Tree Climbing--simple, quick?
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
Mosquito 19-Jul-09
buckiller 19-Jul-09
medley 19-Jul-09
Candor 19-Jul-09
Mosquito 19-Jul-09
Russ Koon 20-Jul-09
MF 20-Jul-09
Termin8r 20-Jul-09
Mosquito 22-Jul-09
From: Mosquito
Tree climbing for hunting--what's the best way?

Seeking efficient, quiet, light-wight, low-cost, inexpensive, and reasonably safe means. I bowhunt early (low) and late season (high) deep (weight, noise) into public lands (no lineman gaffs, bolts, screw-ins). Are climbing sticks (e.g., LW, GoMuddy; $$ @ elevation) basically "it?" Any homemade options? Or thinking outside the proverbial "box," anyone ... (1) use rock/tree-climber methods (e.g., ascenders, special knots)? (2) wear ice walking strap-ons? (3) homemake abrasive-sole sneakers (rappelling style)? (4) build homemade, clamp-on straps with foot bump-outs (light, compact) or sticks? Thoughts? TIA

From: buckiller
You can make a set of climbing blocks out of 1/2" nylon rop and 4x4x3 inch blocks of wood.

Cut the block to size.

Drill a 1/2 hole through the 3" section of the block 1 1/2" deep in from the edge.

Burn the end of your nylon rope with a lighter and twist with you fingers till it come to a point.

Slide th erope through the pre-drilled hole and tie of with a loop Knot on one end and a regular half hitch on the other.

Make the rope at least 6' long (longer if hunting big trees).

Tie around the, through your eye loop knot and tighten back with a to half hitches.

Total cost for a set of 10 steps: Less than $$16.00...

From: medley
Unfortunately, this is the hardest part I deal with as well. I use a tree saddle, and love it, but I hunt public ground and it is such a pain getting up a tree. This has even caused me to hunt on the ground more, which I also love. But there are always a couple places that you feel you must go up.

I use LW sticks for now. They are easy to use compared to other options, but none of the options are that great.

I envy the folks that have their trees spiked, and just walk to the tree and just climb and hunt.

From: Candor
I know a lot of folks don't like screw in steps...but my experience has been that if you get the correct brand they are a piece of cake. Cranford EZ climbs tap into the hardes of trees in nothing flat. I use them for my loc-on style and they are fast and ultra flexible....

From: Mosquito

Mosquito's Link
Tree climbing appears quite involved. Frog walking appears pretty slick if convertible for hunting.

BTW, Medley, I've read your posts on the Tree Saddle. Piqued my interest. Was strongly considering a LW sit & climb. Now leaning toward the tree saddle but getting up the tree becomes an issue. Have been ground hunting with leafy camo mesh. Also considering Ghillie for ground hunts.

From: Russ Koon
Candor, I think the problem with screw-ins wasn't a dislike for them, but the fact that they are illegal in most public forests, along with the other types mentioned that penetrate the bark of the trees.

Mosquito, IMO a good climber can't be beat if you have the suitable trees available. The safety of being hooked up to the tree with your harness all the way up and down is outstanding. The weight is a tad more than a hang-on, but with a padded waist belt taking the load off the shoulders, I can carry my Summit all day. And by the time you add the weight of any sticks or other climbing device to the stand weight, the climber weight is competitive.

I'd say a hang-on with sticks would probably be the best option if climber-suitable trees are not available in your favorite spots.

Looking at a way to futher reduce the weight of my climber, for those treks into the way-back places, too. I think a strap seat could be used instead of the seat section of the climber. I'd still want the umbilical cord from safety rope to climber stand section, and the seat strap could be anchored to the safety rope also, maintaining safe hookup at all times while reducing stand weight by about half.

I haven't hunted from my idea yet. Made one test run with a wooden seat similar to a swing and a short bar to use as a hand climber, but didn't get the right proportions for the hand bar and found it difficult to climb with. Hope to test model B sometime soon. Still have confidence in the basic idea.

From: MF
Lone Wolf Alpha Hand Climber. With SOP harness weight is about 14lbs. Packs flat, super quiet setting up and climbing and descending.

I use to be a lock on nut for the last 25 years at least.Putting up 10 to 15 a year.Now I'm a ground hunter a lot less work and a lot hard to hunt.But I'm geter done.But I learned early on.I used the self cleaning drill bits and a dewalt and 3/8 barn nails.In 15 minites I was there and after I set my stand and climbed down I'd removed the last 6 or 7 nails and hide them close by or carryed them in my pack.You had to redrill each year in most trees.I'd leave the top nails.Got to keep the honest people honest.I still lose a stand or two a year. But if you must climb trees this is the only way to go.

From: Termin8r

Try the Cranford Rope Steps! They are the ticket for you!

Each LW Stick is 2.5 lbs. and a total length of 32" (or 16" between steps).

Assuming 24" between sticks and 24" between the ground and lowest step and from the highest step to your stand), you can get to 20.7 feet with four sticks weighing 10 lbs.

However, assuming 24" between steps (the same distance between sticks above) and the same 24" between the ground and lowest step and from the highest step to the stand, you can get to 22 feet with 10 Cranford Rope steps weighing 9.5 ounces each, or a total of approximately 6 pounds.

With the LW Sticks you have four straps versus the 10 straps for the steps (not that big of a deal) to connect to the tree. The rope steps are a breeze to install and disconnect.

I can be up to set my stand going up the tree once in under 10 minutes. I carry all 10 steps in a cheap Walmart fanny pack that I wear in front of my waist. With the steps in the fanny pack, I can manuever very quietly and quickly through the thickest woods compared to carrying sticks. You also have to find a way to get all four sticks up quietly to install.

John Eberhart ( recommends steps versus sticks for all of his hunting.

Good Luck!

From: Mosquito
John--thanks for the post. The 24-in spacing seems pretty comfortable, better than 16 or 18-in.

Medley--Have you tried the rope steps?

  • Sitka Gear