Western Australian Tree Climbing Championships 2011
Five different challenges test the competitor’s skills throughout an intense day of competition with the overall State champion decided in the Masters Event.
The five events are as follows:
1. Throw Line
2. Work Climb
3. Speed Belay Ascent
4. Foot Lock Ascent
5. Aerial Rescue.
Contestants remain on the ground and are required to install two throw lines into designated branch sections of the tree to achieve points. This is done using a small throw bag weighing 8-16 ounces, which is fixed to a thin throw line. The bag is thrown by the competitor to achieve the target.
There are two sets of targets that are worth differing points based on degree of difficulty. Once the contestant has achieved the desired target, they must attach a climbing rope to the throw line and haul the line through the branch union to gain additional points per climbing rope. All this is done within a set time period.
The work climb is intended to make the competitor plan and simulate safe and efficient movement throughout the tree, just as he or she would normally do when conducting remedial tree maintenance work.
Speed Belay Ascent
A purely time based event where the climber starts at the base of the tree and using the tail of the climbing line with the security of safety belay, has to ascend the tree as quick as possible to achieve the target bell.
Foot Lock Ascent
This technique involves ascending a doubled and vertically hanging rope by locking the rope with the feet, pushing up with the legs and advancing to a target height of approximately 15 metres to touch a bell. The climber is attached with a foot lock prusik attached by Klemheist hitch to both sides of the rope. A second rope is used for safety belay.
The aerial rescue event simulates an emergency situation where a tree climber (dummy) is suspended in a tree. It requires the climber to perform a rescue as quickly, safely and efficiently as possible. The event officials will describe the victim’s condition prior to the rescue commencing.
Following the preliminary events, the master’s challenge determines the state tree-climbing champion. Historically the top three climbers compete in this final event, which is usually a difficult version of the work climb, on a much larger and more challenging tree. The winner represents the State in the National competition.
The competition of tree climbing began in the United States decades ago to educate tree workers in best practice, new techniques and the importance of safe tree climbing equipment. Western Australia has been running an International Society of Australia format event for over 15 years, attracting professional climbers from across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.