Montana Outdoors

Jul 28, 2011 6:53 PM by Allyson Weller (KPAX News)

Adults spend days in the trees to earn certification

MISSOULA- When you're young you climb trees for fun, but some adults have made a career out of it and for the past three days, instructors have been helping Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management employees get certified to climb trees.

Lead Instructor John Weston says when climbing large trees with no branches, there are many methods you can use to reach the top.

"Spur climbing is typically what we used to do but it's very hard on some trees. So we teach them how to use tree climbing ladders, we teach them to use ropes to go up the trees, we teach them how to repel out of the trees which is the fun part."

Weston says this is how the state takes care of the forest but not everyone in this line of work can get certified.

"We try to weed them out. You know it does take some physical fitness to do this. You can't be afraid of heights. And the first question I ask people is 'did you climb trees when you were a little kid?' and if they say no I get a little worried."

He added that during the three day course students learn everything from using equipment properly, to the final test of rescuing an injured person.

"It comes down to the ultimate question, as an instructor I ask can that person come up and save me if I get injured, and if the answer is no they don't get certified, even if they've done all the skills correctly."

Once the climbers become certified they don't have to worry about taking another course for three years.

Contact Allyson Weller

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