Know your roots

One of the fascinating things about work positioning techniques used to move around and work position in trees is how scaleable they are. You can make literally make them as complex or simple as the situation requires, as corresponds to your level of ability – or even to your mood.

Thinking back to the early nineties, when it came to tree climbing, life was certainly more straight-forward. You were not exactly drowning in choice when it came to what model harness to chose or what techniques to employ to access the canopy, unlike today! I write this free of judgement, as both extremes – too much, as well as too little choice – pose their own set of challenges when it comes to making sound, well-founded choices.

Naturally, one can build elaborate structures, celebrating complexity and advanced techniques, yet I always find it interesting breaking it back down to  basic techniques, such as body thrusting, three knot systems or footlocking. These form the foundation of what came after. They, of course, in turn build on what went before. I believe it is important that we have a working understanding of these techniques which form part of our (arbori)cultural heritage, to lose it would mean an impoverishment of our tribal history… not that I would want to body thrust to work every day, but sometimes it can indeed be a quick, dirty and easy means to move up the first few meters in a tree – when the only thing you have to hand is your climbing line… by doing so, merging traditional techniques with modern equipment and tools.

I was mulling this over whilst working on the current illustration project, reworking our training manuals. What better way to reflect the simplicity of body thrusting than in black and white line drawings?