I've done a little scientific study. Well, sort of scientific. Here's the question. How far do you have to climb to get a feeling of disconnect? I'm talking about the feeling of separating yourself from the world. I'm talking about a place in the vertical world, above ground; where you can get a little introspective. Become an observer of the world on the ground below.
I've come up with a figure: 25 feet. That's all you need. How did I come up with that number? I made hundreds of observations at the Tree Climbers International school. That’s my laboratory.
|Laurie "Flash" Feig Sandoval gets "the disconnect" in a 90 foot white oak (Quercus alba) named "New Start". Difficulty rating 5.6|
At first people are hesitant. They are figuring out how to work the knots and building trust in the system. After they get past those early stages, it gets interesting. The new climbers are now suspended in air. We call it the “Peter Pan Effect”. They are floating in space. When they get to a branch the new climbers usually stop. Sometimes they stand on the branch, other times they sit on the branch. Or they just hang in midair. Then they just look around. This is “the disconnect”.
When you get “the disconnect” in a big tree, you become an observer. It's a shift in perspective. You are now looking down at the world below you. There's a separation between you and those below. It’s a visual kind of cotton candy fascination, and it lives in a 3 dimensional world of height.
This “other worldly” sense of height and disconnect is easy to read on climber’s faces. A light seems to turn on. It doesn't matter whether your are a new climber or an old hand at tree climbing. That feeling of wonder and peace isn’t too far away up in a tree. I think it takes only 25 feet. That is my own unscientific opinion.