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A glossary of terms from the world of arborists, chainsaws and forestry in general, this is a constant work in progress and is frequently updated. All additions, suggestions and corrections are welcome.

Arborist Glossary

Accessory Cord (aka Friction Cord, Prusik Cord)
Accessory cord has many uses in the tree climbing industry, but is most commonly used to make prusik loops.

ART stands for Advance Rope-Climbing Technology and refers to a range of climbing products.

Ascenders are a mechanical device used (as the name suggests) to aid a climber's ascent on a rope. Ascenders use a cam to allow the device to slide freely up the rope during the climb, but grip tightly to the rope when any downwards pressure is applied. Ascenders typically come in the form of hand ascenders (e.g. the Petzl Ascentree) and foot ascenders (e.g. the Petzl Pantin).

Blakes Hitch Knots
Blakes hitch knots are commonly used to ascent and descend on a climbing rope, when loaded with weight the blakes hitch knot will grip onto the rope.

Bowline Knots
A bowline knot is widely considered to be the simplest knot to use for creating a loop or eye, and is easily undone if not under load.

Bull Ropes (aka Lowering Lines)
Bull ropes have the design features of a 3-strand core which offers an increased breaking strength when compared to double braid ropes, and reduces the ropes extension when under heavy loads.

Cambium Savers (aka Friction Savers, Rope Savers)
Cambium savers are used to prevent friction damage to both trees and ropes when installing a climbing line. They consist of a length of webbing material (usually between 1m - 1.5m long) with a metal ring at each end, one larger than the other. Cambium savers are usually installed from the ground, by attaching them to your throwline, before feeding the rope through the rings.

Climbing Spikes (aka gaffs, irons, spurs)
Used by pole climbers and tree climbers (but only in trees that are due to be removed, due to the lasting damage they can cause), climbing spikes attach to your boots and offer a fast and efficient climbing method. Spikes normally come in two sizes, longer for tree climbers and shorter for pole climbers.

Distel Hitch
Invented in Germany by Uli Distel of Heidleberg, the Distel is a friction hitch that slides under load for descent and releases with minimal manipulation during ascent.

Figure 8
Figure 8's have many uses for climbers, although they are most commonly used to provide a fast, controlled method of descent.

Floating D
Floating D's are an arborist's main anchorage point between their climbing line and harness. Shaped, as their name suggests, like a D, they help the climber to control their movement whilst in the tree.

Fliplines (aka steel core fliplines, wire rope fliplines, lifelines, work positioning lines)
Fliplines are usually made from a length of 1/2" (13mm) wire rope with a braided sheath over the top, with terminated eyes at each end. Fliplines offer arborists great support when working in a tree's canopy, or when using a chainsaw. Due to their steel cores, fliplines are resistant to chainsaw cuts in the event of the saw accidentally coming into contact with the rope.

Friction Savers (aka cambium savers, rope savers)
See Cambium Savers

Harness (aka saddle, seat)
A good quality, well fitting harness allows a climber to work and manoeuvre freely and without discomfort. Fewer items of climbing equipment spark such debate as a person's choice of harness, reinforcing just how important it is to choose the right one for your size, shape and requirements.

The Hitchclimber was the world's first hot forged pulley and caused quite a stir when it hit the market in 2008. The Hitchclimber (innovatively designed by Treemagineers) incorporates a rigging plate and pulley into one single, lightweight device. Pitched as the ultimate tool for arborists to ascend and descent their climbing lines with, the comprehensive 'Hitchclimber's Guide to the Canopy' demonstrates some of it's many uses.

Single Rope Technique (SRT)
SRT is a super fast climbing technique, commonly used for getting to the top of tall trees, with the climbing rope anchored to the tree's trunk.

Rope Terminology

Double Braid Rope
s - have a braid within a braid, which ensures the rope remains round when under tension. Generally the rope's core and cover share equal loads. Double braid ropes are normally used for rigging and lowering work, not climbing

Dynamic Ropes - are used to belay climbers and is designed to stretch under heavy load to help absorb the shock of a fallen climber.

Kernmantle Ropes - are constructed with their interior core (the 'kern'), made from un-woven parallel strands protected with a woven exterior sheath (the 'mantle'), designed to optimise strength, durability and flexibility.

Milking - is a condition that generally occurs on new ropes and ropes under 13mm. This is a natural occurance when using friction hitches which can cause the strands of the rope's outer cover to enlongate over the inner core. If a rope is milked, the excess cover (sheath) can be trimmed off and the rope resealed.

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