We removed a Sycamore last week. Nothing huge, yet it presented some interesting rigging challenges due to the length of some of the limbs and the targets below. We ended up balancing and/ or winching a number of picks, as well as moving anchor points around and using multiple rigging anchor points, allowing us to load them in compression, something I like to do when diameters are not huge.
Those first climbs after winter when the sun starts to regain some warmth have a magical quality, not being bundled up in thermals makes them feel effortless and easy – this was one such instance. Roll on spring!
I enjoy balancing loads, as it is an activity which gives you a very immediate feedback as to whether you got it right or not, no shades of grey there. Enough of those in other instances!
I managed to make a real rookie mistake at the start of the day whilst removing one of the lower limbs. As there was a clear drop zone below, I simply dropped the lower two limbs in a couple of sections. When I put in a face and made the back cut in the last of these pieces, which was maybe four meters long with a diameter of 40cm, I missed the fact that it was banana-shaped, with the far end facing downwards – so when this hit the ground the butt pushed back and tonked me on the arm – hard. In the first moment I thought the arm was broken, all numb and tingly, but luckily it merely turned out to be thoroughly bruised.
This is an issue I would normally be really wary of, exerting considerable caution when dropping pieces that are longer than my distance from the ground, for exactly this reason. Yet in this instance it somehow slipped below my radar, maybe due to the unusual shape or my being focused on the more complex picks to come? Who knows. Just goes to show once again how the fact of being aware of an issue is not a sure-fire protection against stuffing up regardless – and that no one is above making mistakes. I was lucky that I had free space to swing back into and that the section in question was not larger.
Despite this slight mishap, the rest of the day really smoothly, we had a lot of fun – and I enjoyed the sunshine, to boot.