Sackville woman qualifies for international tree climbing championship
Sackville’s Becky Aurell will compete in the International Society of Arboriculture’s 2017 International Tree Climbing Championship in Washington, D.C., this summer. Aurell is pictured above taking part in last summer’s Atlantic Tree Climbers’ Competition.
Still, she doesn’t set high expectations when going up against world-class climbers.
“Basically, if I’m not in last
place, I’ll be really pleased.”
Competitors from around the world will compete in five different events: work climb, secured
footlock, belayed speed climb, throwline and aerial rescue before top climbers are selected for a final cumulative event.
They range from ascending a tree as quickly as possible to rescuing a dummy from the branches, with marks awarded for control of the situation and efficient response as if it were a real emergency.
Becky’s father, Kevin Anderson, runs Woodpecker Tree Care in Sackville and says while he’s never dealt with an emergency like that, the skills tested in the competition are the same he uses every day in his business – only faster. The work can look dangerous, and certainly can be without the proper techniques, but he says it is often misconstrued as more hazardous than it actually is.
He looks forward to the competition, but doesn’t expect a podium finish either. People at these big events are both very serious and very strict, with many rules involved, he says. Climbers are scored on their speed, technique and safety throughout the climbs, losing points for any unsafe or improper actions.
While all the climbing may look strenuous, proper use of equipment keeps it from being as exhausting as it looks, he says. Still, not just anyone could do it.
“If you don’t have the technique, it could kill you,” he says with a laugh.
Prior to the international competition, Aurell will take part in a training event in Connecticut on May 6.