Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

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Rand
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Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by Rand » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:04 pm

freeclimb.png
We've all climbed trees, but most of us have probably never climbed a tree like professional climber Chris Sharma just did while on a visit to his home state of California. The 34-year-old free-climbed a 253-foot, 700-year-old redwood in Eureka, stopping along the way to pull samples used to measure the water status of the tree. The project, which Sharma undertook with two UC Berkeley tree biologists, was designed to gauge the health of these trees amid California's historically intense drought. (This particular tree was doing fine.)
http://www.outsideonline.com/1991306/4- ... mbing-tree

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4E-rw3AP_o

Joe

Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by Joe » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:15 am

Just curious, but how does the safety rope he's using manage to move up with him- so if and when he slips, he isn't going to drop far?
Joe

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Will Blozan
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by Will Blozan » Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:19 am

Joe,

At about the 1:00 mark you can see the belayeer beside the tree.

Will

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pattyjenkins1
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by pattyjenkins1 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:20 am

I just forwarded this post with a "what the hell?" to Cameron Williams. He's a PhD student at UC Berkeley studying water transport in redwoods. Some of you may remember his talk at our Rendezvous in 2013. I'll post his response.
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Patty Jenkins
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mdvaden
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by mdvaden » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:31 am

Will Blozan wrote:Joe,

At about the 1:00 mark you can see the belayeer beside the tree.

Will
Plus the camera above him didn't climb up there all by itself. Similar to the Nat Geo videos with Steve Sillett. The photographers or whoever has the cameras have already climbed and rigged the same, or also adjacent trees. His safety line would have been installed using the same crossbow method, and possibly a climber selectively placing it over a better positioned branch.

It would be interesting to know more about the exact location and the particular permit process. At first I wondered if it was privately owned old growth, because the parks are really touchy these days about climbing and photography and permits. When my last research permit was in the process of being issued, some useful insight was relayed to me about various aspects of permits, activities, climbing, photography, etc..

Its probably okay to share that compared to what was shared with me, the free-climb aspect of the video was surprising ... IF, that is ...it was with a permit and in, say, Redwood National and State Parks. Personally, I think its a pretty cool presentation and activity, if done very selectively.
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Don
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by Don » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:55 pm

Having had a role in Park research permitting at Grand Canyon NP, I have a sense of some of the issues involved. As the young man said, these are biological entities, not just an achievement. I believe their research goals were valid. The questions that National Parks have to ask are many, but fall under the category of least impactful action (or could this activity been undertaken with less impact). I'm not sure that he needed to free climb, as I believe his 'forced friction' mode of ascending up bark 'ridges' would be detrimental if he weren't the only one to climb up that tree, that way. The environment that IS THE TREE is only recently being grasped and our increasing our knowledge of the tiny fungal growths on redwood bark, the epiphytical communities, etc., should precede our impacting it. He could have done that using the techniques of his coworkers, biologists themselves, who certainly had less impact than he did.
That said, I've eyed the bark of bigger redwoods and imagined such climbs myself...
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mdvaden
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by mdvaden » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:53 pm

Don wrote:Having had a role in Park research permitting at Grand Canyon NP, I have a sense of some of the issues involved. As the young man said, these are biological entities, not just an achievement. I believe their research goals were valid. The questions that National Parks have to ask are many, but fall under the category of least impactful action (or could this activity been undertaken with less impact). I'm not sure that he needed to free climb, as I believe his 'forced friction' mode of ascending up bark 'ridges' would be detrimental if he weren't the only one to climb up that tree, that way. The environment that IS THE TREE is only recently being grasped and our increasing our knowledge of the tiny fungal growths on redwood bark, the epiphytical communities, etc., should precede our impacting it. He could have done that using the techniques of his coworkers, biologists themselves, who certainly had less impact than he did.
That said, I've eyed the bark of bigger redwoods and imagined such climbs myself...
The difference I caught wind of in the redwood parks, is the rangers / staff are trying avoid presentations or photos that involve climbing redwoods.

Probably because they have enough illegal climbers as it is, and they are trying keep from inspiring more people doing it, or even asking about it.

I heard that climbing permits now have a stipulation about photography or video not being used for commercial purposes. So I'm curious with the free-climb video having Red Bull's name added when I viewed it, if that was some relevant, or not.

The Santa Cruz redwoods may be a completely different permit office and philosophy than the parks from Humboldt Redwoods SP on up to Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP.

The scientific stuff in the video was good education. The rest the of the free climb seems more or less fun and adventure.
M. D. Vaden of Oregon = http://www.mdvaden.com

200 Pages - Coast Redwoods - http://www.mdvaden.com/grove_of_titans.shtml

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Rand
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by Rand » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:04 pm

mdvaden wrote: I heard that climbing permits now have a stipulation about photography or video not being used for commercial purposes. So I'm curious with the free-climb video having Red Bull's name added when I viewed it, if that was some relevance, or not.
My assumption was that Redbull bankrolled the filming/editing, like they do for stunt bicycle riders, wing suit jumpers, etc. Such videos show up on Outside a fair bit. So like I said 'sorta', but the footage of the redwoods was too pretty to pass up. I figures that others would enjoy it even with the commercial/daredevil stink lingering about.

As an aside, I heard a funny/scary story from a park official up in Michigan. Apparently some dude thought Redbull was a suitable proxy for food for a weekend backpacking trip [Uhm...] Eventually, rescuers came after him and found him locked up in seizures at his camp site. Ooopsie...

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Don
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by Don » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:19 pm

As one who has been gainfully employed by National Parks, National Forests and in some way responsible for implementing their legislated mandates, I can suggest that State Parks and State Forests mostly have different mandates, and more often than not are less centralized. It's not surprising that the various Santa Cruz redwood groves/parks allow the above mentioned activities, albeit with some trepidation I suppose.

You may be interested in:
http://santacruzredwoods.org/
which is a " Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument campaign", a worthy undertaking if increased protection for these trees, at the southern extent of their natural range, where they are more sensitive to things like droughts, atmospheric moisture relations (the way they 'screen' water out of fog), etc.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

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View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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pattyjenkins1
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Re: Free climbing trees for science (sorta)

Post by pattyjenkins1 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:22 am

Here's Cam Williams's comment about the climb:

I know the people from UC Berkeley that were involved, but I was not a part of this project myself. The climber featured is a world-class professional rock climber (Chris Sharma), who for the entire climb was on belay via a long rope over a pulley near the treetop. My research friends got a small dataset out of it, but the primary objective was for Chris to try to climb the bark of a redwood which rekindled his childhood memories of living around redwoods in Santa Cruz, CA.

For the record and being polite, I think this is really "unfortunate," to say the least. This type of self-serving peak-bagging -- just for the fame and hell of it -- is exactly what conscionable tree climbers want to avoid.

I will send Cam the link to all of your comments.

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