Professional or Technical Tree Climbing utilizes specialized equipment and techniques to ascend into trees. Think back on how you may have climbed trees when you were younger, yet having the security of being supported by rope.
The equipment and techniques provide the climber with the safety of rope and harness in order to reduce the risks associated with climbing trees as well as minimizing our impact to the trees being climbed.
Arborists climb to perform work for health and safety related goals,
Scientists climb to research a wide variety topics relating to ecosystems, forests and the environment,
Educators use tree climbing in experiential and adventure education programs,
Therapists use the calming benefits of trees and climbing for connection and personal insight.
Conservationists and Naturalists climb to study and raise awareness for trees, forests, wildlife, and the environment.
Recreational Tree Climbers climb for some of the same reasons as well as for exploration, exhilaration, exercise, fun, and a deeper connection with trees, forests and themselves.
Why do we climb trees? (1:08)
As children, our sense of adventure took us into the woods and up trees in search of adventure, discovery, and often times to simply escape to a quiet place.
Our facilitated tree climbing experiences enable inexperienced climbers to enjoy this unique and rewarding outdoor activity. Our trained and skilled climbing adventure guides provide all of the equipment, instruction, and support you need to enjoy your time above the ground.
Once you are in your harness and clipped on rope, you are free to ascend at your own pace and as high as you'd like.
WHERE ARE THE CLIMBS HELD?
We climb in parks and nature areas by permit. Most climbs take place in southeast Wisconsin, in and around Waukesha & Milwaukee Counties. We also have a number of climbs around the Fox Valley and Dane County, and a few points beyond!
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
Weather-appropriate clothing that you'd be comfortable hiking in. Dress in layers as body temperature rises during climbing. We generally recommend sturdy-soled shoes like hiking boots, long pants to protect skin from scrapes against bark, raincoat or jacket if weather warrants. Hats can be worn under the helmet if they are thin enough and not attached to your shirt/jacket.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
We provide all technical climbing gear (helmet, harness, gloves, safety glasses). As a climber, you will want to bring a bottle of water, sunscreen, extra layers. If you will be a spectator, you might consider a blanket or chair as not all locations have picnic tables nearby.
CAN ADULTS CLIMB TOO?
Absolutely! Adults love tree climbing as much as kids! Since we tend to become more cautious as we get older, you will find that climbing with rope and saddle instills the sense of security that may have been lacking when you climbed as a child! Taking up tree climbing as a hobby opens a whole new world! Not only do we offer Adult Climbs, you can also join us at Open & Open-Advanced Climbs (and many of our Rec Climbs). If you end up loving it as much as we do, then be sure to check out our Beginning Tree Climbing class.
IS IT SAFE?
There are risks associated with climbing trees, which is why we use professional equipment approved for use in technical tree climbing AND follow the guidelines set forth by the Global Organization of Tree Climbing (GOTC). These guidelines and the climbing systems we use are designed to minimize the associated risks of injury to both climbers and trees. Professional companies and climbers around the world follow these guidelines; in doing so, no serious injuries have been reported in the nearly 40 years that RTC has been an organized activity. With Treetop Explorer, LLC events, every tree is inspected by a Board Certified Master Arborist and GOTC recognized Facilitators prepare each climbing system and climber.
WHAT IF I HAVE A FEAR OF HEIGHTS?
The fear of heights is a common fear people have, and many us have a fear of falling. Our facilitators and guides will never force or coerce you into trying anything you are not comfortable with. Each climber faces their own challenges. You can approach your fears at a pace you are most comfortable with. Often times we find that people are able to successfully challenge their fear of heights given the sense of security provided by the climbing system. The climbing experience is not just about climbing high since adventure begins the moment your feet leave the ground. Our climbing guides are there to provide pointers, answer questions, and help support you through your challenges.
WILL I BE ABLE TO DO IT?
Most everyone can! Climbers do not need special skills or previous experience when climbing at our facilitated tree climbing events. Climbers are given easy to follow instructions and individual attention. Your climbing ability will develop and improve rather quickly. A basic level of fitness is required, but perseverance and determination can overcome most obstacles as technique is more important than brute strength.
IS IT LIKE ROCK CLIMBING?
With rock climbing, the goal is to climb a wall or rock face to the top without falling. Should you fall, the safety harness and rope are there to catch you. With tree climbing, you are able to keep tension on your rope at all times while climbing to a height you are comfortable with, which means you are sitting in your harness and in control. Another great aspect of tree climbing is that when you feel like resting, you can sit back, relax, and take in the view! When you decide it is time to go down, a facilitator will assist as you lower yourself in a controlled fashion to the ground.
DOES IT HURT THE TREE?
We take a number of precautions in order to keep our impact to a minimum. For instance, we utilize protective sleeves to keep the rope from causing undue injury to the tree. Any pruning necessary to prepare the tree for a climb is overseen by a Certified Arborist to ensure the health of the tree is not compromised. Typically, the primary injury a tree sustains will come from participants who try to grab branches and twigs, which is why we ask climbers to refrain from such activities.
WILL I LEARN HOW TO CLIMB MY OWN TREES?
No. The intent behind our Facilitated Climbs, which includes Open, Open-Advanced, Adult, Rec, Girl Scout, Private, Festival, and Group climbs, is to provide a controlled environment where participants can experience recreational tree climbing. Climbing under facilitation allows participants to climb without the need to understand all of the intricacies involved with technical tree climbing, tree health, and climber safety. These climbs do not present nor cover any of the information, knowledge, or skills necessary to climb trees on your own. Climbing on your own is dangerous and involves greater risk, therefore specialized training is necessary. People interested in learning how to climb trees on their own as a recreational hobby or for their career can enroll in one of our Tree Climbing Courses.
WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS? (and other weather related issues)
Light rain and snow by themselves are not necessarily a safety issue or cause for cancellation. Our staff will make a judgement call, taking into consideration intensity of expected precipitation, air temperature, and the ground conditions beneath the tree. Severe weather presents safety concerns for climbers and staff; therefore, Treetop Explorer, LLC reserves the right to cancel a climb due to weather forecasts or current weather conditions. Read more details about our weather cancellation policy.
see for yourself:
Climbers pick up the easy-to-follow instructions quickly!
The technique utilizes leg power rather than upper body strength!
Safety knots are fun to tie and give climbers peace of mind.
Climbers return to the ground when they are ready. Even descending is fun!