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Who says tree climbing is a children’s game?

Forty of the best tree climbers from across the Prairies were at Kildonan Park this weekend, competing in the annual International Society of Arboriculture Prairie Chapter Tree Climbing Championship.

“The objective is to mimic how an arborist would work a tree in their everyday work life,” said Matt Vinet, chairperson of the event. “They assess the tree and then they install their line in the tree, usually they’ll use a throw bag, it goes through the tree.”

“They either throw it or use a sling shot, install their climbing line, and then they need to move around the tree to four different stations and finish it in 26 minutes.

Vinet added that the fastest competitor doesn’t always win.

“They’re scored on safety,” Vinet said. “If they perform unsafe acts, they’re given a warning; if they perform a second one they’re disqualified and ordered to come down. It’s promoting skill, but the utmost is they’re promoting safety.”

Vinet said the average person would have a tough time accomplishing the feat.

“It’s very difficult,” he said. “Try climbing up a rope 60 feet, hauling up your own body weight.”

It’s also a dangerous profession.

“An arborist gets killed in North America about every three days,” Vinet said.

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