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What is srt climbing?

2 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

If you missed Part I, click here.

The beauty of tree climbing is that it’s a melting pot of many disciplines: rock climbing, sailing, caving, and mountaineering.

With all of their powers combined, we have another style of tree climbing…Stationary Rope Technique (SRT).

What is SRT?

In a nutshell, the climbing rope is tied off either at the top of the tree or at the base of the trunk. Then the climber ascends the fixed rope; the rope does not move with the climber like in MRS (Moving Rope System or Double Rope Technique).

Why is this so awesome? Because the rope is not rubbing against the tree creating friction. It also saves the rope from getting covered in sticky tree sap when working in conifers.

One of the biggest advantages of SRT is climbers get to use their larger leg muscles to get into the upper canopies. Less upper body fatigue means better control of the saws which means less accidents.

Thanks to ergonomically-designed gear, climbing arborists can have longer careers. I have seen climbers 40+ years old out perform the younger guys all day long on this system.

Another advantage is the 1:1 pull.

This means when you pull 1 foot of rope, you get 1 foot of vertical lift. SRT is shifting your climbing into high gear compared to MRS which is low gear. Elite climbers can practically run up a vertical rope at amazing speeds! In MRS, you have a 2:1 advantage. When you pull 2 feet of rope, you get 1 foot of vertical lift. While this is slower, you are only lifting ½ of your body weight. (Sherilltree) This is one of the reasons why MRS is frequently used for beginner climbers.

There is a steeper learning curve with SRT compared to MRS.

There are a lot more variables to consider such as:


This is when a rope is run through a branch union and then secured at the base of the trunk. But the force exerted on that union will be twice the weight of the climber. A 160 pound climber will put 320 pounds of force on that union. (Dunlap)


These miraculous little devices have small spiked-teeth on moving cams to give the climber grip on the rope. While they are designed to hold the climber up, they will not take shock loading. A fall greater than 1 meter will cause the teeth to rip the outer jacket of the rope. ( Also, leaves, twigs and other debris can cause the cam mechanism to accidentally open and drop the climber. (Jepson)


There are so many devices on the market right now that allow climbers to ascend in dozens of different ways. While this is great, this can leave more questions than answers for those who are starting out. What’s the difference between a Hitch Hiker and Hitch Climber? How does a Rope Wrench work?

Despite all of the advancements in SRT, MRS is by no means obsolete. This is like comparing nail guns to hammers; Nail guns may be faster, but sometimes you need the simplicity of a hammer.

MRS is usually the tool of choice when:

1) The climber has to change the tie in point frequently (such as in a conifer with a thick canopy)

2) The cost of gear must be kept low

3) Your gear gets lost or damaged and you are left with a rope, carabiner, and harness

Here is an example of one of our own, Chad Brey, and former North American Climbing Champ in SRT action:

Lastly, the TCIA suggests climbing low to the ground (less than 5 feet) and under the supervision of a trainer. Thus, special training is strongly recommended before using SRT.

Jiji Rebello
Answer # 2 #

How many climbers out there are hesitant to start climbing SRT? SRT work positioning (Rope Wrench, Rope Runner, Unicender, etc.) hasn’t been around all that long so I can see why you could be a bit leery about it but SRT ascending has been around for a LONG time and it is well worth it for you to give it a go!

A really easy way to get past the hesitation of SRT work positioning is to use a technique called Single up, Double Down. This is a very simple setup that allows you the efficiency of SRT ascent while still using your traditional DdRT climbing system to work the tree. Ascending SRT has shown to be far more efficient because you are using large muscle groups like your legs to ascend the tree instead of relying on your arms and back muscles to thrust yourself up into the tree.

I prefer to set my rope in my ideal tie in point and then simply tie a running bowline WITH a Yosemite backup. If you are using a bowline or running bowline for life support, it must have a backup or stopper knot tied in the tail. Bowlines have the ability to open up and untie when loaded and unloaded. I tie my running Yosemite Bowline with the spliced end of my rope and pull it up into the tree and to my tie in point. Now I have an SRT access line in the tree and I can attach my climbing system. I usually use a 4 coil Distel hitch attached to the Hitchclimber pulley. I clip into the Hitchclimber and then attach my chest harness to the center hole of pulley. I can then hook up whatever ascent system I choose to use. (Be sure to carry a figure eight like the Petzl Huit or other descent device while ascending up into the tree on just a friction hitch.)

At this point I can use something like a Rope Walker System that I can quickly climb the rope with my legs all the way to my tie in point. Usually I would lanyard in, untie the bowline, set my Pulley Saver and then tie into it with the spliced end of my rope. I could then work the tree however I feel fit on a system that I am more comfortable with instead of having to ascend and work the tree SRT.

Just by utilizing the Single Up, Double Down method will surely knock some time off of your climbing. Anything is faster and easier than body thrusting into a tree and I highly recommend you try this method out low and slow first then start bringing it into your everyday work practices.

Zahur Laxman