The best advice on becoming the “go to” groundie

Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 4/24/2017 to Tree Climbing Safety

At one time or another, we have all been the new guy or girl on a job. It’s not a fun spot to be in, especially when there are others who have been doing the job for years that expect you to know everything that they do in a matter of minutes! This can make the learning curve pretty steep when you have to deal with a dangerous job, as well as the persistent yelling or criticism informing you that you are doing the job wrong. We decided to ask our Facebook followers how they deal with new groundies and how they train them as well as new climbers. Whether you are a fledgling groundie or a seasoned crew member who wants to be known as the best at the trade, we offer the best advice on becoming the “go to” groundie.


Here is what some of our Facebook followers had to say:


Dennis Wilson – People on the ground just don't understand how much extra effort it takes to do anything in the air. When you have guys on the ground and you are fighting your rope, it is extremely frustrating. I find myself taking a deep breath, and trying to calmly ask for my rope to be cleared. Pay attention to the climber. Try to anticipate his next move, to make the job more efficient, and safer. Listen for the saw, keep my rope clear, and don't ever make me look for you. Do anything you can to make my job in the tree easier. Everything is easier to do on the ground then in the tree. Let me know if you need a break. I'm not good at remembering breaks.


Durk Bouma – Keep the Line clear and clean up the mess around it. Don’t hit the Line with the chainsaw.


James Henry – Don’t put my [bleeping] rope in the chipper. Don't let brush tangle my rope up. Don't step on my rope. Don't wrap my rope like an extension cord. Sharpen a saw instead of standing around. Don't fall in the chipper.


Marcus Nichols – Always pay attention to the climber. Keep his ropes clear of debris, etc. If a saw is running, something’s coming down.... Look up, and ensure you're out of the drop zone.


Matt Kennedy – Head on a swivel, ask questions, respect your equipment and machinery, watch and learn work flow, if you feel you are ready ask to be trained on the next step.


Mark Challet – 3 way communication. Stay out of the drop zone. Always wear PPE and never run equipment that you have not been trained to or have never ran before without training.


Peter Andrews – Eat right, wear good clothes and good boots. Always love your mother.


Jim Paul – 1st- Keep my rope out of the chipper. 2nd - let it run


Tobias Wygand – Only do what you've had documented training on.


Tim Byrne – Respect is earned and not just handed out. Be proactive and not reactive and always look up. Work with me and not against me.


Joey Tree – Everything goes to the chipper. Not necessarily in the chipper, but to the chipper.


Ian Bredell – Pay attention, listen to the climber with ears that say, one day that's going to be me!


James Paul – Organize everything, then when you finish, start organizing again! I strongly believe that cleaner is safer!


Anthony Basile – Always try to think a few steps ahead. The question "what if" can not only save your life, but make your job a lot easier.


Jon Ziegler – Pull up your pants, put down the phone and MOVE!


Damen Bedick – 1. Keep your head up. 2. Logs bounce.


To sum up, here is the key take away for fledgling groundies who want to become an invaluable asset to the team:

  • Always pay attention to the climber – look up

  • Try to anticipate the climber’s next move to make the job safer and more efficient

  • Let the climber know if you need a break

  • Keep the line clear

  • Everything is easier to do on the ground then in the tree

  • Don't let brush tangle the rope up

  • Don’t step on the rope

  • Don't wrap the rope like an extension cord

  • Be proactive – sharpen a saw or organize gear instead of standing around

  • If a saw is running, something’s coming down – stay out of the drop zone

  • Cleaner is safer – keep things organized


All of this great advice was sent to us on our Facebook page! Thanks to everyone that left us a comment! Hopefully some new groundies can get some great advice from this post and some seasoned crew leaders and trainers can take some tips from here as well for training that new dream groundie! You know the one, they let every piece run nice and smooth with no whip in the tree; your saws are always fueled at the end of the day; the truck is clean and neatly organized; the saws are all sharp; your rope is always at the base of the tree in a neat pile and never half way across the yard getting ever closer to the chipper knives; the rigging line is always separated from your climb line; the yard is clean and raked by the time you are on the ground; and every log is loaded by the time your gear is put away!


By sharing these key advice points with your groundies, you’ll be well on your way to shaping your dream groundie! 

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