The Art of Tree Climbing – A Sport that can Save Nature & Restore your Health


If you’ve ever climbed a tree when you were young, you may remember that feeling of exhilaration, freedom, and accomplishment. Though it may have been just fun and games back then, as an adult, you are invited to take tree climbing a bit more seriously. You may even choose to make it your profession! Let’s peel back the layers to reveal the often-overlooked, arboreal world of tree climbing and what it has to offer those who never forgot that childhood thrill.

Professional Tree Climbing

Tree climbing for sport may be the first thing to spring into mind. An annual competition, aptly titled “The International Tree Climbing Championship” (ITCC), is held to demonstrate the skills of some of the most proficient arborists across the globe. As a competitive learning experience, each arborist is challenged to safely climb and maneuver a tree while carrying out a set of tree-care duties under the ticking clock. Branch pruning, limb walking, and even emergency aerial rescue are all tested for speed and agility. Taking care of nature has never been so exhilarating!

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The majority of those who partake in the ITCC are professional arborists, also known as tree surgeons. Today, arborists are the most in-demand tree climbers, as many works to keep city environments beautiful and safe for those below. But there are many other careers in tree climbing, including treehouse and zipline construction, arboriculture research, and aerial rigging for multimedia capture. Scaling tall and treacherous trees is no easy feat; it takes a lot of specialized skill and training, as well as top-grade arborist equipment which you can get from various places such as to properly navigate through the foliage and avoid dangerous falls.

Canopy Ecotourism

If you’d like to get some first-hand experience on what scaling a tree is like, canopy tourism, a form of ecotourism, is a new fad that has sprouted up in the basin of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. You may be surprised to learn that the canopy, 10 meters thick, is home to nearly 90 percent of all animals in the rainforest. Professional tree climbing guides offer anywhere from hour-long tours to a full week trek across these canopy ecosystems. Zipline systems are also set up for those who want to experience an unforgettable ride 100 feet above the rainforest floor.

Tree-Assisted Therapy

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Tree climbing can make for a great sport, profession, and tourist experience, but a Japanese non-profit seeks to remind us of its healing power and rehabilitative benefits. Treehab, led by Dr. John Gathright, is a program that helps disabled children experience the therapeutic nature of tree climbing. Treehab has designed specialized adaptive gear and set up training programs to help those with special needs safely scale trees for rehabilitative and recreational purposes. Successfully climbing a tree provides a sense of accomplishment that can’t be found elsewhere; thus, Treehab has transformed many lives over the years.

The One-of-a-Kind Experience of Climbing a Tree

The canopies of tree-tops are an often-forgotten and undisturbed ecosystem. Thankfully, proper training and equipment help us maintain its fragile existence. The physical and mental challenges required don’t get in the way of the therapeutic and meditative benefits of climbing trees. If you had adventures scaling the tree in your yard as a kid, you may want to revisit this challenge as an adult. Tree climbing gives us direct access to living nature, striking awe and awareness for the ancient ecosystems that continue to tower above.