top of page
MIS305 – Tree Climbing (2nd ed.) (Non-Member Price)

A Minimum Industry Standard for Tree Climbing


This book covers the basics of tree climbing equipment and tree access using a variety of tree climbing skills and techniques. Many other techniques, climbing systems and climbing equipment configurations are possible which are not discussed in this document. Nevertheless, the skills and techniques presented in this document form a solid foundation on which practitioners can build.


About the MIS Series


This book is one in a series of Minimum Industry Standards (MIS) produced by Arboriculture Australia Ltd and the New Zealand Arboricultural Association in consultation with the national arboriculture community in both countries. These industry peer-reviewed documents provide a ‘body of knowledge’ which is shared by practitioners and can be used as the basis for training, dissemination of skills and professional development.

MIS305 – Tree Climbing (2nd ed.) (Non-Member Price)

  • Introduction to tree climbing

    Competency for tree climbing 

    What is good tree climbing? 


    Tree climbing equipment 

    Essential tree climbing equipment 

    Arborist harness 

    Lanyard and adjustor 

    • Steel-core lanyards
    • Rope lanyards

    Climbing rope and friction hitch 

    Hitch-minding pulleys and friction devices 

    Karabiners and other connectors 

    Correct configuration of karabiners

    Equipment inspection 

    Equipment inspection checklist 

    Climbing equipment standards 

    Climbing systems 

    Building a climbing system 

    • Safe climbing systems
    • Simple climbing systems
    • Efficient climbing systems
    • Ergonomic climbing systems

    Climbing system comparison 

    Example of inefficiency in a climbing system 

    Example of inefficiency in a climbing system (continued)

    Selecting and configuring equipment within a climbing system

    Example of equipment compatibility and configuration: Petzl RIG

    Correct selection and use of tree climbing equipment

    Example of equipment misconfiguration 


    Preparing to work in trees 

    Site and tree hazard inspection

    Work site exclusion zones 

    Tree species and behaviour 

    Preparing for climbing 

    Developing a work strategy 

    Comparing work strategies 

    Hazard control measures for tree climbing

    Climb plans 

    Selecting a tree access method 

    1. Alternating anchor points 
    2. Setting an anchor point using a throwline or similar 
    3. Spur climbing 



    Tree climbing: Core skills 

    Core skills 1: Installing an anchor point 

    Throwing rope 

    Using a throwline 

    Manipulating a throwline 

    Selecting a suitable anchor point

    Testing an anchor point 

    Connecting to a climbing system 

    Advancing a system / alternating anchor points 

    Selecting a Tie-In-Point (TIP) 

    Core skills 2: Work positioning 

    Rope angle 

    Branch walking 

    Work positioning 


    Climbing technique 1: Moving rope technique

    Body thrusting 

    Assisted body thrusting

    • Footlocking the tail of the rope 
    • Use of a foot ascender 
    • Trunk walking 

    MRT tie-in-points: Friction savers 

    Ring and ring friction saver

    Retrieving a friction saver 

    Setting a friction saver from the ground 

    Single-pulley friction savers 

    Descending from a tree 


    Climbing technique 2: Spur climbing 

    Spur fit, sharpening and adjustment 

    • Sharpening gaffs

    Spur climbing - basic technique 

    Advancing the lanyard 


    Working on climbing spurs 

    Branch walking with climbing spurs 


    Climbing technique 3: Stationary rope technique

    Introduction to stationary rope technique 

    MRT vs SRT - selecting the right tool for the job 

    SRT setups and terminology 

    Basal anchors 

    Canopy anchors 

    Basics of SRT climbing - SRT systems 

    SRT ascent systems

    SRT descent systems 

    SRT work-positioning systems 

    Techniques for SRT work positioning 

    • Working in columns I: use of multiple climbing ropes 
    • Working in columns II: main line and redirect line 

    SRT: 3:1 systems for work positioning 


    Additional skills 1: Redirects 

    Redirect terminology 

    Redirects, rope angle and forces 

    Natural redirects 

    • Retracing a climbing system – MRT 
    • Retracing a climbing system – SRT 

    Fixed artificial redirects 

    Removable and retrievable artificial redirects (MRT) 

    Removable and retrievable artificial redirects (SRT)


    Additional skills 2: Use of multiple lines 

    Access lines 

    Use of multiple lines

    Counterbalance technique 

    V-Rig technique

    Floating anchors and high lines 

bottom of page