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Ascending Trees with the FROG and RADs Systems

Ascending Trees with the FROG and RADs Systems

There are plenty of ways to get up a tree. You could stick with the simple methods of hip thrusting or foot locking, or even the fan-favorite Rope Walking Technique. Sometimes you just need to switch it up. Some lesser-known methods of ascending trees include the Frog Walker System and the RADS climbing system.


Frog Walker System

The Frog Walker System I use is not a true Frog method, but a modified version that incorporates a Rope Wrench. My frog system consists of a rope wrench climbing system, double or single hand ascender, foot loop, and a foot ascender. You can use a chest harness, but they can get uncomfortable and dig into your back muscles.

I asked some of my fellow climbers, "Why frog walk instead of rope walk?”

I got many different responses. Some people don't like using a chest harness, while others prefer getting a better grip using the hand ascender as opposed to gripping a small diameter rope. Some even said it allows you to run up the rope quicker!

Without a chest harness, tending my system by hand is a hassle. So, a quick little trick I use requires a small piece of throwline and two mini carabiners. Imagine along with me: roughly measure out from the bottom of the hand ascender to the top of the rope wrench, follow that by tying a mini carabiner onto each end. Next, clip one mini onto the hand ascender and the other carabiner to the head of the rope wrench. Now your system will get tended without the need of that annoying chest harness! Watch the video below to see it in action and try it out for yourself!

I will mention that if you go from a Rope Walking over to Frog Walking, there is a small difference in body movements. You may need to practice the technique a few times before you get it.

RADS Climbing System

The RADS, or Rapid Ascent/Descent System isn’t really too popular in the tree climbing industry, but it is another option for ascending trees. This system gets used more in various "at-height industries" such as rope access.

The gear required for this climbing system involves a Petzl Rig, hand ascender, foot loop, and a Petzl Roll Clip. You could use a carabiner with a micro pulley to get the same effect as the roll clip. View the video below to see how it works!

I’ve met plenty of hunters who really like this system for getting up into a  tree, so there’s an idea! The way this climbing system functions does require some getting-used-to because this is a sit and stand method. Happy climbing!

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