Whether it's to prune leaves, collect its milk-bearing fruit or simply because it's there, reasons for climbing a coconut tree vary. While some climbers prefer to shimmy up the trunk like barefoot frogs, others benefit from gear that makes the climb easier and safer. Most gear is typically used for all kinds of tree climbing. However, because coconut trees lack limbs along their trunks, some items are especially helpful.
Head gear is recommended when climbing a coconut tree, primarily to protect you in case of a fall. A helmet also guards against falling debris; in this case, hard coconuts. Rock climbing helmets provide the best protection, as opposed to bicycle helmets, which don't absorb the impact of falling objects. The helmet should have a chin strap to keep it from falling off while the wearer is looking up. Any spectators standing under or close to a coconut tree should wear a helmet as well.
Some coconut tree climbing enthusiasts do it barefoot. Shoes with spikes or spurs are also an option, but spikes can damage the tree and make it vulnerable to disease. Because puncture wounds in coconut trees don't heal, many climbers wear good, rubber-soled shoes.
Latex-coated gloves with a tacky surface can improve rope grip and shield your hands from rope burn or blistering. Some climbers prefer sturdier non-slip gloves, while others tackle coconut trees barehanded.
Tree-climbing rope, also called arborist rope, is made with a heat-tolerant polyester-Dacron exterior. Its soft, pliable nature makes tying special safety knots easier. Rock climbing ropes have too much elasticity and should be avoided. Tree climbers need rope with minimal bounce; it also should be braided instead of twisted, because twisting can leave you spinning while suspended in the air. The standard diameter of arborist rope is 1/2 inch, which makes it easy to grip. To determine how much rope you needed, double the height of the tree.
Saddles that keep climbers connected to their ropes come in two designs. Butt-strap saddles feature a strap that crosses the climber's posterior and feels like a flexible swing set seat. Leg-strap saddles have straps that wrap around the thighs and are often padded. Choose saddles designed for tree climbing and be sure they fit well. Improper fit has caused some climbers to slip out of their saddles.
Carabiners are metal snap links that prevent climbers, gear and equipment from becoming separated from each other. Some are strong enough to support a climber's weight. They should be used for rope tie-ins to the saddle; others are ideal for hanging things off a saddle, including equipment and retrieved items, such as a sack of coconuts.
- Photo Credit coconut tree image by Infocus from Fotolia.com
How to Care for Coconut Trees
Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is a tropical fruit tree. According to the University of Florida, coconuts have been known to float across...
Arborist Tree Climbing Methods
The job of arborists, or tree surgeons, is to care for and maintain trees and other woody shrubs. Unlike foresters or loggers,...