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Sandy Journal

Tree Climbing For Adults

Oct 23, 2014 02:07PM ● By Shawna Meyer
Sandy City’s main park was recently the site of the 21st annual Utah Tree Climbing Championship, sponsored by the Utah Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Utah Community Forest Council. 

The event moves around a lot because it requires tall trees, and the organizers don’t want the climbers to have to climb the same tree twice.

“It’s not a hobby. Most of these people who climb actually work for tree care companies and do tree climbing in their business . . . It’s just kind of a skills demonstration for these people; the guys that work the hardest and know how to do it the best,” said Mike Marett, Sandy City’s community forester and a judge at this year’s competition.

At the Sept. 20 competition there were five events: climbers throw a ball with a string attached to it as high as possible into a tree and tie it off; they complete a 60-foot climb using a foot lock method as fast as possible; they complete a 60-foot climb using a rope method as fast as possible; they have to climb a tree and retrieve a weighted dummy and lastly, they have to move to different locations in a tree and complete different tasks.

The best and fastest competitors in these five events each won $100 for each event, and the top five out of 30 moved on to the Master’s Challenge.

During this challenge, the climbers had to do all the events at once, and they were timed. The third- place climber, Ryan Torcicollo from Francis, received $200, and the second-place climber from West Jordan, Jake Bleazard was awarded $300.

Mark Malmstrom from Layton won the Master’s Challenge and received $1,500 and the opportunity to compete at the ISA International Tree Climb Competition in Tampa, Fla. in March. Malmstrom is the owner of Total Tree Care in Logan.

“Safety is a major factor. These guys are really well-trained . . . They work hard, and there’s a lot of practice involved,” Marett said.