Do you know that some professional arborists compete in tree climbing competitions? When I was a kid there were lumberjack competitions on ESPN 2. Maybe you’ve seen these? I watched them. Tree climbing competitions are similar. Contenders make their best shot at events that highlight the moves they make daily as professionals. The International Tree Climbing Competition (ITCC) sanctions statewide, regional and national events around the world. The format is the same for all the ITCC sanctioned events. There are 5 competitions in the preliminaries. These are: Throwline, (a weighted ball and skinny line are thrown into the tree to simulate what a climber must do to access the tree, more points are awarded for higher tie in points). Aerial Rescue, (a dummy must be rescued in 5 minutes in a simulated emergency at height). Work Climb, (a climber must hit 3-5 targets with a blunt saw, showing the climber’s ability to move around a tree efficiently). Belayed Speed Climb, (a climber climbs a tree vertically as fast as possible, on belay). Open Ascent, (a climber climbs a rope as fast as possible). After climbers compete in these 5 competitions in the preliminaries, the three top climbers go to the Master’s Competition. Here, the climbers must climb a tree from start to finish hitting targets along the way, in the fastest time with the least deductions.
On September 15th, 2018, 40 climbers competed in this year’s Michigan Tree Climbing Competition in Traverse City, Michigan for a chance to climb at Internationals. After a long morning of prelims, Kevin Bingham (owner and top climber of Singing Tree LLC), came out on top. The masters competition was a huge success and once again, Kevin won. This was Kevin’s Fifth run as Michigan’s tree climbing champion. Winning this competition is a feat of skill and strength, but international top climbers also must demonstrate an impeccable commitment to safety. Great Job Kevin!