Today I watched part of the 2019 North American Tree Climbing Championship in Balboa Park!
Professional arborists–members of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)–came together this weekend from all around North America for this big event. Competitors swung about on ropes like nimble spiders in a bid to be crowned tree climbing champion!
I arrived just in time to watch the final climb, which took place in the intersecting branches of two tall eucalyptus trees on Balboa Park’s West Mesa.
The object, I learned, is for arborists to score the most points. Competitors are given a time limit to climb from red flag to red flag and perform various tasks. Points can be earned for things like the set up of the climbing line and entry into the tree, rope management, posture and balance, descent and landing. Judges could also reward bonus points for skill, style, presentation, innovative techniques and safe work practices.
Now when I walk about San Diego and see workers climbing in trees and cutting away branches, I’ll pause a bit longer to watch. I’ll have a greater appreciation of the skill and athleticism that is required!