The Morton Arboretum will host the 34th annual International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC), July 24-25. Approximately 50 male and female arborists from 14 countries around the globe will demonstrate their profession’s sophisticated and unique techniques as they vie to become world champions in their respective divisions.
Additionally, there will be fun, family activities including a chance to climb trees like the professionals do. But these contestants from around the world will take center stage.
“These competitions take your breath away. The arborists use incredible speed and amazing balance to get up into and move throughout the tree safely,” said Brian Malatia, Arboretum arborist.
During “Aerial Rescue,” climbers must retrieve and safely bring to the ground a 110- pound “Rescue Randy” dummy by going through all the steps that an arborist would undertake in a real rescue, even simulating a 911 call prior to entering the tree.
In “Work Climb,” contestants must travel to four “stations” in the tree and ring a bell. 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.
In each event the top three scorers are awarded medals and cash prizes. The top overall scorers advance to the Masters’ Challenge Championship held on the second day of competition. The male and female winners of this round are named champions, and receive cash and other prizes.
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) chapters around the world hold local competitions. Winners advance to the international round. In addition to displaying their professional climbing skills, “these arborists get an opportunity to learn about new techniques and equipment from one another,” said Jim Skiera, Executive Director of the ISA, which coordinates the competition.
The championships also introduce the public to these sophisticated tree climbing techniques. The “Recreational Tree Climb” provides a thrilling opportunity, free of charge, for visitors to climb a tree as the professionals do, with a harness and ropes. Also, the Arboretum and Illinois Arborist Association will present “Arbor Fair,” featuring family- friendly activities that are enjoyable and educational. The climb and fair occur Saturday, July 24, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The ITCC occurs in conjunction with the ISA International Conference and Trade Show in downtown Chicago, July 26-28. To learn more about ISA conferences or events including the tree climbing competition, visit http://www.isa-arbor.com.