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Tree Climbing: How to Spur Climb a Tree

Updated on October 6, 2010

Hopefully there's a good reason that you're interested in learning how to spur climb a tree. It is one of the most commonly used methods for getting up trees but it's a method which has been declining in favor over the years as people have become increasingly aware of the damage that spur climbing can do to the tree. Luckily, there are more earth-friendly methods being developed today that allow you to shimmy up that tree (whatever your reason) without doing damage to it.

But if you're intent on learning how to spur climb a tree, here is what you'll need to know:

  1. Spur climbing has that name because it refers to spurs that are worn to dig into the tree and get the grip that you need to climb up. You'll need these spurs along with some other equipment to get started. So the first step is purchasing that equipment. A local or online outdoors store should have what you need which includes the spurs, a harness, a flipline, a rope or climbing line, and a carabiner. If you happen to have rock climbing equipment, you'll have everything you need except the spurs. Look into innovations in design to select spurs that do less damage to the tree while you climb.
  2. Select your tree. Once you have your equipment, you can choose your tree. This will depend entirely on your reasons for spur climbing, your location and your climbing skills. You'll also want to check the tree for safety in as much as possible from the ground. Look for sturdiness, areas of rot, etc.
  3. Make sure that all of your equipment is on correctly. This means that your harness is on right, the ropes are attached to it appropriately and your carabiner is closed shut.
  4. Start the climb. To do this, you'll toss your flipline on to the tree and allow it to catch to hold your weight. Take the spur and stick it into the side of the tree. Press on it to make sure that it's in correctly and will hold your weight. Lift your leg up and step on to the spur.
  5. Continue the climb. This involves a balanced combination of watching your flipline and moving your spurs. As you climb, the slack on your rope will loosen. You'll need to tighten it to protect you in the event of a fall. As you climb, you'll need to add spurs to continue the climb, checking each appropriately each time and stepping on to it to continue ascent.
  6. Move beyond branches throughout the climb. You may find that this is too difficult to do. If this is the case, you may need additional climbing lines to assist you in climbing over and around the branches.
  7. Reach the pinnacle of the climb. If you're climbing for fun, rest and enjoy the view. If you're climbing for work, take care of what you went there to do. Be aware that you may need to tie your climbing ropes into the tree to be able to remain sturdy enough to work.
  8. Descend the tree. Don't pay any less attention to the climb down than you did on the climb up. The basic steps will be reversed but you'll still be paying attention to your ropes and your spurs.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    vivalady 7 years ago

    Great Hub!!

  • Jen's Solitude profile image

    Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

    I have also seen spur climbing on television. Thanks for the detailed information about how it is done.

  • spedia profile image

    spedia 9 years ago from Poland


    Yes, the equipments are expensive like in other sports :)

    Realy nice job Kathryn!

    Pls see my hub if You intetrested in Sport (Rock) Climbing equipment. Im also looking for fans :) but there is no Climbing group on hubpages :(

  • SunSeven profile image

    SunSeven 9 years ago from Singapore / India

    I have seen spur climbing only on TV. I thought it was a sport!

    I bet the equipments are expensive.

    Best Regards