I drove out to the Mary Anderson Center to climb the big tree down by the lake that I had climbed when the IUS 3-D class came and I led them on a walk through the woods. When I arrived no one was there. Emily was there but I just thought I’d climb. I brought home my tree climbing gear from work and since I feel healthy this weekend I thought I’d try it out on my own today. I parked by the clay studio and lugged my equipment down the road to the lake.
First I just went up without gear. I feel as though I would like to keep all the climbs of this project as free climbs. Especially since I am reclimbing now, and since I climbed all of these before without a harness or ropes. I sure don’t need them now. What I really see as the value to the gear is making so many more tree accessible to climb. Actually, I’m having a little thought just I write this: since I love the freedom of free climbing, maybe I could use the gear to get into the tops of trees I could otherwise not reach, then undo my gear and climb the rest of the way free. I really like that term "free climb." It may be a euphemism to people who think of it as dangerous, but to me it is very aptly named. I’ll get to why later.
So I climbed, free, and slowly got to my ribbon.
It was actually a bit of a challenge on the large limbs. But after taking some pictures
I thought I’d check for going higher since I was only almost halfway up the tree. Immediately I saw possibilities. I transferred to another limb and inched up, avoided the dying limbs, and made it much higher.
It didn’t do much to increase my view since I was down in a low spot of the landscape but the view directly down to the ground was awesome.
I took some more pictures
and then climbed back down sliding much of the way. Once I got to the ground I got out my gear, emptied my pockets, and prepared my ropes for climbing this tree again.
Once I got the knots figured out and took for ever to throw my line over a branch I finally got to thrust my way up the side of the tree. It’s a hard and painful process. My arms got tired quick and I don’t think the harness fits right or is very comfortable in general. But I worked with it. I got to the branch and used my buck strap while throwing my line to a higher branch. I did that one more time and was about 30 to 35 feet up. Then came the fun part, the repelling. I grabbed the hitch knot, kicked out from the tree and began to lower to the ground. That is definitely the best part. So once I was on the ground I thrust myself back up that 30 odd feet to repel once again. It’s all fun but doesn’t feel specific to trees. It seems it would be very similar to climbing a cliff or a building. It is also very restrictive, slow, and homogeneous. That is why I like free climbing. It is truly dependent on the tree and my physical ability. Each experience is unique and I really get to know each limb.
I’m glad to know this new technique, but I still much prefer the "dangerous" free method.
1-28-09: I believe for the first year, besides one day, Iclimbed every tree without gear. Since then I have climbed trees with my gear and counted it as my tree for the day. I have also used the gear to get to the first branches then took it off and free climbed to the top. I really like that. Though I haven’t done it lately. Not since the day of the Ike wind storm.
Last Monday, January 26th, Norm and I finally finished the porch job in New Castle. We didn’t have a whole lot left to do so we were able to have lunch at the local cafe and then leave. Here are some shots of the porch:
Norm was peeing his pants in this one.
He dropped me off at home in the afternoon and I let the daylight slip away yet again. It was cold with a light snow dusting and I just didn’t feel like getting out there. So when night came and I had to climb, I chose to walk and find something close.
As I went east down Washington Street I walked past this small tree in front of St. Josephs Church.
I had never really considered the tree before since it is so tiny, but I wasn’t much in the mood for a really challenging climb, plus I figured I might get some neat shots of the church. I looked around me to check for watching eyes and when the coast was clear I climbed up the tree.
I was to my stopping point just below the power line in a matter of seconds.
I got my camera out and did my best to try to get some good shots of the church,
the street and houses,
and the close power line.
When I was finished I didn’t wait before climbing down. I dropped to the brick sidewalk and took one more shot of the whole tree.
It is pretty amazing to look at these pictures now. I am currently at Drew’s studio looking out the window at an icy and snowy downtown. We lost our power early this morning and there are limbs down everywhere. It has completely transformed the landscape. Pictures to come in future entries.