I’ve competed in the Michigan Tree Climbing Championships for the past 6 years. I remember quite vividly being a young kid that knew everything. I was a good climber and had placed well at a smaller competition. I figured I would go to the competition and do well because I was fast and hiked trees everyday with spikes doing line clearance tree trimming.
There’s nothing wrong with line clearance tree trimming by the way but, as I’m sure you are all assuming by now, I didn’t do very well in the competition. Since I was so used to climbing with spikes, it became evident to me that they had been holding me back. A tree climbing competition is about moving efficiently through the tree without causing more damage so obviously spikes are not allowed!
The events started pretty rough, I threw a throw line into the air but the whole thing was tangled. After I finally got the throw line into a crotch, I attempted to pull the climb line and it was tangled as well. Now, being visibly upset, I blamed the judges and techs for not organizing the throw line and climb line for me. As you can see, I didn’t have the best attitude then, and in all reality it was my fault that everything had become tangled.
I’ve learned many many lessons in all of the climbing competitions that I have been in and attended but the biggest lesson by far is taking responsibility for your own actions. If I didn’t climb well during one of the events, I can try to blame it on gear or the trees or the judges but in the end it is my responsibility to organize my gear, visualize the climb through the trees, and to climb well for the judges.
I think this can be translated into our everyday climbing as well. We are responsible for what happens on our job sites and in the trees. Sometimes there are accidents that do happen but other times some of those excuses we have been using to blame anything but ourselves catch up to us. Whether it be a poor tree evaluation or not inspecting your gear, these things can and will catch up to you! Stay safe!.