ysabetwordsmith: Text -- three weeks for dreamwidth, in pink (three weeks for dreamwidth)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Climbing trees is a fun activity, but not everyone knows how to do it. The two no-gear methods of climbing are scrambling and shinnying. Scrambling means using your hands and feet to go up a tree with branches. Shinnying involves wrapping your arms and legs around a narrow tree without branches, and ratcheting your way up. Of the two, scrambling is much easier, thus generally the best way to start. Climbing with gear tempts people to ascend to great heights, and you have to understand your equipment. It is therefore best left until after you have mastered the basics of freehand climbing of small trees.


Dress appropriately in tough, close-fitting, non-binding clothes that you don't care if they get torn or stained. Ideally you should wear long pants and sleeves of sturdy cloth when you are learn, to minimize the chance of scraping yourself on the bark. (Expect some minor scrapes and bruises anyway, and pack a camping first aid kit.) Choose sturdy, closed shoes with a good grippy sole that is reasonably flexible. Yes, some people climb trees in all kinds of clothes, even skirts and sandals, but good outdoor clothes will make the climb easier for novices whether adult or youth. If your hair is long, braid it or put it under a hat so it doesn't snag.

For a start, you should search for a short tree that has many thick branches and a crotch as low to the ground as possible. Branches at least the thickness of your arm will usually hold your weight, and the thickness of your leg is better. Horizontal branches are convenient to grab and stand on. Redbuds and many semi-dwarf fruit trees are fantastic -- look around and you can probably find a crabapple because many parks plant those. Avoid trees such as birches with very loose or slippery bark, and anything with thorns such as honey locust.

Examine the tree before mounting it. Look for good places to put your hands and feet. The best ones are solid wood in a fork or on a branch close to the trunk. Ideally, you also want higher branches that you can hold onto above the one you're standing on. Trees with multiple trunks are also convenient because you can brace yourself between them.

Next, check to make sure the surface around the tree is safe. Grass is ideal, dirt okay. If you fall, these will absorb some of the impact while allowing you to tumble a bit to disperse the momentum. Loose stuff can make for worse injuries if you fall. Bark mulch gives splinters. Rubber mulch heats up under friction; if solid you can snag on it and it rubs skin off, and if loose it gets stuck in scrapes. Shallow sand is like falling on sandpaper, although deeper can be okay cushioning. Gravel not only scrapes but sticks to the skin. Don't learn over pavement; it can cause serious scrapes and bruises or even broken bones if you fall on it. Also avoid trees with big roots; you don't want to land on those.

To start climbing, grab the tree and haul yourself up. Usually that means reaching for a branch or trunk above your head and pulling while you plant your foot on the tree and push off the ground, then shift your weight to the foot on the tree and your hands. Alternatively, if you have good upper-body strength you may jump to catch a branch and then pull yourself up and over it.

To go higher, stand on a branch or crotch, brace yourself against the trunk or a higher branch, and repeat the process of looking for hand/foot holds. Don't rely on bark, as it won't hold much weight. A branch may give a little but should feel sturdy underneath you. Avoid using dead branches because they won't stand up to much pressure. Stay low on the tree, no higher than your own head, until you feel comfortable with the basic steps of climbing. Even if you fall, short distances rarely produce serious injuries.

Having a spotter helps the first few times, if there's anyone you trust that much. This person keeps a hand on or near you, to steady you if you slip. It's the same concept as spotting someone in gymnastics.

If anyone asks why you're finding this activity challenging, just say you're learning to climb trees. You don't have to explain why you didn't learn earlier, although if people pester you, a generic "I didn't have the opportunity before, but now I do, so I'm taking it now" is sufficient.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 07:41 am (UTC)
mirrorofsmoke: Text icon: I can't believe we're still protesting this shit. (Default)
From: [personal profile] mirrorofsmoke
AAHHH!! We've always wanted to climb trees!

Our mom, when she was a girl, used to have a lovely pear tree in her yard. She would climb up the tree with a Nancy Drew book, sit on a branch and eat pears. And the whole idea just sounded lovely to us. :D

-Buck

Memories

Date: 2017-05-02 07:57 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] caera_ash
I used to love climbing trees...until I got too big for the climbable one in my yard and realized the only other trees I could climb attracted ants and such like crazy...I don't like things crawling on me...or getting in my very long hair...and am sensitive to bug bites. I miss climbing...

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 12:06 pm (UTC)
we_are_spc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] we_are_spc
I used to have a favored tree in our yard growing up that I could clime because it was short and low to the ground, and my parents let me. They let my brother go higher because he could see where to go and wasn't at the same risk of falling as I was if I missed something-but I didn't care because my tree was special and I loved it.

Unfortunately they had to take it out when they put the pipes in for my brother's basement room; I was sad for a damn long time after because there were no other trees I could climb after.

But ah thememories. :)

-Fallon~

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 01:01 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
When I was a kid, the last maple in the row in the playground was huge, and I could get 30-40 feet in the air fairly easily... my favourite perch.

Some people I know would go up barefoot... but when I used to climb, a good old-fashioned pair of sneakers worked well for me... you probably want something with a *low* ankle if you're free-climbing, as the extra flexibility helps.. the classic lineman's boot is for someone (a) using gear and (b) having a fairly well-known, regular climbing surface... the modern aggressive climbing shoe is low-ankled with a flexible sole, but runs close to a pair of benjamins; just for tree-climbing, you don't need anything that fancy... besides, if you're a noob, you want some stiffness because your feet aren't used to providing it!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 04:09 pm (UTC)
thnidu: blank white robot/avatar sitting on big red question mark. tinyurl.com/cgkcqcj via Google Images (question mark)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
«benjamins»?

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 04:25 pm (UTC)
we_are_spc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] we_are_spc
^seconded Re: Benjamins.

-Jay~

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 04:36 pm (UTC)
premchaia_pre4: [Plain question mark.] (question mark)
From: [personal profile] premchaia_pre4

Slang for the 100 USD banknote, which has a picture of Benjamin Franklin on it. So, “close to a pair of benjamins” ~ “nearly two hundred (US) dollars”.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 08:37 pm (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Grazie.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 04:53 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
US $100 notes, so called by the picture of Dr. Franklin on the front.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 05:51 pm (UTC)
across_space_and_time: A dense scattering of stars set on a bottle-green backdrop (Default)
From: [personal profile] across_space_and_time
Tree climbing is one of the things people have been trying to learn how to do here. Unfortunately we're in an area without a lot of good climbing trees. The ones with reachable branches are either pines with lots of sap or very small.

There is a large one with a possibly in-reach branch in one of the parks. We haven't tried to climb that one yet because the reachable branch is very big around and roughly at level with body's head... It's also on a slope and hard to reach. Body is short and lacks upper body strength. But kids climb that tree so we probably just haven't been determined enough.

- Basalt

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-03 01:26 am (UTC)
catsittingstill: (Default)
From: [personal profile] catsittingstill
My favorite climbing tree was a pine. Sap makes your hands smell wonderful. But I agree it is hard to get off.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 11:19 pm (UTC)
viciousladybug: A new haircut in 2017 for me. (Default)
From: [personal profile] viciousladybug
I have good memories of climbing trees when I was younger. The only downfall for me was kneeling on a bee once and getting stung but otherwise, I survived a few falls with no injuries. Not that I went super high.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-03 01:45 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I climb trees fairly often, though it used to be daily and isn't now, and this is all very sound advice!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-03 01:57 am (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
I never did get the hang of shinnying, but I still do okay at scrambling.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-03 05:34 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
I used to love climbing trees. I may still do a little, if the place we're buying has any good ones.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-04 05:19 am (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
Humans being apes, tree-climbing ought to be in our genes. But I'm still a little scared of heights. When I was a kid, and wasn't as scared of heights, I didn't have any climbable trees, so it was all a bit moot.

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