Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Time to Say Goodbye to One of the Best Tree Climbing Seasons: Fall

This is one of the tree climbing seasons that I hate to see go. Recreational tree climbers really flock to the treetops in this season. Fall is a transitional season. It's a season tree climbers love because it's in between the hot summer heat and the freezing winter temperatures.

Not all of the trees have lost their leaves yet. Take a look at the two trees pictured here. They are of the same species. One tree has its leaves, while the other tree does not. It's proof that trees act differently, just like humans. Every tree is an individual.
Two Post Oak (Quercus stella) trees we climb.
Tree names: Jock (left) and Jill
Difficulty rating: both at 5.6. | Treetop traverse: 5.7
The fall climbing has been particularly good this year in the Southeast. Leaf color was fabulous! The temperatures were pleasantly cool. And the acorns and other nuts were plentiful. The wildlife is going to have plenty to eat this winter around here.

Fall came early here. It's unusual for fall to start halfway through September. I think it's a harbinger of bad things to come; like a really cold winter. I know there have been some early snowstorms in the North. I’m trying not to think about it too much. So this is what I'm doing to get all I can from the remaining fall tree climbing season and get ready for winter.

I am logging in as many climbs as I can. I'm making the time to enjoy the trees. I know I'll have many down days coming up when the wind chill turns my fingertips white and the cold rains make tree climbing unbearable.

I am changing my diet. I am eating more fatty foods. I'm not talking about junk food. I'm talking about nuts, seeds, and other natural energy producing foods. You’ve got to eat food that will create heat to keep you warm. Saturated fats, like those in junk food, won’t break down quickly enough to give you the heat you need. They also build up in the body and create that excess weight we hate to carry around.

And lastly, I am pulling out my winter clothing. I'm making sure that every article is serviceable. Are buttons falling off? Are the soles of my winter boots in good shape for the upcoming icy times? I'm especially looking at my long johns making sure that the elastic in the waist hasn't stretched too far where it will sag down underneath my pants. There's nothing worse than having sagging underwear. You feel like your saddle is slipping off when in reality it’s your underwear. Try adjusting your underwear while you are on rope. It’s not easy.

What other things are you doing to prepare for winter climbing? Do you quit climbing completely during the winter season?


  1. hey Treeman!
    winter is going to come here too, and fall gets back...
    fall was late in france, and the weather has been very sunny from september to now. only few days of rain, not enough! we had got barely 7 months of dryness, 4 months at spring (not a good season to be thursty for a tree, no?) and 3 months at fall, from september to now..
    the last 2 times we got such a sunny fall were in 1982 (i was 2 years old ^^ ), and we had a storm (local) during winter; and in 1999, when we had a big big storm all over France during winter too.
    i hope that we won't have to undergo such a disease..

    to prepare winter, my wife is knitting me a wooly, softy, warmy pullover :)

  2. You've taught us so to optimize saddles, which rope is best for particular climbing situations, multiple lanyard techniques, evaluating trees and safety in the trees and so much more...however, I apparently missed your instruction regarding underwear adjusting techniques, please elaborate...


  3. Mantis,

    I think the most important thing about adjusting your underwear while aloft is identifying that you have an underwear problem. You know you are approaching the red line when you keep trying to hike your saddle up while you're hanging on your rope. Problem solving is enhanced when you focus on the real problem, not the perceived problem. Thus ends my philosophical observation of the day.

  4. Francios,

    It is very sad when trees don't get enough water to drink. For many trees, it's a slow death.

    Wooly, softy, warmy pullover. Sounds delightful. Hand made too, by loving hands.