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How to Climb a Tree

Tree climbing is a great, inexpensive workout that brings you closer to nature. Find out a few climbing basics using the double-rope technique.


  • : Climb trees at your own risk. Wear helmet and appropriate equipment and don't climb without a partner.
  • Step 1: Select a healthy, disease-free tree at least 18 inches in diameter with branches at least six inches in diameter to loop your rope over. If the branches are smaller than that, a branch could break under your weight.
  • TIP: Check for hazards in and around the tree, such as power lines, and bees' nests, and avoid those trees.
  • Step 2: Attach a thin throw line to the throw bag and throw it over the branch you're going to climb to. Position a branch protection device over the rope to safeguard the tree bark and the rope. Then detach the throw bag, attach the rope to the throw line, and pull it up and over the branch.
  • Step 3: Tie a series of knots, which will help you advance up the tree. Make your main knot a modified Blake's Hitch, which will hold you in place.
  • TIP: A Blake's Hitch is a friction hitch used by climbers for ascending and descending trees.
  • Step 4: Put on the harness and attach the rope. Use triple-action, auto-locking carabiners for the main tie-ins to your saddle. Lighter climbers and children can use their arms to pull themselves up. Others can use a foot assist method, where one foot wraps the rope around the other foot in a loop on which they can stand to ascend.
  • TIP: Never use leg spikes, which can seriously harm or kill the tree.
  • Step 5: Reach the branch the rope is looped over and prepare to descend. Lightly grasp the modified Blake's Hitch and slowly pull down. When you let go, this knot will automatically stop your descent.
  • FACT: The General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park is more than 2,000 years old and the largest tree, by volume, in the world.

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