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Summit Viper Scare
I had a scare last night at the end of my hunt while descending.
I was sitting on the rim descending and adjusting the bottom section over a burl with my feet in the hooks in order to lower the lower section of the stand when all the sudden, the cable came out of one side. I barely caught the bottom of my stand with one foot.
I always tie the bottom to the top, but for some reason, when I ascended, I'd forgotten to do it and the one time I forget, the bottom takes off on me.
What followed was a very difficult motion of getting the bottom up above me, releasing my haul line that was all tangled up with the top now, and tying the top to the bottom, then placing the bottom of the stand over my head and reconnecting it to the tree because I couldn't reconnect it below me and this was nearly impossible because I was at a burl/angle in that particular part of the tree. I then had to disengage the top of the tree stand that was then under the bottom and climb onto the bottom of the tree stand holding the top of the treestand while trying to stay attached to the tree in case things went south.
It ended up taking 45 extra minutes to get down and a lot of adrenaline spent.
When I finally got down, I inspected the cable and found that the rubber plating on the last nock (which was the nock I was using because it was a big tree) had worn off and wadded up which didn't allow the safety latch to click in place. It stayed in the entire hunt because there was outward pressure, but could have popped out at any time. When I put inward pressure on it trying to get it over the burl, it popped out.
If the bottom had fallen to the ground, I'd have spent the night in that tree with no end in sight. I was still 15 feet up in the tree and was down in a hole with no cell reception. This is a very rural area with no houses within earshot and no one knew where I was.
So just a warning to everyone using this sort of stand - make sure your safety engages, make sure you tie the bottom to the top, and inspect the nock you're using for that tree and make sure the rubber casing isn't hanging off - if it is, rip it off so it doesn't get in the way of the latch.
Yikes! Glad you survived that scare! Believe it or not, I've never used a climber in my life.
A saddle is sounding better every day. I’ve had the platform slip down before not fun.
Glad you are fine. Had a near bad accident climbing the outside of a cement silo the winter of '65 and never have gone anywhere near anything since...had an 8' step ladder crap out 5 years ago...nasty shoulder resulted. Keeping my feet on the ground since!
Tree stands are fun! Spent 3 years living in my climber when I lived in whitetail country.
Very important to avoid Preventable Accidents! Not worth cutting corners with your life. I know too many folks that don't even wear a safety harness in a tree, an many who don't in a climber since they say they can't fall out of one...
I would rather forget my harness then forget to lash the top to the bottom together!!! Third hand makes some straps that multi task as lashing straps and secures the top and bottom when you are hunting
Man that's scary. I have been close a few times in the past to losing the bottom of my climber and walked away from them in 2014. You have solidified my commitment to stay away.
Glad you are ok.
I'm glad you're O.K.
Now, let's talk about that "no one knew where I was" part. I'm almost 3 hrs. away from home, on a week-long hunting trip. Two of my buddies know where I'm hunting each day, and they get a phone call or text when I'm done for the day.
Please make sure someone knows where you are. Somebody might miss you if you don't make it home. ;-)
I warned you to stay away from those Vipers, Idyl! ;-)
But seriously, glad you got out of your situation unscathed!
Many years ago I lost my bottom.... It was my fault. It was 5pm, dark, and there I was. As being trained well in ropes, and having a linemen belt, and extra rope and carabiner, and head lamp, I was able to secure myself, get out and free of my seat section.
That dropped also, since I now had to come down, slowly and sure sore, working down that tree
scared the crap out of me,,,, I was lucky.................. glad your okay
meat grinder, that is good advice.... I am remote in the UP, so I always now text one guy, where I am heading into............Trouble is, when you ground hunt, and your on the move, pretty hard for anyone to really have an idea of where you hunt
pretty generous guy, Jaquamo here on the site, sent me his SPOT, that is what I use, no phone service where I am at
Good reminder to be extra careful especially as we get older. Glad that you didn't get badly injured in what could have been a desaster.
Glad you’re ok Ike ! I expect that was scary as hell. I had some climbers made when I was younger and dumber, (it felt like they weighed 40 lb.), and I knew nothing about tying them together. I learned though, the first time the bottom one went down a pine like a runaway bumper jack. Lucky for me I was only about ten feet high and it stopped about half way down. I had a helluva time letting myself down until I could barely reach it with my feet and pull it back up. Never climbed another until I had them tied together.
One reason I don't use a hang on is because I like to do all-day sits. The Summit Viper is so damn comfortable to sit in. It's like a lazy boy. And if you take a wrung out, you can recline in it. If I'm going to be hunting the same spot, I'll put sticks up to it and leave it and just raise the top up to get in, then lower it back over me.
I did the same thing last week in my Summit Goliath. I hadn't used it in a while and pulled a brain fart and forgot to connect the line securing the bottom to the top. Two shimmy's up the tree and my boots slip out of the stirrups and the bottom drops back down to the base of the tree. Luckily I was only maybe 6' off the ground and eased myself back down thru the middle of the climber to the ground. Teachable moment....do not rush to climb the tree and double-check yourself.
No climbers for me, I’m too old. But my lock on stands are well inspected and I’m tied in up and down, 100%. I do know a couple guys that are my age and don’t use harness and life line. I’ve told them I won’t be wiping their ass when they’re paralyzed from the neck down.
Idyll, so glad you weren't hurt. I"ve never used that type of climber so I could be giving you poor advice but my climber (API) has a rope permanently attaching the halves. I never take this rope off so I can't forget to reattach it. Second, like others have mentioned, I always let someone know where I am. With today's technology, I can send a gps point of my location to my wife, son and farm manager. If I don't have a signal, I give them the gps point before I leave home. GE and GAIA are your friend. We've(NC) had several instances of hunters hanging by safety lines or body parts from broken stands that lost limbs or their life because they hung there for several hours and did not let anyone know where they were. Please don't be stupid guys.
Glad you're ok. I use a Garmin Inreach PLB. It has text capability and an emergency beacon. I was in a situation where I was very fortunate to have cell service. The area I was in had spotty service at best. I was just dumb lucky. Now, even without cell service, I can call or text for help. Cheap insurance in the event something happens.
Glad your not hurt. I own 3 different climbing stands. I also own about 40 or so lock on stands. The climbing stands NEVER go to the woods anymore. Won’t use them. Don’t trust them. Even my lock on stands get rotated out, with the older ones going to the local junk man,and replaced with a new stand. You just can’t be too careful, when going up a tree. I know all too well, having had many close calls over the years myself.
My nephew spent a very uncomfortable hour or so hanging from his seat section when his stand section left him about 25 feet up one evening. He had remembered to reattach the string from the stand section to the upper one, but had relocated it to point that seemed to make it easier to assemble for carrying. That turned out to be a mistake as well, as the new attachment point changed the pivot point for the platform when it was hanging freely to one that prevented gravity from stopping the stand from descending the rest of the way quickly, as designed.
It IS important to not only keep the two sections tied together, but also to reconnect them in the original way if you ever untie them. It's not immediately apparent how critical the attachment location is to the proper function of the line in preventing the further descent of the stand. In my nephew's case, the stand section was still barely reachable with his toes, but was effectively as out of reach as if it had gone to the ground. Luckily he had good reception on his cell and family within a few minutes drive who knew his stand location.
Tree stands are dangerous, no matter what kind you use. No way around it.
Be careful fellas
md5252 X 2, Glad you are alright!
The bottom should be tied to the top 100% of time
I think Buckhunter mentioned it...3rd Hand Archery sells these stabilizer straps that serve two functions. 1 they tie the top to the bottom and 2 they stabilize the stand once at hunting height in a such a way you can have a barn dance on that platform and it won't move...makes the seat more secure too...$15 if I remember correctly...
Strange, I must be lucky, I’ve only bowhunted from climbers for over 40 yrs, never have I tied the two together, climbing into a lockon has always terrified me
I am so happy to hear you are OK! Inspecting your gear is absolutely critical and your life depends on it!!! Do it very often, the manufacturers say before every use! Also, get an in-reach or Spot! cell reception not needed for assistance or rescue!
I have an InReach. I never considered it for white tail hunting and leave it in Alaska. I'd have been cursing myself for not having it if I'd have been sitting in my climber's seat with my feet dangling all night...
Scary stuff! Did you have a harness on? I shouldn't jinx myself here but I have done 80% of my hunting for the past 15 years with a Summit climber, and I feel a lot safer using a climber than any other stand. My rope holding the top and bottom together is never untied and I'm connected with my harness from the ground all the way up and back down. The big risk is what happened to you where the cable comes out, and then I'd just be hanging there with no ladder to put my feet on. I also find it a lot easier and quicker than using my LW sticks and portable, not to mention more comfortable and I can get higher up. I did use a Saddle for 4 or 5 years and I guess that was probably safest but I won't go back to it for comfort purposes.
Glad you’re OK Ike.
I’ve had some twisty Rubic’s Cube trees where I’ve kneeled on the seat of my climber to adjust the cable on the foot platform, but I am never without my harness.
9.8 meters per second squared.
That scares me enough to always wear my harness.
I too know what its like to have that particular scenario rear its ugly head expectedly. Try as I might I was unable to reinsert that cable. Lucky for me I was able to get a text message out to my hunting buddy when all call attempts only failed. He came to my rescue, we later accessed the issue and fixed it...………. Now as for no cell service, not true unless in the remotest of areas...………... November 10, 2015 I found myself laying at the base of my tree wrapped in the upper portion of my climber and hurting. Experience in the area had taught me, I would not have cell service. Since nobody would start to miss me for some 30 hours and rain in the forecast, I needed to get up or get to cover (Crawling), since getting up proved, impossible. After four attempts at text messaging for help, to no avail. I elected to try a futile 911 call. To my surprise, "This is 911, what is your emergency" was my reward. Two hours later I was air lifted to the hospital. I learned later that no matter what carrier we use, 911 calls have top priority, simply dialing it over rides the system and connects to the nearest tower. It is good info to have guys, that when in need we aren't actually alone...……… FYI: That little cotton chord that you're suppose to use for marrying the upper and lower portions together, avoid dismissing it as unnecessary. It just might save your life, it sure did mine.
I just realized today is November 10th. Four years ago this very minute I was laying in a hospital bed. Four busted ribs, a broken ankle, my hips hurting from only God knew what, and EVERY muscle in my body throbbing. For months, bruises would appear in the weirdest of places. It took almost a year to physically recover. That next autumn "2016", while contemplating going up a tree to hunt, with anxiety and apprehension racing through my veins, I needed to summon more courage than I would had ever expected. 8ft, eight measely feet was as far as I dared to go.
I've never heard of a Summit climber failing. My fall and each I've heard has been hunter error at some level. In my case I got in a hurry, my due diligence wasn't what it should have been. To compound the matter, in my haste, I neglected to secure my harness lanyard around the tree, and clip into it before climbing. I had previously walked away from my truck leaving my safety harness in the seat. After retrieving it, I rushed to the base of my tree. Keep in mind, I'm the senior most member of our group and had taken it upon myself to preach safety. However, with visions of shooting one of the shooter bucks I had just witnessed chasing dancing in my head, I headed up without tying off. It was when I made the decision to go around that dead hanger at 15ft that my season came crashing to an end. "IF", I had done "MY" due diligence, then my body and season would have been spared from the whole ordeal. I still use a climber and always will, as long as my wife and the Lord allows. I still preach safety, and about wearing a harness of some sort, only now I have a story to share.
Thanks for the reminder on checking the safety on my climber. Im currently in Iowa and am using my Summit Viper that I have had for a long, long time. Cell service is real bad here so I brought my Inreach and activated it on the safety plan as its 15 bucks. One pre set is Im tree stand hunting here, 2nd is Im back in camp, and 3rd is all is well. Send those for free, and im able to send any other message if needed. My climber is no more of a death trap than my hang on stands. Always inspect your stands no matter the brand.
Some advise from me on climbers, don’t climb hickories, in31 yrs thats the only problem I’ve had with a climber
Similar thing happened to me about 5 years ago. I climbed with my API to twenty feet and realized that I just misjudged the upper tree diameter. I planned on staying up there for 5 hrs and certainly didn't want to stand on an angle all day. I put my feet in the stirrups to release the platform, and guess what? Yep, it slipped and feel to the ground. I'm stranded 20 ft up and hunting alone. I'm sitting on my top bar wondering if I could be anymore careless. Well I swung my bow out away from the tree and attempted to launch myself forward to hug the tree and slide down safely. Gravity is quicker than the horizontal launch. The top section released from the tree with me on it and I crashed 20 ft to earth. I checked myself out, put the stand around the tree and back up I went. Lesson learned. Tie your bottom section to the top section with a safety line, and carry a hook to lower down in case you drop your bow, or are careless enough to drop your platform section.
wow,,,, some pretty scary stories,,,,,,,,,, glad you guys made it thru,,,,,wheeewww
Glad you are ok! Really scary to consider!
How old is that stand? My Summit Bushmaster is from 05, I think, maybe a little older... It came with a rope connecting the upper and lower that's never come off. I replace the cables every 3-4 years or so too, never know what moisture may be under that shrink wrap.