Branch Walking. Leaving the security of free-hanging space, choosing and learning how to use an arborist belay device that can easily release to allow the the climber into a pendulum position while shifting further in a sideways motion. Moving sideways is key to the demands of tree work. The climber uses the sit style harness in combination with belay releasing techniques to find balance and allow movement to parts of the tree unable to support the climbers weight.
Dynamic Systems - Blakes Hitch, Hitch Climber, Spiderjack 3. Stationary Systems - Compact Bulldog Bone, Taz LOV 2.
All the above systems apart from the Taz performed similarly to allow the climber a fluid motion. Obviously there are minor differences in technique to release each device but this is hardly worth mentioning. Being that the Taz is designed more for vertical use than Arboreal demands means that subtle descent while weighted at an angle is less than intuitive.
Returns back to free hanging space or the ‘traverse across the pendulum’ are acutely different. Mental input usually begins with a desire to clasp the fist tightly and close the body at the elbow, as though the climber had lost functionality with the rest of the body. Shuddering footwork and this repetitive and irresponsible arm movement will certainly cut short a climbers working life-span. With that said and the appropriate body sense and soft touch applied it becomes a pattern of taking slack into the system and tending it as efficiently and safely as possible while the climber shortens the distance back to free-hanging space. Branch morphology is endless and there are countless features that help and hinder the climber, whenever possible mind that legs remain open, centre of gravity low and at least one arm able to give assistance in balance. The Blakes system functions the worst as two hands must be used to tend slack, placing a pulley beneath the hitch allows one handed slack tending but at the sacrifice of using the rope for balance. ART’s Spiderjack 3 was easily the most functional within the Dynamic tools as one hand can be used for balance and slack tending. Stationary slack tending differs slightly as the climber must develop sense to create a resultant force above the belay point before removing slack, this motion aids in balance but on extreme pendulums is difficult to effect. While Stationary systems leave one with a feeling of extreme happiness it is in this extreme position where the Spiderjack 3 really shines.