April 9, 2018 /
Jona Elwell

Tree Climbing is Coming to American University


Just in time for the arrival of beautiful spring weather, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (MAC-ISA) is hosting its annual Tree Climbing Championship on the Campus of American University at 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW in the Quad Area. The event is open to the public and free of charge – what a perfect way to enjoy the day.

And the best part for you? Anyone attending the event who is more than 4 years old can try out tree climbing equipment and techniques in a designated recreational climb area between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Professionals will assist to ensure safety.

While you’re having a blast swinging (safely) from a tree, 40 Arborists from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia will compete for top scores in climbing events that test their speed, agility, and safety. Saturday’s competitions include a work climb, which tests the competitor’s ability to move about the tree using a climbing line and saddle/harness; an aerial rescue event, which is a timed event that tests the competitor’s ability to climb to and safely lower a climber who is unable to descend without assistance; and a belayed speed climb, which tests the competitor’s ability to climb a predetermined route from the ground to about 60 feet up a tree using a belayed climbing system for safety. There will also be an Ascent and Throwline event.

But the competition is far from over! On Sunday, the top four to five climbers will compete in the Masters’ Challenge, an event that tests their overall productivity and skill with a rope and saddle/harness in the tree. Competitors are judged and scored on their knowledge and their ability to demonstrate mastery of different climbing techniques, use of equipment, poise in the tree, and safe working practices.

Even more glory is at stake – the overall male and female winners will go on to represent the Mid-Atlantic Chapter in the International Society of Arboriculture’s International Tree Climbing Championship in Columbus, Ohio in August. (Remember when our very own National Arboretum hosted those in July?)

Check out some highlights from past tree climbing events: