How to climb trees with harness

How to Climb Trees With Ropes and Harnesses

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. How we test gear.

Arborists armed with chainsaws and climbing gear are always busy cleaning up from the last storm or trying to prevent the next blackout. Recreational climbers can use the same skills and equipment.

By Jerry Beilinson

Media Platforms Design Team

Arborists armed with chainsaws and climbing gear are always busy cleaning up from the last storm or trying to prevent the next blackout. Recreational climbers can use the same skills and equipment.

Media Platforms Design Team

1 of 9

How to Climb Trees With Ropes and Harnesses

Tree climbing, the sport, is an extension of tree climbing, the job, and both have been growing in popularity in recent years.

Tchukki Andersen, an arborist with a trade group called the Tree Care Industry Association, says that demand for pros who can climb and maintain trees began to increase after the Northeast blackout of 2003, which started when trees near Cleveland touched high-voltage power lines and ultimately affected 55 million people. In the aftermath government agencies required utilities to spend more to keep their lines clear. Since then a steady sequence of hurricanes, tornadoes, and ice storms have kept up the pressure on utilities and created ongoing work for arborists. "We just seem to be more inundated with more frequent and intense storms these days," Andersen says.

As the need for tree climbers has grown, the gear has improved. And a growing number of companies are teaching the necessary skills, including Tree Climbers International, in Atlanta, Georgia; a national group called North American Training Solutions; and the New England Tree Climbing Association. Gary Gross, one of the founders of the New England group, is a 59-year-old Vietnam veteran and former engineer for Pratt & Whitney. "There's so much work for arborists that they can't keep up," he says, "and it's really not that complicated to learn."

This summer I headed to Manchester, Conn., where I joined a recreational climber and two arborists for a weekend course with Gross. As a sport, tree climbing seemed easier and safer to learn than rock climbing. And the skills could even have a payoff down the road, according to Andersen. "We'll put recreational climbers to work," he says. "They have quite a bit of the training a tree care company is looking for. And the industry pays well."

Here's what we learned, and some of the gear we used, in Gary Gross's backyard. The following overview isn't enough to get a climber started, though—to learn the sport safely, hands-on instruction is vital.

Media Platforms Design Team

2 of 9

Static Climbing Rope

Tree climbers use "static" ropes, which lack the stretchiness of "dynamic" ropes used to arrest falls in rock climbing. This Yale Poison Ivy rope is 11. 7 mm in diameter and has a rated tensile strength of 6500 pounds. The Blake's Hitch seen in this photo is the central friction hitch in tree climbing. The hitch can move up and down the rope, but if the climber simply lets go, the hitch locks in place.

Media Platforms Design Team

3 of 9

Harness and Helmet

Tree climbers typically use helmets designed for rock climbing, like this one made by Petzl. The harnesses are quite different, though. A tree climber sits in the harness throughout the entire session, so pros use comfortable models with wide webbing and substantial padding. The typical spare, lightweight rock harness would quickly cut circulation to the legs of an arborist and become very uncomfortable.

Media Platforms Design Team

4 of 9

Prusik Knot

The Prusik attaches a loop (the white cord in this photo) to the climbing rope, providing a tool to help the climber ascend. You stand up in the loop, then advance the Blake's Hitch, which is attached to your harness with a carabiner. Then, with your weight on the harness, you reach down and slide the Prusik cord farther up the rope. Stand up on it, and repeat. Seasoned climbers dispense with the Prusik, often climbing with a technique called footlocking that secures the rope between the climber's boots.

Media Platforms Design Team

5 of 9

Foot Ascender

This is one of tree climbing's optional gadgets, which some people use in place of a Prusik cord. The device attaches to your foot and to the rope. It will allow the rope to slide through in only one direction: Raise your foot, and the device advances upwards; stand up on it and the device locks in place. (The climber needs to remove the rope from the device before descending.)

Media Platforms Design Team

6 of 9


The Unicender can replace the Blake's Hitch, along with some other pieces of hardware. In doubled-rope technique (DRT), each side of the rope carries one-half the climber's weight, and the same is true of the Blake's Hitch: If you weigh 160 pounds, the Blake's Hitch only receives 80 pounds, allowing the climber to slide it down the rope for the descent. In single-rope technique (SRT), all of your weight is on the same side of the climbing rope, and a Blake's Hitch locks too tightly to slide downward. For that reason, single-rope technique typically requires the climber to ascend using one piece of equipment, and then change over and descend using a second piece of equipment, a belay device.

The Unicender changes that: It can be used to ascend and descend in either DRT or SRT and makes climbing faster, more convenient, and potentially safer. Why doesn't everyone use it? Could be the $300 price tag.

Media Platforms Design Team

7 of 9

Throw Rope

To get a climbing rope over a branch, you first toss a lightweight, slippery line attached to a weight. Then you tie the climbing rope to the throw rope and pull it across the limb. It probably looks cooler to overhand the weight into the canopy, but the toss shown in this photo, which involves swinging the line and weight underhand like a pendulum, is more accurate and more powerful.

Media Platforms Design Team

8 of 9

Big Shot Sling Shot

If the target branch is very high, getting a throw line over it can be an exercise in frustration—or just plain impossible. The Big Shot combines rubber, metal, and an 8-foot pole; a branch has to be pretty darned high to thwart it. (Got a Sequoia on your hands? A crossbow might be more appropriate.)

Media Platforms Design Team

9 of 9

Cambium Protectors

There are several styles, but they all do the same thing: protect tree branches from friction, while helping climbing ropes last longer. The leather model is traditional, but the metal one, which looks like conduit, is more convenient.

PM Visits America's Biggest Fireworks Festival

New to Tree Climbing? Here's the 7 key items of gear you need to get s


A question I get asked almost daily is "Do you have a "starter kit" mate?"  When I dig deeper and ask some qualifying questions I found that for a few it's about the perceived value of bundled gear, but for most, it's because they are totally new to climbing and don't actually know what they need.  And that's ok.  We all started somewhere.

Tree climbing offers endless possible combinations of equipment used to create many varied systems and techniques for climbing trees.  

The thing is, you really need to know what Technique you are going to use first.  Only after that can you know what gear you need!  

For the point of this article, we're going to start with Doubled Rope Technique, or DdRT for short. It is generally considered the most basic technique and where most climbers start out.  From there you can add extra equipment to improve on its efficiency, or progress to other more advanced techniques including Single Rope Technique.

So how do you know what gear you need in a DdRT "starter kit"? 

I've resisted offering a "starter kit" at Treegear for a long time....  Reason being I don't believe it offers a new climber the best value in the long term.  Usually starter kits bundle the bare basic lowest grade gear with low price being the driver.

It might seem like a quick solution to you, and a quick easy sale for the vendor, but it's false economy.  As soon as you get an understanding of what you're doing I promise you'll either want to replace half of it, or realise you didn't need half of it.  And I don't want to be the guy you're cursing for selling you a useless pile of gear... I wanna be the guy you appreciate for helping you put together the best kit for you that will serve you long term. A kit that is a solid foundation that you can expand on over time.

Here is a list of the 7 basic minimum items needed to climb trees professionally & safely.  *Note this list does not include Personal Protective Equipment. Your PPE needs will vary, but consider Helmet, Eye/Ear Protection, Chainsaw Protection Trousers & Boots.

Each item type has a link to a range of products that suit where you can browse the options and choose the one that appeals most based on features or budget.  There is no right or wrong within each, just different.  And all the products are professional grade gear.  There is no cheap handyman grade stuff here like what you might find in "kits". 

  1. Harness:  We recommend only those designed specifically for tree work. Tree climbing harnesses have many unique features that at first may not be apparent.  They are designed for "Work Positioning" and are sometimes called a "Sit Harness"  They are very different to recreation/rock climbing harnesses or fall arrest harnesses.  They have a low central main attachment point, usually referred to as a "bridge" and importantly they include side "D" rings for Flipline/Lanyard attachment. View our range here: Harnesses 
  2. Flipline/Lanyard/Polestrap: The flipline, lanyard or pole strap (all the same thing) attach to one side D ring of the harness and is used to position yourself securely by placing it around the tree, and then clipping in to the opposite side D ring.  It is a key part of climbing on spurs, and in addition to your Climbing Rope, is also required to both hold you in position, and offer a secondary form of attachment whilst making a cut.  View our range here: Fliplines/Lanyards
  3. Flipline/Lanyard Adjuster: Unless included as part of a complete Lanyard System, you will need an Adjuster for your Flipline or Lanyard.  This is used to lengthen or shorten your lanyard to fine tune your work positioning.  View our range here: Flipline/Lanyard Adjusters 
  4. Climbing Rope: The ropes we offer are specifically designed for Tree Climbing and approved by their manufacturers for such use.  Rock climbing ropes or other random ropes are NOT suitable and will behave very differently when used outside the intended use.  A Climbing Rope is often referred to as your "LifeLine"...and should be thought of as exactly that!  Your life as you know it may well depend on it!  There is no set depends on the size of the trees you plan to work in.  Generally, you will need a length double the height of the tree, but this varies with different climbing techniques.  Common lengths people go for seem to be 35m, 45m, 50m or 60m.  Or by the meter you can choose any length you like.  View our range here: Climbing Ropes
  5. Prusik: The Prusik is a friction hitch.  It is used to adjust your position on the Climbing Rope, effectively allowing you to ascend or descend the tree.  At the bare minimum, it can be tied out of one end of your climbing line, but most commonly it is a seperate short length of specialist cord with high heat resistance.  The friction when descending creates a lot of heat concentrated in one place which can melt through normal cord.  It is sold either by the meter here- Prusk Cord, in loops or with eye terminations here - Prusik Loops, or there are also devices designed as alternatives to cordage here - Mechanical Prusiks.
  6. Carabiners:  For climbing, we recommend Triple Action, Auto Locking Carabiners. ..or Karabiners to some.  They can be Alloy or Steel, though most use alloy for climbing and save steel for rigging use.  These are used to create secure connections between the above climbing rope, prusik and lanyard to your harness.  You will need at bare minimum 2, but it wise to have at least 4 or more. See our range here: Alloy Locking Carabiners or Steel Locking Carabiners *Note: There are also some Screw-Locking Carabiners in the Steel section.  It used to be considered OK years ago, but Industry Standards currently don't recommend their use.
  7. Spurs/Spikes:  Spurs are used to position yourself on the trunk or limbs where there is no natural foot-hold.  They allow you, with the aid of a Flipline & Harness, to "walk" up the trunk of a tree. If you at all care about the trees you are working on, good practice says they should only be used during tree removals, NOT pruning!  See our range here: Spurs/Spikes

That's about it for the basics.  With the above "Kit" you can access, move around, and position yourself within the canopy.  

By combining your preferred choice within each of the above items you can build a "kit" that will have you up in the canopy safely in no time.  I'll warn you it's not a "cheap" kit - and that's a good thing!  This is professional grade gear even the best Arborists would be happy to use, not the lowest cost collection of stuff we could get away with selling as a kit to unsuspecting newbies!  The is no value in a bargain kit if you have to replace most of it a month later!

It is also highly recommended you grab a copy of The Tree Climbers Companion.  This handy illustrated guidebook will help give you an understanding of basic to advanced tree climbing techniques, and how all the above gear works together as a system.

Beyond here, there is an almost never-ending array of of tools that will make the whole process safer, more efficient, more comfortable - and therefore loads more fun!

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

How to make and equip a terrarium for lizards

Today, many families have exotic animals at home. Quite common inhabitants of home terrariums are lizards. They are unpretentious and do not require special conditions of detention, but still the owner will have to work a little on the proper arrangement of the terrarium, taking into account a number of important criteria.

In the article we will tell you what to look for when choosing and equipping terrariums for lizards, how and from what you can make a terrarium with your own hands, where it is better to put it, how to properly clean it.

What should be the terrarium for a lizard? An ordinary aquarium for fish is not suitable, as it does not have good ventilation.


The size of the terrarium should be the size of an adult lizard. The optimal ratio of length, width and height of the structure is 2:1:1.

Terrarium sizes depending on the type of lizard:

1. If your pet is used to climbing high trees in the natural environment, the terrarium will have to be equipped with appropriate vegetation, which means that preference should be given to terrariums whose height is twice the length.

2. For a one-meter-long iguana, a spacious structure 1 m deep must be selected, and the height and width must be at least 2 meters.

3. The minimum size of a chameleon terrarium is 1.3:0.6:1.3 m. If the terrarium is purchased to keep 2 pets, the size of the structure should be twice as large.


Terrariums come in different shapes: cubic, horizontal, vertical.

Vertical structures are more suitable for tree and mountain lizards.

The horizontal terrarium provides a cozy home for amphibious reptiles and open-air lizards.

Cubic constructions are optimal for lizards living in the depth of the earth.


Terrariums are made of plastic, glass and plexiglass.

Plexiglas has the highest strength index. Such a "house" will last a long time. Conventional glass structures are too fragile and therefore not very reliable. Plastic also has some drawbacks: the material quickly loses its transparency, and scratches from the sharp claws of the pet remain on the walls of the terrarium.

How to make a DIY lizard terrarium

Many pet reptile owners prefer to make their own pet terrarium. It can be made from ordinary glass, organic acrylic glass or plastic.

Work steps:

1. Fabrication of the frame. With the help of a special silicone adhesive that is safe for animals, the walls and bottom of the structure are connected.

2. Ventilation holes are made on the walls at different heights.

3. Thick plywood can be used as the floor.

4. The lid can be made from metal mesh.

How to equip a terrarium for a lizard

A ready-made terrarium for a lizard must be properly equipped, taking into account the natural features of the domestic reptile.


For the normal life of the lizard, it is necessary to create good lighting, which will be ultraviolet radiation. You can use a special UV lamp. This is very important, because due to the lack of ultraviolet radiation in lizards, degradation of the bone skeleton occurs, and the fragility of the shell of eggs laid by females also increases.


In the terrarium, it is necessary to create a comfortable microclimate for the life of the domestic reptile. To maintain the required temperature, heating lamps with safety nets are used to prevent burns to the animal.

The optimum air temperature in the terrarium during the day is +20-25 0 , at night the temperature can be reduced to +18 0 .

Instead of a heat lamp, you can use a heat mat, heat stone or heat cord. These accessories are sold in specialized pet supply stores.

Humidity and ventilation

The terrarium must have ventilation holes in the walls and maintain the optimum level of humidity, taking into account the type of reptile.

The optimum humidity in the terrarium is 70-90%.

Tropical lizards require a high level of humidity. You can create such conditions in the terrarium by spraying the internal elements daily. Inside, you can also install a small pool where the lizard can swim.

In the dwelling of a lizard living in a desert area, you can install a small plastic container with a substrate (moss, coconut crumbs), which will need to be regularly sprayed with water until it is wet.

An exhaust fan can be placed in the terrarium to ensure good ventilation.


The bottom of the terrarium is covered with 10 cm or more of soil. Gravel, fine gravel or coarse sand is suitable as soil.

Live plants

To keep tree lizards, the terrarium should be decorated with live plants. They should not be poisonous, have sharp spikes and slippery surfaces. Plant branches must support the weight of the lizard.

Some owners decorate the terrarium with low maintenance ornamental plants. However, experts still recommend giving preference to living vegetation. Plastic artificial plants may contain toxic substances that are life threatening for reptiles.

Decorative elements

Various elements can be used as decoration - coconut shells, boxes, tree snags, ceramic pots, etc. Reptiles that live in the desert will love the house, decorated with stones, grottoes and caves where they can hide.

It is important that decor items do not interfere with the lizard's movement around the terrarium. They must also be absolutely safe for the pet, do not have sharp corners, and do not contain toxic substances.

Where to install a terrarium for a lizard

The best place to install a terrarium in the house is a free and well-lit space that does not interfere with the passage of people. The design can be put on a stable support or a special stand.

Some owners prefer to hang the terrarium on the wall. The structure is fixed with special brackets.

Cleaning the terrarium

The terrarium should be cleaned daily, removing food, feces and other debris from the floor. Also, do not forget to water live plants and change the drinking water in the reptile feeder.

General cleaning is carried out periodically with soil replacement and cleaning of the walls of the terrarium.

Once a year, preventive disinfection of the structure is carried out using special disinfectants.

Inventory used for cleaning the terrarium, upon completion of work, is treated with a 1% solution of chloramine, after which it is washed under water and dried.

Following these simple rules, the terrarium will always maintain a comfortable and safe environment for reptiles to live. It will also benefit her health.

Raccoon Kuzya was removed from the tree for more than an hour

Raccoon Kuzya was removed from the tree for more than an hour

The leaders of the G7 countries today will discuss the possibility of imposing new sanctions against BelarusAll over Ukraine declared an air raid alertUnknown people threw balloons and bottles with red paint at the building of the Russian Embassy in BerlinThe grandson of the Communist Party leader Leonid Zyuganov was detained for non-payment of gasoline Residents of Omsk, Volgograd and Novokuznetsk do not believe in the possibility careers in your city


on the air of three radio stations

Station "Our Radio" 101. 7 FM


on the air of three radio stations


5 in UNSN 9013 Radio stations

Station ROCK FM 95.2 FM





9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000


Special projects
Company news

News feed

April 12, 20174:02

For more than an hour, employees of a petting zoo in the city of Balakovo, Saratov Region, removed the escaped raccoon Kuzya from a tree. In this they were helped by passers-by. One of the zoo employees said that the animal loves to walk around the city and climb trees. During one of these walks, the day before, he escaped from the harness and climbed a tree to a height of five meters. As a result, his favorite delicacy helped to lure the raccoon, seeing which he independently descended to the ground.

Subscribe to NSN: Ya.News | Ya Zen | Google News | flipboard | Telegram


Get the latest materials by mail

We will regularly send you the latest exclusives and news! Unsubscribe is available in the letter

Hot news


    • Infected


      2 million +13 969 / day.
    • Died

      388 thousand

      +109 / day
    • Recovered

      20.5 million

      +31 509 / day

    Data sources:

    Rospotrebnadzor, WHO,

    October 11, 2022

  • Shoigu checked the course of training at landfills

    9000 irretrievably lost

  • Uzbekistan urged citizens to leave Ukraine

  • In the LPR announced decadent moods in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

  • ROGS: Zaporizhzhya NPPs connected to the Russian energy system

    9000 3 building

  • Germany accused the West of wanting to ruin Russia and prevent its reconciliation with Ukraine

  • KGB of Belarusia: a turning point in a special operation can occur in November-February

  • Media reported a possible meeting of Erdogan and Putin in Astana

    9000 9021 9021 9021:231 11:21 11:231 11:231 11:231 11:231 11:231 11:231 11:231 11:AC Media: Zyuganov's grandson was detained in Moscow

Unfortunately, the browser you are using is outdated and does not allow you to display the site correctly.

Learn more