Tree Climbing: Take 1

Reasoning Behind the Climb    

    As an overly proud resident of the midwest, and more specifically growing up in Indiana, I hated listening to people complain about how there was “nothing to do here.”  But to be completely honest, my argument for defence had always been a little weak.  Of course, I would make the obvious claim that the average Hoosier’s jump shot is far superior to that of any other average citizen.  And if anyone else in the country knew what Euchre was, then Mid-Westerners would dominate.  Unfortunately, however, when we are being compared to Rock Climbing, Surfing, Skiing, and other various extreme sports that require Mountains or Oceans as playing fields, sometimes basketball and card games are just not that interesting.

    It wasn’t until a late night conversation in college with a group of friends who were sitting in a circle and passing around an idea while listening to “Godspeed You Black Emperor” when we came up with this theory: We should start climbing trees.  And like, Indiana could be known for how good the tree climbing is here, man.  The following Sunday, a few of us woke up bright and early (11:30am) and took to the trees near White River.  Now, at the time, if it were not for my lack in climbing experience accompanied by my crippling fear of heights, I truly believe the sport would have flourished.

    Fast forward five years later. Now, with some climbing experience under my harness and some properly expensive equipment, we have decided to take to the trees once more.

The Gear

Gear I Wish I Had

  • Helmet
  • Rope Protectors
  • Cambium

Location-Broad Ripple Park 

    Broad Ripple Park is a beautiful place to be in the Indiana Spring.  With fields big enough for flag football, shade cool enough to cover continuous drum circles, and trees numerous enough to climb in solitude, it was the perfect place to host our first outing of Tree Climbing.

First Climb

    The first climb was a success in that no one was killed.  I think we need to work a little on setting protection.  It is a definite adjustment from setting routes on rock.  But like anything, it will take practice and research.  We did learn that Tree Climbing requires pants.  We came away with a few scratches here and there, but nothing that couldn’t be prevented from a layer of Levis.  

Great Sources

    After digging around on the internet, I have realized that we were way out of our league when it came to climbing trees.  There have been many tree climbing organizations throughout the web who have been providing information, training, and forums for many years.  And despite our naive attempt to start a new movement, we now realize that we can help contribute to an already existing one.  If you are an experienced tree climber, please feel free to comment and provide us with feedback, suggestions, and other resources.  And if you are an adventurer who is looking for a new hobby, then check out these links below.  They have really helped open my mind to a growing subculture that can flourish in the Mid-West.