Three Essentials For The Climbing Arborist

Gear up with the latest equipment to make your day-to-day climbing a breeze.

Every climber has their own system and adapted techniques to move efficiently in the canopy. That being said, we can all benefit from a few essential pieces for kit to make life easier. With a little thought, the following three items can make your day-to-day climbing more efficient.

The humble hitch cord
The Hitch has been a standard of the climbing arborist since ropes were first used to access and work in trees. Techniques and systems improved a lot since the use of a simple Blake’s hitch and the addition of specific hitchcords has opened up a variety of new options and systems for ascending and moving around with ease. With the rise in use of mechanical devices it’s easy to forget the humble hitch cord, just remember these are useful in more ways than one and the choice of materials is critical when deciding which to get.

The two main base materials used for hitch cords are nylon and polyester. Not too long ago almost all kernmantle ropes and cords where made from nylon, however over the past few years we have seen an increase in the use of polyester with many benefits. Polyester has a higher abrasion resistance as well as no loss of strength when wet, Polyester also has lower elongation increasing effeminacy while ascending even if only by a small amount.

The addition of Aramid into the sheath increase durability and resistance to glazing from fast descents.

All Nylon fiber cord can be purchased by the meter off the roll, however these can melt easily during fast descents and don’t fare so well against abrasion, these are a great option for blocks in pulley systems and to have as back ups for the mechanical device users.

Sterling’ RIT Hitch cords are a great example of a highly durable and non glazing cord for everyday use with a tight Aramid sheath around a Nylon core, this offers the highest level of abrasion and glazing resistance, however can be a little stiff to use.The Sterling Flex cord and the NEW Edelrid TIBOR use a polyester base with Aramid.The Sterling Flex cord has a polyester core with a blended polyester/ Aramid sheath whilst the Edelrid Tibor uses a blended Polyester/Aramid in both the sheath and core.

These blends create a softer handle and with better bite whilst still maintaining a high level of heat and abrasion resistance.

Tool holders
The easiest way to access your chainsaw is by fitting a tool holder like the highly durable alloy DMM Vault – with the option of either a wire gate or a locking gate for extra security while ascending and moving around.

The great feature of the lock mechanism on the DMM Vault is its ability to be used as a snap gate for fast clipping and unclipping once you are in the canopy.

The Edelrid SM Clip 3R, made from recycled rope fibers melted down into a strong plastic, is a great option as a secondary, for fast access to your flipline or for those on a budget – be aware that the plastic options do have lower weight limits and can pop open more easily when pressed against a limb or trunk of the tree.

Accessory carabiners
When DMM released the XSRE biner, arborists have been coming up with new and creative uses for this small but mighty little carabiner. Whether it’s just connecting saw lanyards to the harness or used to attach your retrieval cone with its rope piecing keylock nose, there are hundreds of uses for this little guy, now available in a screwlock version as well as with a captive bar. You’ll never regret having a few of these on your harness.

Edelrid’s new Mini-O shares many of the same great features and will be available later this year.

For more info and to find your local stockist, contact Expedition Equipment on (02) 9417 5755 or send an email at

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