Private Tree Climbs & Classes



Conditions in NC now allow for private single household climbs and individual private lessons. These climbs are all taking place at Schönwald, our private tree climbing venue near Hillsborough, NC. Please contact me if you would like to schedule a climb.

- Updated April 2021 - 

If you or someone you know wants to experience climbing trees safely we're here to make that happen! There are many options depending on your experience with tree climbing and what type of instruction you are looking for.

Our regular public group climbs (currently on hold due to the pandemic) at local parks are perfect for new climbers from 6 - 96 years old.  You can give climbing a try after a few pointers from an experienced facilitator. You'll be 30 or 40 feet high before you know it!  All the gear is provided -- just bring a camera and a friend.

How difficult is it?  Although no experience is necessary to climb, a basic level of physical fitness is important.  If you can do 5 deep squats in a row, 5 complete situps in a row, and raise your hands above your head repeatedly, then I am confident that you will have the strength and flexibility to be able to climb. It actually doesn't take that much effort to climb, but folks who are carrying 50 extra pounds or more may struggle significantly.

Private tree climbing experiences and birthday party climbs are also available at the Schönwald Farm in Orange County.  An hour long private climb experience is $130 whether there is 1 climber or up to 6.  Private climbs make for an unforgettable birthday present for a child or an adult!  If you have between 7 and 12 climbers or you would just like more time in the tree to practice climbing different routes then maybe a 2-hour private climb is right for you.  A 2-hour private climb is $200.  Call 919.928.4230 or email for additional options tailored to your needs.
Half day or full day private instruction is perfect for those who already have some climbing experience and want to learn new skills under the tutelage and supervision of an expert climber.  You may bring your own gear (subject to safety check) or use our gear.  All private lessons take place at Schönwald. The general skill progression for recreational/research/arboriculture tree climbing is outlined below.
  1. Tree selection and identifying potential hazards
  2. Basic tree climbing gear - detailed overview and considerations
  3. Getting your climbing line into the tree
  4. Safety in the tree
  5. Traditional Doubled Rope Technique (DRT) climbing. Knots, ascending, and descending
  6. Advanced tree climbing gear - detailed overview and considerations
  7. Multi-pitch climbing and lanyard positioning
  8. Split tails and closed tail DRT climbing
  9. Single Rope Technique (SRT) climbing. Tie offs, RADS (Rapid Ascent and Descent System - aka Yo-yo), Rope Wrench System, others
  10. Limb walking, redirects, tree-to-tree traversing, and peripheral canopy access
A 3 hour private instruction session is usually ideal since it will give you sufficient time to practice the skills that we will teach and demonstrate, but it's not so long that you get exhausted. Skills 1-5 above can usually be taught and practiced in the first 3 hours and then it is reasonable to get through another 2-3 of the advanced skills in each subsequent 3 hour session. We will work with you to develop a tailored instruction plan according to your experience level and what you want to learn.  Private climbing instruction can take place in one of our trees, or on your own land, if safe and appropriate options exist.  A 3-hour private lesson for one person is $180.  You can invite 1 or 2 friends for an additional cost of $90 per person.  Please call 919-928-4230 or email to schedule your next lesson.


Gear

If you are committed to tree climbing to the point that you want to buy your own gear, I can help you know what gear to buy based on your desired climbing style.  An entry level Double Rope Technique gear kit will cost between $600 and $800 depending on your choice of rope and harness.

If you become a member of Tree Climbers International, which I highly recommend, you will get coupons for 10-12% off at treestuff.com, wespur.com and sherrilltree.com.  If you apply these coupons to a climbing kit, your $25 lifetime membership will pay off immediately!