How to Climb a Tree


Climbing trees is always an exhilarating experience. Whether you are 10 years old or 55 years old, there is something thrilling about reaching up and grabbing onto branches and pulling yourself higher and higher. 

Of course, tree climbing can be a very dangerous activity. It is important to properly scout and thoroughly analyze the tree you wish to conquer. One of the first things you can look at is the tree's roots. Are they healthy and firmly planted into the ground? Or are they rotting and lifting out of the ground? After that, you need to look up and plan your climb. Does it require a boost to get to the first level of thick, quality branches? Are you going to climb up and quickly get stuck due to broken, insecure branches?  You don't want to waste your precious climbing time on a tree that simply cannot be conquered.

Free Climbing Trees

If you're looking to free climb trees, it is highly recommended that you follow the 3-limb rule. What we mean by the 3-limb rule is to always have at least two arms and one leg on a firm branch (Or vice versa, two legs, and one arm) as you climb. Climbing trees can be very unpredictable and you never know just how dead or rotten a branch is from the inside. The 3-limb rule will help distribute your weight ensuring that no one branch is holding too much weight, and it will protect you from a branch breaking by having two other limbs securely on two other branches.

Climbing Rope and Harness

Climbing a tree with a rope and harness is one of the safest methods of tree climbing. In it relatively inexpensive and will allow you to conquer the highest most intimidating tree. You will need a long, durable climbing rope, anywhere from 15-20 ft (3/4 inch thickness) should be good to get started. On top of a rope and harness, you will need a locking carabiner, one that is specifically designed for tree climbing. Once you have those three items (we also HIGHLY recommend using a tree climbing helmet) you are ready to climb! Stretch out that arm and shoulder, and give the rope a powerful toss over a thick, healthy-looking branch. The rope should wrap around the branch and stay as close as possible to the trunk of the tree, this is where the branch is the strongest.

Spur Climbing

Spur climbing is one of the oldest and most well-known tree climbing techniques and is a popular method for arborists, tree service technicians, wooden pole climbers, and even loggers. Spur climbing is only for serious climbers, who are ready to invest in several pieces of climbing equipment. The average spur climber will require, spurs, a harness, a flipline, a flipline adjuster, a prusik, and a carabiner. While this is a fantastic method of climbing trees, we highly recommend that you conduct thorough research on how to correctly ascend and descend a tree while spur climbing.

Closing Notes

Whether you are planning to free climb or utilize proper tree climbing gear, do not forget to take the time to properly scout out your next tree. Most tree climbing accidents come from people who did not take the necessary steps to visualize their climb and assess the condition of the tree. Study the tree... Climb slow...Climb smart!

If you're looking to kickstart your tree climbing adventures and are in need of high-quality, reliable equipment, check out Adventure Gear Co.'s large selection of tree climbing gear.