–climbing gear & techniques

Topics Discussed On This Page
* Why You Should First Learn Aid Climbing
* New Climber? Watch The How-To Video Series!
* Ropes: Dynamic Or Static?
* Throw Lines (short vid)
* Lanyards
Climbing Systems
* Budget RADS
* Traditional RADS
* Rope Wrench (yoyo)
* Rope Wrench (rope walker)




Why You Should First Learn Aid Climbing.

Aid climbing (climbing ropes not tree) is the traditional treeclimbing style of arborists. Rope ascension is required to safely enter a tree that has zero limbs below 20 feet. If you rely solely on climbing tree limbs you may find yourself in a dangerous situation without the necessary rope handling skills that will save your life. Rope ascension can be done on a dynamic rope but this is very inefficient and tiring which is why all arborists use static or semistatic ropes. There are many different techniques of aid climbing. This page will only cover a few techniques and will focus on SRT (stationary rope technique) by using a RADS (rapid ascent and descent system). Before climbing outside you need to practice your techniques buy tying your rope to a rafter and getting accustomed to your gear in a controlled environment.



New Climber? Watch The How-To Video Series!

Episode 1 covers throwline techniques, multiple rope rigging set ups, and how to retrieve the climbing rope from the ground.

Ep.1 Direct Link:

Episode 2 covers rope choices, the RADS system, and a few must have skills.

Ep.2 Direct Link:

Episode 3 discusses the dangers of tree camping and some anchoring techniques.

Ep.3 Direct Link:



Ropes: Dynamic Or Static?

This is probably the most asked question received from brand new tree climbers. “Should I buy a dynamic rope for safer falls or a static rope for easier climbing?” My answer, and 99.99999% of all arborists would agree, is buy a static rope. When you climb a static rope most of your energy will be used to pull your body up the rope as opposed to climbing a dynamic rope where most of your energy will be wasted by the stretchiness of the rope (dynamic ropes are made to absorb energy, imagine trying to climb a rubber band).

When ascending a rope there is no need to worry about falling because the rope is always tight under the pressure of your body weight. If you get to a section of the tree where you decide to climb the branches instead of your rope you must ALWAYS keep the climbing line taught so if you slip off the branch you won’t fall (as opposed to allowing slack to build up, if you slip off a branch you will build momentum while falling down until all of the slack in your rope is gone and this will create a very painful and dangerous stopping motion).

If you already own a dynamic rope, give it a shot! Just be aware that it is a night and day difference between climbing a dynamic rope and a static rope. If you enjoy the idea of climbing the tree (via face climbing, not rope ascension) then you will want to have a dynamic rope in your arsenal of gear. HOWEVER! You will still need a static rope to safely build an anchor for face climbing. Once you have an anchor built and a partner to belay you, you will be able to safely face climb and fall (like falling while rock climbing). Click the link to watch a helmet cam video of may favorite tree-faceclimb: https://treefool.com/2014/03/24/helmet-cam-face-climbing-madness/.



Throw Lines

Dynaglide and Zingit are popular cords to use for throwlines because they are tough and slick (which means they don’t get caught easily on bark). When I first started tree climbing I thought these were completely necessary and paid the high price. But, one trip I got my throwline so stuck that I had to abandon it and could not wait for a new line to ship out so I ran over to Home Depot and found spools of 2mm and 3mm cord at $12.00 for 300 feet! It comes in all sorts of super bright colors and I honestly have not noticed a difference. Also, if you are a new tree climber don’t spend $50 on a throwline bag! Just run to over to Target and find a collapsible laundry basket for $4. Here is a short climb in minus 5°F viewed from my helmet cam that shows this gear in use:

The only thing that I hate about tree climbing is dealing with throw lines. If I don’t properly coil my throw line it becomes a rat’s nest. If I miss my throw while advancing my line it turns into a rats nest. If I look at my throw line wrong it turns into a rats nest. Fortunately genius’s like Richard Mumford (check out his YouTube Channel) have come up with some cheap and easy solutions for keeping throw lines organized while climbing. Go to home depot and buy a chalk line reel, open it up, and replace the string with your throw line of choice. Try it! It works great! (The chalk reels can only hold 40 to 50 feet of line so this trick only works for advancing your line while climbing).






Tree climbing is impossible with out a lanyard. This is a bold statement considering I didn’t start using a lanyard until 2014. The fact is that although I didn’t use a “lanyard” I still brought slings with me into the canopy and girth hitched them to the tree as a temporary anchor while I advanced my climbing line. This was cheap and worked well with my transition from the rock climbing world since my harness did not have lanyard attachment points (just a traditional belay loop).

But dealing with girth hitches is a time-consuming process because I always had to tie knots to extend or shorten my slings. I wanted to become a faster tree climber so I explored the realm of lanyards with my new harness. In my research I learnded the following:

-Six feet is a short lanyard. (Doesnt work on some big trees)
-Twenty five feet is a long lanyard. (Too much excess rope)
-Ten to twelve feet is average.

-Trango Cinch is the best way to adjust a lanyard (heavy & expensive)
-Prusik and micro pully works very good for lanyard adjustment and is cheap
-A mini ascender is the lightest adjustment option

The pictures below show two standard types of lanyards. The first is adjusted with a prusik and a pully directly behind it. The pulley allows for one-handed tightening of the lanyard because the pully will tend the prusik as rope is pulled through it.

The second option is to adjust your lanyard with a Petzl GriGri or Trango Cinch. This option allows you to extend your lanyard even with all of your weight on the rope. I don’t find this to be neccesary as a recreational climber.

The third option and my favored option is to use a WildCountry Rope Man to adjust your rope. It is very light and low bulk. I do not yet have a picture of this.

Organizing the extra slack is something that I am still trying to find the best solution for. If you have any ideas let me know!



Budget RADS

My current RADS (Rapid Ascent and Descent System) consists of $250 worth of gear. If I were a new tree climber that price would definitely be a deterrent. Check out this gear list and see if it fits your budget:

Budget RADS with ATC Guide

ATC Guide – $25 (or buy it used on ebay for super cheap)
Prusik loop – $1?
Sling for foot loop – $4
Sling for backup cord – $4
Three locking biners – $20
Two wire gate biners – $10?
A >4″ screw driver with handle – ?

Total = not much since you already have most of that crap anyways.

I know what you are thinking, “Why can’t I just use two prusik loops”? It is possible to ascend your climbing line with a set of prusiks but there is really no safe way to play in the canopy unless you are able to ascend and descend quickly. You can not descend quickly with prusik loops. Trust me, using a RADS setup like this is SO MUCH more enjoyable and efficient than pretty much any technique you have learned from your rock climbing days. To see a video of this setup in action check out the following link: https://treefool.com/2014/06/09/a-quick-lesson-on-branch-isolation/

1. Clip the ATC guide to your belay loop with a locker through the “guide mode” hole.
2. Clip the rope through the atc with a second locker. The rope leading into the canopy is positioned closest to the “guide mode” hole. Your atc will now automatically lock as you pull rope through it.
3. Tie a small cord through the smaller hole on the atc (not pictured). You pull this cord when you want to descend.
4. Tie a prusik knot with a 7-8mm cord above atc (I use a klemhiest knot)
5. Clip foot loop into cord.
6. Girth hitch a runner or PAS onto your harness.
7. Clip this runner/PAS into your prusik cord as a backup should your ATC fail.
8. Clip a third biner into the prusik cord.
9. Clip the trailing end of the rope through this biner so that you can pull rope through your atc by pulling down vs pulling up.
10. Sit back in your harness and move up the prusik cord. Stand up in your footloop and simultaneously pull down on the tail end.
11. Repeat.
12. To descend simple place your screwdriver into the small hole at the front of your atc and push (or pull depending on how you clipped it to your harness) until rope starts feeding through. This requires a little bit of muscle and you should never attempt this without having your other hand holding the “brake side” of the rope.


After playing with this setup for a few hours I realized that it is not beginner friendly. Even though I have been using an ATC Guide for many years I still had trouble controlling my descents. Make sure you practice ALOT with this set up before you climb higher than 10 feet. In the video linked above I used a dyneema sling girth hitched through the small hole instead of a screwdriver. I then clipped my foot loop into the sling and used my leg to control the descent speed. Like this:

The reason why I found this to NOT be beginner friendly is if you descend too fast and stop quickly the rope will get squeezed into the ATC so hard that you will not be able to descend. If this happens you better have the muscle AND brains to get your rope unstuck. A safer option is to use a screw driver in the hole which gives much better leverage and a much more controlled descent, like this:

If you are using a screwdriver and drop it you can use a locking carabiner instead of a screwdriver but this will not give you as much leverage. Using a screwdriver is relatively safer. Using a sling is relatively lighter. BOTH are VERY DIFFICULT TO USE. Practice, practice, practice, educate yourself, and practice some more before using this at dangerous heights.

Update! Here is a video made by Chasing Cornfields which gives a fantastic solution to the “jumpy” descents when using an ATC Guide.



Traditional RADS

This is the system that I use for all of my big climbs. I love it. Maybe I love it too much because I have not committed much time to learning other ascension systems such as the rope wrench or DRT techniques. This setup is definitely pricier:

Petzl Ascension: $75
2 x Auto Locking Biners: $30
1 x Oval Biner: $7
P.A.S. (personal anchor system): $32
Footloop: $10 (I made mine because I wanted an adjustable one)

TOTAL: $254

Luckily for me I had accumulated most of this stuff over many years of rock climbing. The GriGri is most important. Nothing compares to the ascending and descending capabilities of this type of device (a cheaper option for the GriGri is a Trango Cinch). A prusik loop can be supplemented for the handled ascender and a piece of webbing can replace the P.A.S. These things just make climbing much more efficient. Here is the technique (which can be seen in the video under the Throw Lines topic):

1. Thread climbing line into GriGri
2. Use autolocking biner to attach GriGri to harness
3. Double check that rope is threaded through GriGri in the right direction by pulling UP on the rope leading up to the anchor in the tree. If you did it correctly the GriGri will auto lock and you can not pull any rope up through it
4. Attach your ascender above the GriGri
5. Place an oval biner in the top hole of the ascender to keep the rope running safely through the ascender
6. Relative to the GriGri, grab the brake side of the rope and clip it through the oval biner on your ascender (this gives great leverage for pulling rope through the GriGri as you ascend)
7. Attach the P.A.S. to your harness
8. Attach the P.A.S. to the bottom of your ascender (this is for redundancy/safety purposes in case your GriGri fails)
9. Attach your foot loop to the bottom of the ascender
10. Sit back in your harness (your GriGri should lock off and be holding you on the rope)
11. Slide your ascender up the rope almost as high as you can reach
12. Simultaneously step up in your foot loop as you pull down on the tail end of your rope, this will pull rope through the GriGri and place it higher up your climbing line
13. Sit back in your harness and start over at #10 again



Rope Wrench (YoYo)

Under Construction ( rope wrench yoyo diagram )

Rope Wrench YoYo jpg



Rope Wrench (Rope Walker)

Under Construction ( rope wrench rope walker diagram )


Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. If you attempt any of this you will be severely injured or die.

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81 thoughts on “–climbing gear & techniques

  1. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve
    really loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I am glad you are enjoying my blog. I am very overdue for an adventure into the tree canopy so I too am hoping that I get a new post up soon!

  2. Hey treefool, I was inspired by your blog to start playing in trees and just got my first static rope(I already had all the other stuff). I just spent the day trying out the budget RADS in a big fir tree near where I live. I found it pretty difficult to control the descent using both the screwdriver and the foot loop methods. The foot loop method was smoother but when there’s a ton of branches to maneuver through it’s nice to have your feet free to help position yourself. With both methods it was difficult to simultaneously tend the backup prusik(or do you just undo this?). I ended up just switching the ATC out of guide mode at the top of the tree where I could sit on a branch and rappelled like I normally would using a 3rd hand backup prusik. This isn’t ideal though because you have to unload the ATC to switch modes. I’m interested in the grigri. I’m curious how you descend with the petzl grigri/ascender setup. Do you just use your ATC or does the grigri have a rappel function?

    1. When descending with the ATC in guide mode you do not need a prusik back up. Allow me to make a comparison: When you rappelled out of the tree using the ATC traditional style your hand was the first form of brake (stopping the descent) and the prusik was the backup brake. When using the ATC in guide mode the autolock feature is the first form of brake and your hand is the backup brake. So get rid of the prusik when in guide mode and it will be much smoother. However, in the future make sure to sling yourself to a branch before switching the ATC from guide mode to classic mode (maybe you did this but I just wanted to make sure). To answer your second question the grigri does it all: you can easily take up slack, feed out rope, belay a partner, belay yourself, rappel on a single line, and many other things. I love the grigri, descending with it is smooth and effortless.

      1. Thanks for the response, I did anchor myself at the top while I switched the ATC over. Most of my climbing experience is on glaciers and rocks and I used to work for an arborist doing ground support for the climbers. Never used a grigri though. Is the Trango cinch just as good as the grigri or should I shell out the extra $ for a petzl?

      2. Sorry for the late reply, I must have missed this when you originally posted it. I have never used or even held a Trango Cinch but I want one! Supposedly they feed rope much easier and are more compact. I chose the GriGri because it is the standard for rope soloing in the rock climbing realm and supposedly there has never been a single report of a GriGri failing to hold a fall. I bought a GriGri over the Trango Cinch because the Cinch hasn’t been tested in countless scenarios as much as the GriGri has. Plus I heard the Cinch is “weird” to get used to. I personally don’t see why the Cinch wouldn’t work just as well as a GriGri. A lot of tree climbers use the Cinch on their lanyard to easily adjust the length. Sorry I don’t have a more definitive answer for you.

  3. What harness are you using that has the side lanyard attachment points? Ones I’ve been see are bulky and are quite expensive.. Was hoping there is a cheaper option

    1. Will, it is a product that I created which converts a rock harness into a tree harness. It is VERY simple and cheap to make so hopefully I will finish the tutorial within the next month.

  4. What kind of rope do you use? (thickness/material) Just wondering because I’m on a pretty tight budget and wanted to know what you’d recommend.

    1. My first arborist rope was 11mm PMI EZ bend (nylon). It really depends on what kind of ascenders you plan to use. If you are using a rope wrench with hitch cords a thicker rope (11mm-13mm) is a MUST. If you are using a grigri and ascenders you get can away with a much skinnier rope (10mm). You can save a lot of money by simply purchasing a shorter rope. However, if you already own a dynamic climbing rope just use that because this is just recreational climbing and efficiency is not a high priority. I recommend going no shorter than 100 feet for your first rope, this will allow you to climb most trees and only becomes a pain when tying ground anchors (rope goes from you, up over branch, and back down to be anchored at the base of the tree). My favorite rope right now is a 9mm, 150′, Sterling HTP static line but this is NOT recommended for beginners as it will easily slide through a device and send you into a freefall if used incorrectly.

  5. What harness do you have for your treeclimbs with a lanyard, it looks like you didn’t buy a new one but changed your “old” one.

    1. You are correct! I have been putting off making a tutorial for the past month now but basically it is a piece of webbing intertwinded in my “old” harness with rappel links tied to it for lanyard attachment points.

  6. Very interested in using the set up which includes the atc guide, as a safety device while deer hunting 30 feet up in an oak or white pine. I saw that you mentioned tree camping…can you explain how this works and what gear is needed to make it happen.
    Thanks again for a great site!

  7. Hi,
    I’ve known your Site for some time now and I really like it! I don’t have much money, but finally I have now my own climbing gear. I just have two more questions:
    1. Where did you buy your trow-line-cube? I’m now using a bucked, but that isn’t really lightweight and portable
    2. Where did you buy your P.A.S. I want to have one for my future tree-camps

    1. Yes, I bought the cube at a Walmart in the laundry section. It is considered a collapsible laundry bin. But most of the time now I just use a square piece of nylon layed flat on the ground because it packs down much smaller. You can buy a P.A.S. at pretty much any online climbing store. It is called the metolius PAS.

  8. Hey Logan,
    I was curious, my harness is designed without the eyelets that make anchor points for a lanyard. What are your thoughts on doing something very similar to the first set up but locking it all to a belay loop. I know having those eyelets lets you use less rope and helps keep you positioned better, but is there any reason it would be unsafe all going through the loop?

    1. Nope. The belay loop is bomber. I use the lanyard attachments on the sides (traditional treeclimbing location for them) because it keeps everything organized and I can rotate my body toward the lanyard while the belay loop is being pulled in another direction. In the past I clipped everything into the belay loop but it can be very difficult to unclip specific carabiners when they are all squished together on a small loop. Another option is to girth hitch a short sewn-sling through the same holes that your belay loop goes through. This will essentially give you two belay loops and make organization much easier.

  9. hi treefool,

    Was just re-reading this page and enjoyed seeing some rope wrench slip in with the RADS.

    For lanyard management, check out scuba clips – cheap and effective, though check they’ll work on narrow 9mm line. They have 2 or 3 hose capacity. I’d suggest the 3-hose clips for a 5m lanyard. There’s a thread on it on that tree site with all the buzz.

    cheers and thanks for the great tree camp adventure videos – they are world famous at my place

    1. Thank you! My lanyard management ideas suck. They look good in photos but when I actually use them in a tree they fall short. I am gonna check out the “scuba clips”. And thank you for the compliments too!

  10. Hi I have some questions about gear and tree camping so I was wondering if you could send me and email so we could talk

  11. Hi Logan,
    For the second lanyard option, where you adjust your lanyard with a petzl grigri, I assume you use the same grigri that you use while ascending with your preferred RAD system, right? If so, do you just use the PAS attachment to your ascender on the main line while you switch over the grigri to the lanyard? Do you do the same thing when switching back to the main line from the lanyard?

    Thanks for all of the amazing videos by the way! I just did my first climb today and it was amazing!

    1. Glad to hear you are climbing safely! Actually, the grigri on the lanyard would be stand alone (so you would need two if you were using a grigri for your RADS setup). Your idea would work great but the reason why arborists use a grigri (actually, they usually use the Trango Cinch) on their lanyards is for speed and efficiency. Loosening and tightening your lanyard as you move through the canopy on your main climbing line is paramount for efficient arborist work. An arborist couldn’t be efficient if they had to move the grigri back and forth from the main climbing line to the lanyard everytime they stopped.

      1. Hey logan,
        Thanks for the advice! I think im just gonna use one grigri the way I described above since Im tight on budget and it seems like the safest way.

        Also, was wondering whether you use static or dynamic rope for your lanyard. I was thinking dynamic would be the most logical. Is that what you use?


      2. Nope, static rope. For such a small section of rope I can’t imagine it would make much difference either way though. The only reason why I use static is I don’t know where to buy a dynamic rope in small increments.

  12. Hi Logan,
    Thanks for all your informational posts and informative videos! I am just getting started with tree gear and today was the first time I tried ascending and descending using your traditional RAD setup. It really worked great and I gained a fair amount of confidence using this on a large maple tree in my backyard. I have a little experience ice climbing with some friends who have done some large scale mountaineering ascents. I’m looking forward to getting better acquainted with tree climbing and maybe even some tree camping in the near future. I found that I do need to modify my foot loop attachment by using some webbing between my ascender and the foot loop. The carabiners from the foot loop and PAS attached directly to the ascender have a tendency to bunch up and interact with the Grigri. Thanks again and I’m looking forward to your future posts!

      1. Logan what are you thoughts? I understand that you use the PAS to backup the ascension; however, when you are switching from ascension to repel is there a technique for backing up the Grigri? Thanks!

      2. The backup to your grigri is your brake hand. When rappelling you want two forms of stopping power. #1 is the autolocking mechanism of the grigri. If that should fail, #2 is pulling the brake-side of the rope down (which creates a ton of friction) and will stop you.


  13. Hey treefool. I wanted to get into tree climbing and found the cornell videos before yours. I got everything to do a texas kick style ascension and it is extremely hard to switch from ascending to rappel. Should I switch to a rad system? Is the texas kick even a worthwhile endeavor for effective climbing? And if I do switch to a rad I would need a grigri. Have any recommendations on websites that sell used or discounted gear?

    1. Noah thank you for telling me about those videos as I haven’t seen them yet. I thought the texas kick was a rope walking system but it looks like it fits somewhere in between a RADS and Ropewalker as far as speed goes. I haven’t tried it myself so I can not speak about whether the switch to a RADS setup would be worth it or not but you should keep an eye on ebay.com, geartrade.com, and the “for sale” forums on Mountain Project.

      I use a RADS because it quickly switches from ascend to descend and since I do a lot of up and down climbing for my videos it is the fastest. Your style of climbing may have different needs than mine.

    1. Ok man, haha. You have proven to me that you really want to know how I made it. I will try my best to make a short video within the next two weeks. Come on over to VerticalCamping.com if you have more questions.

  14. Hey

    This site has been invaluable in helping me decide on what gear to get. I’ve also watched a bunch of your YouTube videos. Anyway, I’m new to the sport and want to jump in; however, I do have one question. I would like to do the SRT / RADs method but I would also like to do multi-pitch climbing utilizing that method. Is this possible? If so, does the gear requirement differ from what you have listed on the “Traditional RADs” setup? I’ve posted the same question in much more detail on the VerticalCamping forum http://verticalcamping.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=94

    1. Yup. I don’t have a strong throwing arm or a Big Shot to get the line up high into the canopy so most of my tree climbs by default are multipitch. I don’t see any reason why using a RADS system would prevent you from advancing your line on a multipitch climb.

  15. Hi Logan. I really want to get into tree climbing but my parents want me to learn via face to face not by video. So could you Please Please Please shoot me an email????

    1. Hey Thomas, go join the forums at “verticalcamping.com”. I would be happy to talk to you through private messaging at that website since I no longer use my private email for tree camping stuff.



  16. Is there any reason I’m not thinking of to avoid webbing as a lanyard? I didn’t buy a whole lot of static rope and would prefer not to cut off a section as was my plan originally.

  17. Have you since bought a tango cinch or do you just have your grigri. And also do you have a gri gir 2 or just a grigri.

  18. Have enjoyed reading your how to guides and videos. Have been climbing with a couple of guys using a similiar system. They use a d4 though, but the gri gri is cheaper. Have done my own set up and gone up a couple of trees now in the search of geo caches hidden in trees. Great fun. I am in Australia.

  19. Hi Logan,

    I really enjoy watching your videos and they’re very helpful, I was wondering how the lanyard keeps you from falling without shock loading the system by catching on a limb? Or is the lanyard supposed to catch on the tree bark before you fall far enough to shock load the lanyard? Also is the RAD setup applicable for left handed uses?

    1. The rad setup is good for right handers or left handers. I personally switch back and forth throughout the climb to equally train my arms. Your lanyard should be taught over the limb so that you do not shockload it. If you are using a girth-hitch (or any scenario where your lanyard cinches) on the main trunk you do not have to worry as much about it being snug against a limb because the friction should hold the lanyard in place (a lot of variables could make this statement untrue) or at the very least slow it down so that you are not shockloading against the limb.

  20. hey Logan- I am a long time rock climber, caver, and arborist….Love the vertical world. I have found your site a great resource to help me instruct others who have no experience in their quest to go vertical. I would definitely recommend the Cornell videos also…they are good for tips on systems that make it safe/easy to teach others. Tonight I am sleeping in a large Oak in my backyard using the Gander Mountain portoledge you featured. I will give you my feedback tomorrow. Thanks for all the inspiration.. Vaya Con Dios

  21. I’ve got some redwoods on my property that I’d like to climb. I’ve got all the gear for your setups… I just wonder how people typically anchor to a redwood, given that the branches are usually sort of small. One big trunk going up, and then singular branches extending out. Any rule of thumb for branch thickness, or how to secure the rope over them for that type of tree?

    1. I don’t have Redwoods over here in MN (darnet!) so I can’t give you any safety tips. I would check out the treebuzz forums as there are a lot of redwood climbers on that board.

  22. Have you ever considered using a petzl grillion as a lanyard adjuster over the gri gri or a climb hitch. The grillion hasn’t got a sprung cam there for making it grasp under lower pressure and hold better then a gri gri with the static load.

    1. I have never used the grillon before. I personally never had any problems with the grigri not-locking off. In fact, it is usually the opposite, it locks off too damn easy when I am feeding out rope while limb walking. But having more safety is never a bad thing so why not give it a try???

  23. Hi there from Scotland, brand new to this sport, so new in fact that i am just researching at the moment and getting gear together. I did buy an ATC, i see in your RADS system you talk about a guide, i didnt get the guide version, how would you adjust the system ? Also i have a large webbing loop for a lanyard, i was thinking to girth hitch it round the loop below and above the beley loop and then round tree and carabiner on the other end back to the same spot ? but then i saw a comment about falling and wondered is it better just to put the webbing round the tree and girth hitch to harness incase of a slip and it would grip the tree? many thanks.

    1. Hey!

      Sorry but I can’t think of any way to use a standard ATC for rope ascension since there is no auto-block capabilities. You could possibly make something work by incorporating a friction hitch into your system but I fear this would be so terribly inefficient that climbing with a blake’s hitch on an 11 or 12 mm rope would likely be a cheaper and better option.

      1. If you have come from abseiling and rock climbing and have a figure 8 defender you can rig that as an auto block by clipping the big hole to your harness and then rigging the rope with a 180 twist in the bite of rope before looping it over the neck of the device. Just make sure the brake end is up the top when you thread it. Also you have to pull the rope up from the figure 8 and it has to be down to lock. You can’t have the top re derection or else it won’t lock

  24. I am wondering tree fool if when you started you went straight to the gri gri and a asender or you used the ATC Guide and a prussic loop.
    Also have you ever used a backmen knot to assend.

    1. I started with a grigri and ascender. I didn’t think about using an ATC guide until I invited my wife to climb with me and I didn’t have two grigri’s.

  25. Hey there treefool
    I wanted to thank you for the insperation.
    Since my son, 5 at the time, was a bit scared of heights, we started to abseil at the playground. We live in the northern part of Germany, so its all flat here. We needed more height for linger abseils, so I googled and found your blog. I find it cool. I am now experimenting a bit. Instead of a grigri 2 I bought a camp matik. I have done this because of the anti panic function. I was worried for my son that is now 6. Its a bit big but works out fine. Once we look a bit better in the ropes I could drop you a photo or so, that is if you are interested.
    Regards from Germany

  26. hi treefool
    first off thanks for everything you’ve done on this website its very helpful and has opened up a whole new world to my rope stuff, could I email you some questions regarding my harness setup and safety stuff

    1. Hey Casey. I have been directing everyone to Treebuzz.com because that forum has a lot of experts who can judge your safety tactics much better than I can. I may climb a lot but I am from from an expert. Go post up your question on the treebuzz forums and you will have a bunch of fantastic feedback from guys who are in the trees every day.

      1. thanks logan I will do I just did to my harness what you did on that tutorial but instead of using webbing I used some of my climbing rope I had extra of its working pretty well for me thanks for the reply

  27. Thanks for putting the photos back up. Have you done much more trials with the rope wrench or other sort techniques or are you content with the rad system.

    1. I am content with the rad system for what I do (80% hiking or riding & 20% climbing). If I was going to rec climb in the redwoods or become an arborist I would by a roperunner and knee ascender. But since I am carrying my stuff most of the time I prefer having a skinny 9mm rope with a super light system so that I can hike further and find cooler trees.

  28. Im just starting out in tree climbing and camping I’ve had multiple experiences with tree climbing with ropes as I help with an arborist I was wondering what would be a budget friendly method of ascending and descending a tree as I’m interested in trying hammock camping and also I want to use it for my photography already have static rope 10mm 30 meters and a harness so its just the gear left budget isn’t a huge issue I just don’t want to be breaking the bank.
    Many thanks

    1. A grigri and hand ascender will quickly set you up with a rads system. That is what I use because it is cheap and reliable. But it is very slow relative to most modern arborist techniques.

  29. Hi, I see you have a backup while ascending with the GriGri (tying into the ascender). Do I need a backup for the GriGri while repelling?

    1. That is your call man! I don’t think it is necessary because The grigri has an auto break and your hand on the rope is the backup but some people disagree with me.

  30. I am new to climbing and am ascending trees with an edelrid mega jul sport along with hand ascender and foot loop. It is very hard to pull out slack at times. I often need to pull the mega jul up of the carabineer just to pull the slack. Lots of wasted energy. Could my cheap 10mm rope be making it too hard? Or my carabineer gripping to hard? I suppose I could get an edelrid hms carabiner to try. I’m using Black diamond positron currently. Maybe I’ll just try a grigri but I’d like to just use what I have if I can. Thanks

    1. That positron carabiner definitely isn’t helping. Get the fattest and most round carabiner you can find to make the mega jul work. OR! Save that money and instead by a grigri. A grigri will make climbing much more enjoyable and safer (but a bigger carabiner will only give you a small improvement and you will likely still waste a lot of energy).

  31. Hello!
    I want to get into tree climbing more, but I bought the wrong rope, a dynamic one… and no, I sadly can’t return it.
    I’m planning on climbing mostly double rope, with a prusik as hitch.
    Do you think there is any danger for me, climbing a dynamic rope?
    I saw something online about dynamic ropes building up more friction, is this something to worry about as well considering I use double rope technique without a friction saver?

    I love your videos and I would love to go tree camping as well, but I’m scared to get caught.
    Thanks for your help!

  32. Hey! Your site is awesome and is helping me a lot! I have a question. Where do you get your locking biners? On your budget RAD system you put 3 biners for $20 and I can’t find that good of a deal anywhere.

    Thank you, Alec.

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