Tree climbing is done as a hobby, or a job. The purpose of tree climbing, as a hobby, is to climb as high as possible. Those that climb trees for work are known as tree trimmers and are usually looking to remove branches. Tree climbing can be done free solo, with a rope and harness or with spikes.
Free solo climbing is strictly for recreational purposes. It is usually done for the sole purpose of an adrenaline rush. Children who climb trees are free solo climbing, as they are young and haven't yet learned rope techniques. How high a person climbs is dependent upon how well they know the route, their skills and abilities and the risks the tree presents.
The rope and harness technique for climbing trees is the most popular. Unlike climbing with spurs, there is no harm done to the tree. This technique is done with a tree climbing harness, carabiners, helmet and gloves. Tree trimmers use this technique most often, as it ensures the safety of the climbers.
There are two types of rope techniques to use; single rope, or SRT and double rope, or DRT. Single rope technique is used for trees taller than 100 feet (30.48m), such as firs, redwoods or spruce, as the routes usually form a straight line. When making ascents with the SRT technique, an ascender is used. This is a device that locks in place should the climber fall. A petzl stop is used when descending, as it slows the descent when the handle is released.
The double rope technique is used when climbing trees less than 100 feet tall (30.48m), such as maples, poplars, oaks and pines. DRT offers extra protection due to the additional rope, and prevents drag. To use the DRT, a person tosses the rope over the branch in which they are attempting to climb and secures it to the saddle with a Blake's hitch knot. The climber than pulls on one side of the rope to pull themselves upwards towards the branch.
Climbing trees with spikes is one of the easier methods, but it is more risky and may damage the tree being climbed. Spikes must be worn with high top boots to prevent impaling yourself. Attach the spikes to your boots immediately before the climb to avoid walking on them and increase your chances of injury. Secure a safety line and check the tree for loose bark to avoid slipping. Climb the tree by stabbing the spikes into the trunk and working your way upwards.