucket babies, loggers, and fans with 11,558 members, and Climbing Arborists International with 2,670 members are great places to talk to and learn from others. This really helps with the work isolation concept as I can talk to a friend in New Zealand and at the same time talk to someone from Northern California. The amount of knowledge is unbelievable!
I highly recommend coming to climbing competitions and joining some of these great Facebook groups. You are sure to pick up a bit of knowledge from each and hopefully meet some lifelong friends! Climb safe!