February 13, 2011

Daniel Broglino is considered a Master Climber at SavATree, where he works as a plant-healthcare specialist. He got the tree-climbing bug as a child, and it led him to a degree in arboriculture and a career that has engaged him for thirteen years. Today he demonstrates safe professional-climbing techniques to Martha on one of her Turkey Hill Road elms.

Daniel always begins by checking to see that the tree is sound and free of hazards, such as dead limbs and nearby power lines. He wears the requisite hard hat and safety goggles, adding ear protection if he is going to be working with loud equipment. From the ground, he spots a well-positioned tree-crotch that will be strong enough to support his weight. To get his climbing rope up to it, he uses a throw bag attached to a lightweight nylon line. The throw bag is a small sack filled with lead that can, with practice, be easily tossed up and over the selected limb. After landing the throw bag, Daniel ties his climbing rope to the light nylon line and pulls it over the branch.

Next, Daniel puts on his saddle -- a heavy leather-and-canvas harness that supports his body. Then he ties a climbing clip to his climbing rope with two sturdy half-hitch knots and attaches it to his harness. Finally, he ties a friction hitch between his harness and the free end of his rope. This special knot can be slid by the hand to allow him to move up the rope, but naturally locks so that he can let go at any time and not slide back down. Fully tied in, Daniel hangs horizontally in his harness and braces his feet against the tree. Pulling upward with his arms, he follows with his body and slides the friction hitch up, drawing himself a foot or so farther from the ground each time.


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