Author Topic: Securing a ladder to a tree  (Read 15817 times)

Gwynneth

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Securing a ladder to a tree
« on: January 11, 2014, 11:34:18 AM »
Hi, I work as a gardener and every winter I have the wonderful job of pruning apple trees. I am constantly up and down a ladder, which I need to secure to the tree. I need a knot which can be tied and released quickly. I have to climb the ladder in order to tie the knot as it is usually the upper part of the ladder that is in contact with a branch. The one occasion I used my clients step ladder, and couldn't secure it, the ladder and I came to ground a lot quicker than we went up. L.O.L    ;D
Also, what thickness (mm) rope should I use.

What I really need is someone else to do the pruning!

[Inkanyezi] gone

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 03:31:25 PM »
When I need to secure a ladder, I have a piece of rope attached to the upper rung already, with the free end about 5'. I lay this end around for example a branch, possibly with a round turn, and back to the rung, where I secure it with a clove hitch. The size is 10 or 12 mm, for ease of handling. If I need to secure to some higher branch where the rope cannot be taken back to the rung, I make a clove hitch around the branch.

When placing the ladder on very soft ground, I have a board with recesses for the feet of the ladder, so that it will not sink. When a ladder falls, it is mostly that it slips or sinks into the ground. Also on sloping ground I use the board and put something under on one side to make it level.
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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2014, 02:10:20 AM »
 :( :( :( :-X

I made a reply to this already --must've done the
Preview and then moved on, missing the Post-ing.

What I offer is a request for more information.
I.p., anticipating Inkaynezi's solution of a line
fixed at a point on the ladder is the question
as to the viability of this --the nature of the
ladder and its placement, and so on.  Conceivably,
one could be using a fixe-length ladder, seen to
be adequate for all needs, but contacting branches
at different heights and by different rungs, thus.

I also had (made the keystokes ...) mentioned that
sometimes it's helpful to secure the base of the
ladder against slippage.

(Using a ladder along a face (house side, e.g.),
I've employed a rope secured well to both sides
and had friction hitches enable adjusted tightening
of these anchors from up the ladder, as one works
from one side to the other --the secured ladder
then one on which one might lean more surely
left and right (and reduce the number of movings
maybe only half enough to compensate for the
time spent having fun playing with rope & knots!)   :P

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struktor

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« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 01:21:20 PM by struktor »

Gwynneth

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2014, 01:30:35 PM »
Thank you all for replying.
Dan, you did post your reply, but in chit chat, where I put a second posting, incase it was missed in this section.
I generally use my own telescopic ladder, so a permanent rope/web could be fixed to the ladder. The ground is grass and moss, which is soft enough to prevent a ladder slippage, but not so soft the ladder will sink (I always jump on the bottom rung to check).
I like the idea of using a clove hitch back to my ladder and also the idea of tying from both sides to prevent sideways slip. Sometimes the ladder is at quite a steep angle due to badly placed branches, but generally my biggest worry is the ladder slipping sideways. Could I use a slip after the second wrap around of the clove hitch, rather than pull the rope all the way through? Would this be safe?
I came a cropper the other week because I was unable to get the top of the step ladder close enough to the tree to secure it, due to the supporting feet of the ladder. I couldn't turn it because of the lie of the land (slight slope), plus I tried to answer my phone. (As I pulled my ringing phone from my pocket, the ladder wobbled which made me grab at a branch, which wobbled the ladder beyond the point of no return)
I need a knot that is quick to tie and untie as this is done while I am on the ladder. I could untie a slip knot from the ground if the rope were long enough, but I'm not sure if this would be secure if the ladder moved suddenly. I do have to reach sideways,  due to the nature of the job.
'Over reach' isn't this when you fall off?
My phone now stays in the car when I am pruning.

[Inkanyezi] gone

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 01:23:08 AM »
The reason I use the clove hitch is that it is easily managed with one hand. Security is not much of an issue as long as it isn't slipped, and it is very easy to untie too, by just inserting a finger into the last turn and pulling it out.

I don't like the idea of a slipped knot. It is somewhat more awkward to tie with just one hand, not much, but the risk of undoing the knot inadvertently is obvious. I can tie and untie the clove hitch equally easy with left or right hand.

I too mostly use a ladder that can be adjusted to length when doing this, although I don't do a lot of pruning. For picking cherries though, I have done it, and I sometimes use the adjustable long ladder to reach the rain gutter at the roof edge to remove debris, leaves etc. Then I attach the rope to a railing that's intended to keep snow from sliding down from the roof. I don't lean very far out, but move the ladder when my arms aren't long enough to do the job.

If I would feel the need to prevent sideways slip, I'd just make a tighter tie with the rope. Mostly when picking fruit I hold on to one of the branches though. I could have used the harness, but for picking cherries or reaching the roof edge, I never did.
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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2014, 06:22:02 PM »
There are many ways ... .

One could used 2-4 ropes of short length,
providing the following functions:

t) tying to the tree;

a) adjusting the line tied to the tree.

I'm thinking of, say, one line that is tied to a
rung of the latter and whose ends are tied in
friction hitches to roughly the center area of
a line long enough to be able to reach both
leftwards & rightwards to attachment points
on the branch.  (One isn't bound to use both
ends, but they are there if desired.)  Each
end would be tied respectively left-/right-wards
and then tensioned by pulling through the
frictions hitches.

This is the sort of arrangement I have played with
(phrasing it this way in recognition that simpler,
no-ropes-used methods might be much quicker!)
in securing a ladder to ground points for movement
along the side of a house, the 2nd, tied-to-rung
line gripping the anchor line w/friction hitches.

As for the cell phone, the car might be too far,
for you might have a good photo opportunity when
up the ladder --just be careful!  (And, make use of
the secured ladder.)


--dl*
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Gwynneth

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 12:35:28 AM »
Hi,
Thanks peeps. I take on board what you are saying. I tried the clove high today but once the rope was wet (it was raining) it was very difficult to loosen. I se what you mean about a slip knot coming undone accidentally -  not what I need. I did find tying the ladder from both sides made it very secure. I think I need some thinner rope though. I was using ex climbing rope today, but it was quite difficult to tie as it is quite stiff. I have until next Wednesday to source some more rope, so any ideas on thickness would be appreciated. 10mm was suggested - do you all agree on this, please?
I was thinking about my phone today. Maybe the car is not such a good idea as I may need it in an emergency - for a really good pic.

Rich

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 09:08:48 PM »
Gwynneth

This seems to me a situation where the placing of the rope(s) is more important than the knot selection.

The rope should be arranged to prevent the ladder slipping downwards and sideways.

On regular shaped objects like houses, builders, if they use ropes at all, use one rope over the ridge and
anchored at ground level or through a convenient widow (especially if the house is unfinished). A second rope is usually
tied round chimneys to prevent sideways movement.

The same pattern can be used on a small, irregular, object like an apple tree.

There are numerous videos on YouTube et al with arborists showing how to propel the rope into the tree (catapult etc) where you want it, how to tie the rope to the tree, how to remove a stuck rope from a tree etc. Many of these deal with ladders.

A quick release safety harness to attach yourself to the tree might be a reserve device.

With an eye splice and a karabiner you might not need any knots at all (though it is sacrilege to say so here).

Safe pruning.



Gwynneth

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 10:14:43 PM »
Thank you Rich,
I had wondered about using a karabiner, although I would have to have some practice before ascending the apple trees. I have watched quite a few videos showing ropes being thrown over a branch, in just the right place, but they're never in an apple tree. There are so many little spurs the rope can get snagged on. I have started tying the ladder from both sides, and this works well, but I think I spend more time securing the ladder than I do pruning. I'll have a look at a few videos showing the use of a karabiner. Thanks again.

DerekSmith

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Re: Securing a ladder to a tree
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 12:46:00 AM »
Hi Gwynneth,

Welcome to the world of trees and ladders.  I seem to spend a lot of my time laddering trees in prelude to reducing them or removing them (the trees that is...).  But having watched this compilation of 'accidents' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxst-7MmUfM I am extremely cautious about securing the ladder well, and being mindful of where the cut off will fall to.

However, in terms of securing the ladder, I first make certain that the foot is secure by jamming the feet into the ground, and if I cannot dig the ladder into the ground, then I start by tying the base to be absolutely certain that it cannot slip or shift if a branch bounces the wrong way.

As for tying the ladder to the tree, if I am using a double extension ladder, I will make a mid way tie-in to the tree using 6mm rope.  I will pass the rope around the tree, then tie the end in a slipped bowline and pull it snug to the tree.  Then I form an overhand loop half way between the tree and the ladder, then pass the rope a single turn around each side of the ladder, pass the end through the eye of the slipped OH.  Haul it tight, then finish to the ladder with a clove.

Finally, at the top, I again tie a slipped bowline around the trunk or branch, pass it around the side, then around the tree, then around the other side of the ladder, finishing with a clove around the rung.

For those of you who live in the UK, the name 'Fred Dibnah' will likely be familiar, and if you want to see how elegantly he binds a ladder to a peg using nothing more than wraps and a single clove hitch, I suggest you watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F04dGK1_wYA

Happy and safe climbing.

Derek