Spar pole rigging is not an activity to be undertaken lightly, but is one of the most basic rigging systems, one that most, if not all, tree folk are familiar with:

  • In this system, a trunk with few or no branches left is lowered down under control in manageable pieces to the ground. Although this technique is familiar to many, if not carried out correctly it can lead to less-than-positive or catastrophic outcomes.
  • Climbers and crews must always keep in mind that when using this technique, the climber is attached to the spar, which also provides the rigging point. Thus, whatever forces are generated by the piece of wood are transmitted to the very thing that is keeping the climber aloft, not to mention the climber’s soft tissue and relatively fragile physiology.
  • At a minimum, a 2-to-1 force factor will be present when spar pole rigging.
  • This means that if the piece weighs 500 pounds, then 500 pounds of force will be required to keep it aloft or control it, which in turn means the rigging point, typically immediately adjacent to the climber, will experience at least 1,000 pounds of force. Needless to say, this can lead to rapid movements, resulting in bruises, contusions and fractures, or even failure of the entire spar itself.
  • The farther the piece falls prior to coming under the control of the rigging system, the greater the force is magnified, thus a block set well beneath the piece exponentially increases the forces experienced by the spar and the attached climber.

Read more: Spar Pole Rigging the Right Way