The Benefits of Tree Climbing

Recreational (technical) tree climbing has a number of distinct advantages over many other adventure activities. Here are some of them:

  • Tree climbing is very safe. When climbers carefully follow the basic "do and don't" rules, they are virtually assured of a safe climbing experience.
  • Tree climbing is good exercise.FuzzyTree climbing is great for older people like "Fuzzy." (Photo courtesy Scott Schrieber) Tree climbing is not only fun, but it's also an excellent workout. Though it's not nearly as demanding as it appears, climbing is great exercise for the arms, legs, and back. Climbers work many muscle groups they often don't use elsewhere. The extra bonus to this exercise is that it is stimulating and never boring.
  • Trees are everywhere! You don't have to look far to find a good climbing tree, especially if you're in a natural area. Even in an urbanized setting you can usually find a tree worth climbing.
  • Trees are alive and natural. There is something very wonderful about getting outdoors and into the branches of something which is alive. Humans find peace and relaxation there, as well as a totally different perspective on what they see during their everyday lives.
  • All your senses come alive. A whole new perspective is added to the climbing experience through the feeling of touch as the tree moves and sound as the wind whistles through the leaves.
  • Tree climbing is cost-effective. Once you've made the initial purchase of your basic gear, there are very few further expenses. You won't have to travel too far to find a tree, and you can climb most trees for free!
  • You don't have to build an expensive structure. Rope courses, climbing walls, and alpine towers are expensive to build and maintain. They have to be continually inspected for defects because the structures are man-made. While trees need to be inspected every so often, there's no other work to do before you have a perfect climbing structure!
  • Tree climbing is a year-round sport. Moss hikes to winter climbThe forest is a beautiful place in the snow. Here's "Moss" hiking into the woods for a winter climb. (Photo courtesy Andrew Joslin)During the hot months, you have the canopy to provide an awning for shade. In winter, the awning is taken down, and there's no barrier to the warm sunlight.

Here's the Proof

Our dear friend John Gathright, founder of Tree Climbers Japan and "Treehab," and others found in their research that tree climbing has social and physical benefits. They wrote about their studies in these articles. Download and read them for yourself!

pdfRecreational Tree-climbing Programs in a Rural Japanese Community Forest: Social Impacts and ‘Fun Factors’’  

pdfTree-Assisted Therapy: Therapeutic and Societal Benefits from Purpose-Specific Technical Recreational Tree-Climbing Programs

pdfComparison of the Physiological and Psychological Benefits of Tree and Tower Climbing