Tree Climbing Championship

Many people who visit the Morton Arboretum are there to admire the different types of trees, while others visit to branch out and reach a much higher level.

Tree Climbing Championships, hosted by the Illinois Arborist Association, was held as a way to demonstrate the value of teamwork and to increase awareness about arborists.

“We run it to show how tree climbers can get in the tree and take care of the tree with doing very little impact to the tree and doing it as safe as possible and as quick as possible,” said April Toney, Executive Director of the Illinois Arborist Association.

Each of the 22 climbers had to complete five obstacles, which included the work climb, throw line and everyone’s favorite – the aerial rescue event.

“Through the aerial rescue it is to understand what needs to be done during a situation where we need to bring one of our coworkers down for whatever reason got hurt. We train and then we practice aerial rescue through the year and its important for us to have a station that shows how it needs to be done,” said Eduardo Medina, Special Advisor and Organize of the Tree Climbing Champions.

Most arborists completed events in just under a minute and climbed heights of up to 60 feet; and for climber James Jane, he says this profession takes a lot of strong will.

“You have to be comfortable with the situations you’re put in and you have to believe in yourself and the gear you have and everyone else there whether you’re the guy in the tree or the guy in the ground,” said Jane.

And while most of the climbers participated for pure enjoyment, others were in it to win the cash prizes and a chance to move on to nationals.

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