Craig’s climbing down af­ter 16 years

Piron­gia ar­borist on solid ground

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Af­ter 16 years of climbing in re­gional and na­tional ar­borist com­pe­ti­tions, Piron­gia’s Craig Wil­son is hang­ing up his har­ness.

The Wil­son Trees and Landscaping owner has had a stel­lar year of climbing.

In Au­gust he rep­re­sented New Zealand for the sec­ond time on the world stage in the In­ter­na­tional Tree Climbing Cham­pi­onship (ITCC).

The chal­lenge, held at Franklin Park in Colum­bus, Ohio, fea­tured five pre­lim­i­nary events which sim­u­lated workre­lated tasks when prun­ing and car­ing for trees.

The five events were the work climb (which in­cluded five sta­tions), aerial res­cue (us­ing a dummy), throw­line (in­stalling climbing lines), foot­lock (climbing a ver­ti­cal rope) and speed climbing.

The com­peti­tors who scored the high­est in the pre­lim­i­nary events com­peted in the Masters’ Chal­lenge cham­pi­onship for the ti­tle of male and fe­male world cham­pion.

Craig came sec­ond in the pre­lim­i­nar­ies and fifth over­all in the Masters’ fi­nal.

He was up against the the best 50 male and 25 fe­male climbers from over the world.

One of New Zealand’s fe­male climbers, Chrissy Spence, came sec­ond over­all and James Kil­patrick, an­other male New Zealand rep­re­sen­ta­tive, won first place over­all.

James, Craig and Chrissy — in that or­der — were the three fastest climbers in the pre­lim­i­nar­ies’ work climb

Craig also placed third over­all in the aerial res­cue.

“The life-sized dummy this year was placed with legs ei­ther side of a branch union and was un­con­scious and un­re­spon­sive af­ter an un­con­trolled swing,” Craig says.

“I per­formed a method called a ‘pick and go’ where I used my own body weight to lift the dummy out of the crotch and bring him down.”

Craig says tem­per­a­tures reached 34 de­grees cel­sius over the com­pe­ti­tion week­end.

“The heat was an added fac­tor to con­tend with.”

But that didn’t stop Craig from hav­ing a blast with his wife Talia and the other com­peti­tors.

“The at­mos­phere was fun. We had booked a big house which 15 peo­ple from New Zealand, Aus­tralia and Ger­many shared. It’s great how even in such a com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment the level of ca­ma­raderie and friend­ship is still para­mount.”

In Septem­ber, Craig climbed in a new com­pe­ti­tion called Red Bull Branched Out, in Welling­ton, Aus­tralia, a small town five hours in­land from Syd­ney.

Around 100 climbers from all over the world com­peted in the event run by Ar­bori­cul­ture Aus­tralia.

“The rules and set-up were very dif­fer­ent for this com­pe­ti­tion,” Craig says.

“It’s ba­si­cally just a race from the top of a large tree which has bells of vary­ing dif­fi­culty to reach.

“The aim is to get from the top of the tree to the land­ing sta­tion on the ground the fastest but hit­ting all bells on the de­scent.

“It was a knock-out sce­nario. Each time the suc­cess­ful group reached the next stage, ex­tra bells were put in the tree.”

“Un­like na­tional and world com­pe­ti­tions, the com­pe­ti­tion is just about speed and de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

Craig says the com­pe­ti­tion was fierce, but he made it through to the fi­nals, com­ing third over­all.

Now, af­ter an epic year of com­pet­ing, Craig wants to fo­cus his en­ergy on his busi­ness and fam­ily life.

“It feels like the right de­ci­sion to make, and it was great to see fel­low climber and friend Scott For­rest take out the top spot again.”

Talia Wil­son says it’s been a won­der­ful 16 years of com­pe­ti­tions.

“It’s been awe­some for our two girls to see and sup­port their dad, too.

“They’re so proud, as are the rest of us who sup­port him.”

Photo / Sup­plied

Piron­gia’s Craig Wil­son with his 2017 and 2018 climbing achieve­ments.

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