Ladders Of Limbs In Tree Climbing Championship At The Morton Arboretum
Thrilling Annual Event Is Pro Tree Climbers’ ExTREEm Sport
LISLE, IL (August 11, 2006) – Sometimes, it’s just plain fun to be at the end of your rope.
Although tree climbing is serious business for the men and women who do it professionally, things take a decidedly fun turn when they start tossing ropes at the 2006 Illinois Tree Climbing Competition at The Morton Arboretum, September 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors will also have a chance to do some climbing as well, and take part in other engaging activities.
“I was watching video of it and thinking ‘this looks fun’,” said Arboretum coordinator Diana Fischer-Woods. “People who’ve never seen anything like this will really find it unique,” she added.
Up to 30 professional tree climbers – all members of the Illinois Arborist Association (IAA) – will vie for the first place prizes of $1,000 in climbing gear and all-expenses paid trips to Hawaii where the international championships are held next July. Men and women compete in separate divisions.
Each climber must successfully complete five, timed events that require them to climb, run, and jump in white oaks. In “Work Climb,” they must travel to four “stations” in the tree and ring a bell. During “Aerial Rescue,” contestants must retrieve and safely bring to the ground a 140-pound dummy, simulating an actual rescue of a tree climber. In “Secured Footlock” and “Belayed Speed Climb,” climbers must ascend a rope 40- and 50-feet respectively within 60-seconds, and ring a bell. Contestants often complete this task in only 16-20 seconds! In “Throwline,” competitors must throw a rope and hit two of six targets 35-feet to 60-feet high.
The top 4 finishers proceed immediately to the Master’s Challenge, which combines three or four of the earlier events into one final competition. The event is scored on safety, tree entry, fluidness and skill, and must be completed in 20-minutes.
Additionally, there is a “corporate challenge” in which three to five contestants from a company compete against a group from one or more other companies. The winning company gets its name on a large “cup” which circulates year after year, much like hockey’s Stanley Cup.
Climbers will not wear any spikes or do anything that would damage trees, said April Toney, IAA spokeswoman.
“These are pros who will, at times, use the rope to avoid putting too much weight on a branch, for their own safety and for the health of the tree,” Toney said.
Additionally, IAA members will teach visitors age 5 and older how to climb ropes to a 40-foot height in “Family Climb” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Four persons can climb side-by-side at the same time.
“This event is designed to help our visitors appreciate and enjoy nature’s gifts by engaging them directly with trees,” Fischer-Woods said.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of more than 3,700 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CDT) and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST). The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) and 9:30 to 4 p.m. (CST). Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630/968-0074 to learn more.
Media Contact: Gina Tedesco, 630-725-2103,