IT loves it when our favorite childhood activities are validated as adult-appropriate “sports,” so we were especially pumped to hear that tree climbing is quickly becoming the next great outdoor activity.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that these “tree people” are no longer just arborists collecting research in the leafy canopy; rock climbers, adventure seekers, and even nostalgic adults have all turned to tree climbing to get back to their fun-loving roots—literally.
Using harnesses, carabiners, ropes, and helmets, enthusiasts can tackle greater challenges than the average backyard oak tree. Although the Mount Everest of trees has yet to be declared, there are plenty of options for getting some serious height: California redwoods, for instance, can grow to be more than 360 feet tall.
Climbers subscribe to a Lorax lifestyle (our first and favorite environmentalist) and only use equipment that won’t harm the tree. Spikes are forbidden, as the punctures they leave can lead to a tree’s death.
There are even tree-climbing competitions, like the one held every year by the New England chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture. Outdoor gear and expedition companies, such as Oregon-based New Tribe and Arbor Quest, in Bloomfield, Michigan, are catering to those who want to give this alternative climbing option a try. Tree Climbers International also offers classes and advice for novice climbers looking to get started.
Towering or tiny, leafy or lean, the real payoff comes from the solitude and peacefulness one can achieve in the treetops. Nothing beats settling in the crook of your favorite tree and feeling, well, like you’re on top of the world.
- Nat Geo Expeditions