The tower, she rises!

What a ride! Finally, after years, the treemagineers drop tower is a reality!

After a really gutsy set up day on Friday, with Chris and Puk braving the elements, obstructive crane drivers and knuckle-draggingg foundation drilling blokes, the tower is now a reality!

Final tweaking tomorrow, do some run-throughs and test drops and we should be good to go. I will be very interested to see how it all goes, what the response is, what topics this allows us to delve into in greater depth.

Why go to all this effort?

The investment in this tower as a testbed for replicable testing and to advance industry understanding for the hows and whys of our work methods represents a major investment for us, no question. However in our eyes it is the right thing to do: we see it as a re-investment in the industry and are therefore happy to be able to offer something in return for the faith that people place in the products we have been involved in over the years and by doing so in validating the concepts behind them.

Can’t wait to give it a spin over the next couple of days…

So exciting!

The treemagineers drop tower is on its way to Augsburg!

Treemagineers tower in transport
Treemagineers tower in transit

It was picked up in Llanberris in Wales this morning, was loaded onto a truck and is now in transit. This is starting to feel very real. So exciting! I’ll post some pics when I have them. Friday it arrives in A’burg and Chris and Puk will set it up, ready for prime time next week…


Merch & stuff

Really excited!

Just picked up a big box from the in-laws filled with a re-run of mugs we did a couple of years back. Back then I had to laugh as I was doing the drawing, still makes me smile, but then again, I’m a sucker for printed mugs. Anway, be that as it may,  see if you can work it out. No prizes, mind.

We’re working on a range of treemagineers merchandising, by the way. We’ll keep you posted… watch this space, as they say.

Whoops, I suppose that just gave it away a bit.

Oh well…

You remember, how the other day I realized that I would be flying back with JAL on a BA codeshare, and would therefore not have to watch the same films all over again that I had watched on the way over to Japan? Well guess what? I was pottering through Narita airport, checking out all the stuff I don’t need, as one does, in the airport shopping area, when I happened to glance at a Departures announcement board and noticed the the 11.45 flight to Heathrow was not showing up. Huh? I the end I realized that that flight had been cancelled and I had been rebooked to the BA flight an hour before. I had received an e-mail about this, but assumed that the flight showing up in the BA app was the active one. It wasn’t. Things then became a little hectic, flight boarded as I reached the gate.

Soooooo, as it was the same airline, I was stuck with the same selection of films. Ho hum. So I slept, which is also not a bad plan.

Tell me about it! And it can make you miss your flight.

What lesson do I take away from this? Over-reliance on all our gadgets and devices we surround ourselves with put you at increased risk of digital dementia. There is clearly a strong argument for hardcopies – and for writing stuff down.

Talking of over-reliance on electronic devices, if you are in any way interested in such things, I can thoroughly recommend  “To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism” by Evgeny Morzov – food for thought.

10 years of treemagineers

Well, longer actually. But digging in my photo archives I came across these pics taken at the TCI Expo in Detroit in 2004 of Chris and me discussing loads on re-direct anchor point at the Demo Tree. Yes, I know there was less grey hair around than today.

Actually it’s hard to pin down when exactly informal discussions during a climb at work ended up being merely that and turned into what evolved into the project that was to become treemagineers. Turn of the millennia was a time when a first big push of innovation had gone before, with innovators such as Fred Matthias, François Dussenne, de Gourét Litchfield, Knut Foppe and Peter Styrnol, to name but a few, making relevant and important contributions towards tree climbing as we know it today. My first climb on NER’s Safety Blue HiVee remains for me a memorable event until this day, likewise being introduced to ring-ring cambium savers, my first climb on a Valdôtain Tresse, the introduction of Comet’s Vert or the Evolution, precursors of the Butterfly. These innovations were all hugely relevant to the industry and shaped the way we work nowadays.

However, there came a point, in the early 2000’s, when, in regards to the evolution of climbing equipment, things had gone very slow. You would go to a tree care show and the buzz would be about an existing climbing line being launched in a new colour combination. Round about this same time, Chris and I were discussing issues regarding the way we configured our gear in our climbing systems and were trying to address issues that we felt uncomfortable about, such as wide loading and nose-loading on karabiners, torsional loads on connectors etc.. Also during this period Beddes was busy in his shed spending hours thinking about what would make a good tree climbing harness and sowing any number of prototypes.

Early version of the logo, glad we gave it some more thought...
Early version of the logo, glad we gave it some more thought…

In other words, we had lots of ideas, but no channel to feed them into. Discussing how to move forwards with this, we soon realized that many people have good ideas, but as individuals it’s hard to seem them through, especially if you have no proven track record, as no one takes you seriously – or at least then it wasn’t the case, maybe this has changed somewhat in the mean time. So we decided to launch treemagineers – to have an entity that manufacturers would feel happier dealing with, rather than just three individuals with a couple of  (maybe) good ideas and obviously lots of spare time.

Treemagineers to us was always and remains to this day about discussing and evolving ideas and concepts that interested us. Although the focus these last years has revolved heavily around development of PPE, we remain clear in our mind that that route is only one possibility to improve the ways in which we work. There are other areas that are equally interesting and at least as relevant, such as improving our understanding of everything that goes on around the climb, for example the work that Andreas Detter has been involved in over the years, such as the Rigging Research, a joint project with Treevolution, commissioned by the UK Health and Safety Executive and the Forestry Commission. Chris was also heavily involved in this project, I was able to contribute some illustrations.

This is one of the reasons we decided to invest in our mobile drop tower, as this will enable us to go back to basic questions we have wondered about and have discussed without ever having the means or the facility to test things in a reliable fashion. The tower that we will be premiering at the Climbers’ Forum in Augsburg in May will offer this possibility and hopefully new lines of thought can evolve around it.

I am convinced there is much still to be discovered in these diverse areas that revolve around working with trees and am happy that we have been able to make a small contribution towards hopefully helping to create a workplace that is safer, more ergonomic – and ultimately hopefully also more fun.

Travel day to Kyoto

Travelled from Saitama to Kyoto with the Shinkanzen, which was rather exciting. Ok, geek moment, sorry. Fantastic view of Mount Fuji. Had a look around Kyoto, which has a good feel to it, large intact parts of the old town with very beautiful sights. Visited two shrines, not exactly alone, but situated in stunning parks.

Early start tomorrow to prep the workshop site…


Well, who would ever have thought it?! Compared to the normal rate at which we have progressed in the past in all matters web site related, we’re now almost going supersonic! Not only have we (finally) managed to up date our web site and get in on-line, but also we have integrated a blog into it, which is something we have discussed for a long time. Finally we decided that we liked the idea of having a channel to share thoughts and things that we find interesting with you. So here you are…

One of the reasons that we managed to clear the log jam was thanks to Julie and José at Thebe Mor who were in charge of the re-design. Thanks, Julie and José to both of you for you patience and for holding our collective hands through this process…

We were at their place, a rather lovely spot up in the Highlands, amongst other things to get some shots of us together. All serious? Not really, somehow, when we get together and try to do some serious photography, things always seem to go just a little bit loopy – especially when someone leaves bathtubs kicking around.