Trees have always been a valuable element in the environment. Without trees, there won’t be any fresh air nor do people have somewhere they can hide under when the sun’s being particularly brutal that day. However, maintaining them takes skills that only a few are trained to handle. That’s why arborists are irreplaceable in the community.
Before they go ahead and start tending to the trees, arborists must come fully equipped. After all, many aren’t aware of how dangerous it is to handle trees. Falling branches, broken trunks, poisonous flora—anything can hurt them. Although given how important trees are, the only thing arborists can do is prepare. And what they have in their tree climbing gear could determine their job’s success.
Climbing up and down a tree isn’t the safest job in the world, especially once you’ve considered just how tall trees can get. Therefore, it goes without saying that wearing protective gear is a no-brainer. Because aside from the tree, the equipment arborists use is the last thing you’d call safe.
Many cases involve cutting down sections of the tree, especially if they’ve been getting too long or a disease infects them. Instead of only using a saw, arborists prefer chainsaws to get the job done faster. But considering just holding them is already a safety hazard, wearing a pair of chainsaw chaps will lower your chances of getting any leg injury from resting your chainsaw on yourself by accident.
Other protective gear worn by arborists is already utilized in most hands-on work. Boots and gloves are a no-brainer since you can’t climb a tree using your bare hands while wearing a pair of flip-flops without getting yourself injured. Having a heavy-duty helmet and eyewear on will protect your head from any falling debris. Lastly, for those who haven’t seen a chainsaw in action, using it can seriously damage your hearing. So, don’t forget about ear protection like plugs.
The lanyard system plays a valuable role in an arborist’s tree climbing gear. Without it, it’ll take a long time for arborists to find a solid foothold on the tree by themselves. However, for it to work properly, it requires two parts: the flip line and the lanyard adjuster.
Also called the polestrap, the flip line is meant to secure you into position. Even if you keep ‘flipping’ the lanyard to change positions, the flip line doubles cut resistance to ensure complete safety every time you move. As for the lanyard adjuster, it makes your travel much easier to do by shortening or lengthening your lanyard. This way, you don’t need to go through the trouble of adjusting your foot loops while you’re up on the tree.
Working alongside the lanyard system is a high-quality climbing rope. Naturally, only this type of rope is applicable when tree climbing. Because unlike normal ropes, climbing ropes are engineered to be strong and rigid, preventing them from stretching too much, even after extensive use. Since they’re synthetic fibers braided together, they come with ultraviolet (UV) and abrasion resistance, which is ideal for tree climbing.
Always look for a climbing rope with a high rating on ‘falls held’ or ‘factor falls’. Because as much as it’s built for long-term durability, climbing ropes are bound to retire eventually. A high rating on ‘falls held’ or ‘factor falls’ indicates high usability.
To attach yourself to the lanyard system and climbing rope, you need a harness. Right from the get-go, it’s easy to point out why the harness is irreplaceable when tree climbing. Aside from attaching the climbing rope and lanyard system, the harness is also responsible for securing the arborist for the most part.
Since it focuses on the arborist, the right harness must be comfortable and adjustable. It should never feel bulky or stiff. Otherwise, it might cut off circulation the longer you use it, causing more harm than good. Look for a harness that comes with padding to maximize its comfort level. And to keep you refreshed the entire time you’re up the tree, find one that uses a breathable material.
Handling affected wood can be extremely dangerous without the right security. Even though you’re wearing protective gear, you’re still at risk of falling. That’s why tree climbing gear includes layers upon layers of security. Therefore, more security is found in the prusik, carabiners, and spurs, aside from the lanyard system and harness.
Prusik is a friction hitch that attaches a loop of cord around the climbing rope to help you adjust your position better, enabling you to ascend and descend the tree freely. Carabiners use strong metal connectors and clips to hold the entire security and safety systems together. Meanwhile, spurs are worn by the arborist to serve as a makeshift foothold. However, it’s best to use it only when the tree is about to be taken down. Otherwise, their spikes will damage the trunk.
On the surface, tree maintenance may seem relatively harmless. However, those with trees on their property know how dangerous yet beautiful they are. Because if they’re not maintained, they’re likely to affect their surroundings and harm anyone nearby. That’s why it’s best to hire professionals like arborists to handle them. But before they do that, they must be geared with the proper equipment.