Rigging Course

with UC Berkeley Researchers

by Tree Climbing Instructor Tim Kovar             October 17, 2005


The course grads—Vanessa Boukili, Kevin Simonin, and Emily Limm

(see more photos below...)

A group of three canopy researchers from University of California, Berkeley drove up to Grants Pass, Oregon, to take part in our one-day Rigging Course.

The students each have from one to three years climbing experience doing research in the crowns of their local Coast Redwoods. They have been climbing with Petzl Ascenders and using a Petzl GriGri for descent. Their mission at Tree Climbing Northwest was to learn to use a secondary safety lanyard to improve their horizontal movement through the canopy.

We spent the morning working with webbing, pulleys, a few new knots, the daisy rope and the Yo-Yo (RAD) method of climbing. After lunch we took our new-found knowledge up into the branches of our special Black Walnut tree, "Ed." The afternoon was filled with sweat and laughter. A lot of hard work went into hauling up over 75 pounds of gear, setting up a treetop village, and moving from point A to point B to point C.

After eight hours of intense mental and physical workouts, with a few new blisters, some good ol’ tree rubbings on the clothes, the smell of leaves in our hair, and healthy hearty smiles, the course came to an end.

Tree Climbing Northwest is in the forefront of creating some special tree climbing courses tailored for the scientific community. As we refine them, we’ll announce them on our website.

The Rigging Course is designed for recreational climbers who would like to spend some quality time in the tree in comfort. Highlights of the course include applications for pulleys, webbing, accessory cords and prussic knots. Students create their own wall hauler and a unique wall descender. You learn Treeboat Hammock placement and setup, along with treetop camping and cooking aloft. The course ends with creating our own Treeboat village and spending the night amongst the stars and leaves.

Prerequisite - Basic Tree Climbing Course or Instructor approval


Emily doing what it takes to retrieve her daisy rope

Big smile after the switch-over

Kevin amidst the leaves, not a bad place to be

The famous Ed, teaching us all!

Vanessa taking a break after installing

her wall hauler



Emily rigging up her Treeboat,

going from RAD to DRT

Kevin in the leaves, and loving it!

Tim giving some advice on the catenary principle

Vanessa enjoying all her hard work


Kevin relaxing into tree time. After two hours aloft,

the Treeboats are rigged and ready.

Line management is a necessary practice

when dealing with more than one rope

Vanessa drifting and getting ready to de-rig