Cleaning up a tree for climbing

We have had volunteers come out for two workdays so far to help us clean up a beautiful white oak at David Henry Hardigree Wildlife Sanctuary. This tree was entirely engulfed by English Ivy, a non-native invasive species that climbs and engulfs a tree, eventually killing it by cutting out its sunlight and source of food. I had the concept that vines can just be torn off a tree. Sure, small vines can be. But vines that have had the opportunity to grow and proliferate for years and years… not so much. Check out this photo:
these vines are thick thick thick!
You can see that these vines look like branches, they are so thick! After being cut with a saw, they have to be pried off the tree with a crowbar and a lot of muscle and sweat! This is done section by section… a tedious, hard process!
I wanted to climb the tree and see how everything looked and felt from aloft after our volunteers did such a fantastic job cleaning it two weeks ago. This is a beautiful tree, and the settings are very high settings! My rope was anchored at 70 feet, but I couldn’t make the last five feet due to the vine situation, as you can see.
you can see what a mess it is climbing in this
As I looked around, I cringed at the thought of putting a rope through some of these settings that haven’t been cleaned out yet. It would be a nightmare of tangled mess trying to get rope untangled from that…

This is why it’s a work in progress, and these things take time!
While I was climbing, I had some great ground crew, busy chasing after lizards and making sure the baby was entertained when he wasn’t sleeping.
Sean caught the lizard

both kids comfort Ethan

I’m excited about hosting a group climb in this tree. The view from above is just amazing!
view from the tree
Not to mention the view looking down. For those who have a mild fear of heights, it’s a great tree for overcoming that and learning to trust the tree and get to know him more intimately.
comfortable aloft, and that blue tarp is where ethan lies

Oh and let’s not forget about the critters you can find up in the tree. Look at this adorable little spider hiding in the cambium on the trunk. So cute!
spider hiding on the trunk of the tree

I look forward to our next workday. Hopefully we can clear out the rest of this ivy and start having amazing climbs!!

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