How To Use Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes: A Step-By-Step Guideline

Tree climbing has been popular for centuries, from traditional arborists to modern-day adventurers. While ropes and harnesses are commonly used for safe and efficient climbing, tree climbing spurs or spikes are essential for professional climbers.

These sharp metal spikes attach to the climber’s boots and provide a secure grip on the tree’s bark, allowing for faster and easier ascents. However, proper technique and safety precautions must be taken when climbing tree spurs to avoid potential injuries to the climber and the tree.

Here we will explore how to use tree climbing spurs/spikes and the best practices for using tree climbing spurs, from selecting the right equipment to proper climbing techniques. Whether you are a seasoned arborist or a beginner looking to explore the world of tree climbing, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and skills to safely and efficiently climb trees using spurs or spikes.

How to use tree climbing spurs-spikes

What Are Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes?

What Are Tree Climbing Spurs-Spikes

Tree climbing spurs, or spikes, are essential for arborists and tree climbers. They consist of a metal shank with sharp points attached to the climber’s boots, allowing them to grip onto the tree trunk and ascend safely.

The spikes are designed to provide stability and support while climbing, making it easier for the climber to move up and down the tree. It is important to note that trained professionals with the necessary skills and experience in tree climbing should only use tree-climbing spurs.

Types Of Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes

Types Of Tree Climbing Spurs-Spikes

Several types of tree climbing spurs/spikes are available, each designed for different purposes and preferences. Here are some common types:

  1. Pole Spurs: These spurs are designed for climbing utility poles. They feature a shorter shank and a thick, heavy-duty gaff to provide stability and support.
  2. Tree Spurs: Tree spurs, also known as tree climbing spikes, are the most commonly used type of climbing spurs. They feature a longer shank and a sharp gaff ideal for gripping tree bark and providing traction.
  3. Bucking Spurs: Bucking spurs are designed for use during tree felling or bucking operations. They feature a curved gaff perfect for gripping logs and providing cutting stability.
  4. Adjustable Spurs: As the name suggests, adjustable spurs allow climbers to adjust the length of the shank to suit their comfort and climbing style. This flexibility makes them suitable for climbers with different leg lengths.
  5. Aluminum Spurs: Aluminum spurs are lightweight and durable, making them popular among climbers who value comfort during extended climbs.

When choosing the right type of tree climbing spurs/spikes, it’s important to consider factors such as the type of trees you will be climbing, your level of experience, and personal preferences for comfort and safety. Ensure you receive proper training on using these tools safely before attempting any tree-climbing activities.

How To Use Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes? 6 Easy Ways

How To Use Tree Climbing Spurs - Spikes - 6 Easy Ways

Using tree climbing spurs or spikes can be useful for arborists or individuals who need to climb trees for various purposes. Safety should always be a top priority when using tree climbing spurs/spikes.

If you’re new to using this equipment, it’s advisable to seek professional training or guidance before attempting any climbs on your own. Here guideline on how to use tree climbing spurs/spikes:

1.Select The Right Spurs/Spikes

Select The Right Spurs-Spikes

When choosing the right spurs/spikes for tree climbing, it is essential to consider various factors. These include the type of tree and terrain you will be climbing, as well as the climbing equipment’s weight, comfort, and durability.

Look for features like carbon fibre construction or steel climbers, adding strength and performance. It is also advisable to consult with experienced climbers or arborists for their recommendations on the best spurs/spikes available. Lastly, ensure a secure fit by the spurs/spikes with adjustable straps or gaffs.

2.Understand The Safety Measures

Understand The Safety Measures

To ensure your safety when using tree climbing spurs/spikes, it is crucial to educate yourself about proper safety precautions. Familiarize yourself with the importance of wearing a harness and other safety gear.

Understand the potential risks and hazards of tree climbing and how to mitigate them. Learn the correct techniques for using climbing spurs/spikes to avoid accidents. Regularly inspect your climbing equipment for any signs of damage or wear.

3.Put On The Spurs/Spikes

Put On The Spurs-Spikes

Putting on tree climbing spurs or spikes is essential in safely ascending a tree. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by putting on sturdy boots or climbing shoes that provide good ankle support.
  2. Hold the spur against the inside of your lower leg, with the shank pointing downward.
  3. Wrap the climber pad around your leg, positioning it below your knee.
  4. Secure the climber pad using the straps or buckles provided.
  5. Slide your foot into the foot strap on the spur, ensuring it fits snugly but not too tight.
  6. Fasten any additional straps or buckles on the spur to ensure a secure fit.
  7. Repeat these steps for the other leg, making sure both spurs are securely fastened before beginning your climb.

Proper training and experience are crucial when using tree climbing spurs or spikes. Always follow safety guidelines and use caution when ascending trees to prevent accidents or injuries.

4.Securely Attach A Rope

When using tree climbing spurs or spikes, it is crucial to securely attach a rope. This will ensure your safety and stability while climbing. Start by selecting a strong and durable rope specifically designed for tree climbing.

Attach one end of the rope to your harness or saddle using a secure knot, such as a figure-eight knot or a double fisherman’s knot. Then, pass the other end of the rope around the tree trunk and back up to your climbing position. Use a friction hitch or mechanical ascender to secure the rope’s attachment point.

Make sure the attachment is tight and properly tensioned before starting your ascent. Regularly check the condition of your rope and attachments throughout your climb to ensure everything remains secure.

5.Climb With Careful Foot Placement

Climb With Careful Foot Placement

When using tree climbing spurs or spikes, climbing with careful foot placement is crucial. Proper foot placement ensures that you maintain stability and minimize the risk of accidents or injuries while ascending a tree. Start by finding secure footholds on the tree trunk or branches, ensuring they can support your weight.

Place your foot flat against the surface and distribute your weight evenly. Avoid stepping on unstable or weak areas, such as dead branches or rotting wood. As you climb, take your time to assess each step and adjust your footing as needed. You can ensure a safe and successful ascent by climbing with careful foot placement while using tree climbing spurs or spikes.

6.Unhook The Spurs/Spikes Safely

To safely unhook your tree climbing spurs/spikes, follow these steps after reaching your desired height or completing your task. Find a stable branch or surface to support your weight as you unhook the spurs/spikes. Carefully remove the straps or gaffs, ensuring no accidental injuries.

Before leaving the tree, double-check that all equipment is properly secured and stowed. Always prioritize safety when working with pole spikes, pole gaffs, and carbon fibre climbers.

Benefits Of Using Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes

Benefits Of Using Tree Climbing Spurs-Spikes

Using tree climbing spurs or spikes can provide several benefits for tree climbers. Here are some of the key advantages. It is important to note that using tree climbing spurs requires proper training and expertise to ensure safe usage.

  • Increased safety: Tree climbing spurs provide a secure grip on the tree trunk, reducing the risk of slips and falls.
  • Better efficiency: Climbers can ascend trees more quickly and easily with the help of spikes, saving time and energy.
  • Accessibility to higher branches: Spikes allow climbers to reach higher branches that may be difficult to access otherwise.
  • Stability and balance: The spikes provide stability and balance while climbing, allowing climbers to maneuver around the tree more confidently.
  • Versatility: Tree climbing spurs can be used in various tree types and sizes, making them a versatile tool for arborists and tree care professionals.

Things To Keep In Mind While Using Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes

When using tree climbing spurs or spikes, it is important to keep a few things in mind to ensure safety and efficiency. Here are some point you should keep in mind when use climbing spures. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a safe and successful tree climbing experience.

  • Safety first: Before using tree climbing spurs/spikes, it is important to prioritize safety. Make sure you have the necessary protective gear, such as a helmet and safety harness, and that you are properly trained in using the equipment.
  • Inspect the spurs/spikes: Before each use, carefully inspect the spurs or spikes for any signs of damage or wear. Make sure all straps and buckles are secure and in good condition.
  • Choose the right tree: Not all trees are suitable for climbing with spurs/spikes. Avoid using them on trees that are diseased, damaged, or too small in diameter. Choose healthy, mature trees with a diameter of at least 12 inches.
  • Protect the tree: When using spurs/spikes, be mindful of the tree’s health. Avoid damaging the bark by placing your weight on branches instead of digging into the trunk.
  • Proper technique: Use proper climbing techniques to minimize strain on your body and reduce the risk of accidents. Keep your weight centered and use your legs to push yourself up, rather than relying solely on your arms.
  • Take breaks: Climbing with spurs/spikes can be physically demanding. Take regular breaks to rest and hydrate to prevent fatigue or overexertion.
  • Practice tree preservation: After climbing, remove the spurs/spikes carefully to avoid causing unnecessary damage to the tree. Minimize wounds by applying wound dressing or pruning sealant as needed.

Remember, always prioritize safety and follow manufacturer’s guidelines when using tree climbing spurs/spikes.


Using tree climbing spurs/spikes can be an exhilarating experience. Still, it is essential to prioritize safety. By selecting the right equipment, understanding safety measures, and following a step-by-step process, you can ensure a secure climb.

Always put the spurs/spikes on correctly, securely attach a rope, climb with careful foot placement, and unhook them safely. Additionally, using tree climbing spurs/spikes offers several benefits, such as increased climbing stability and efficiency. However, it is crucial to always keep safety in mind and be aware of potential risks. Hope now you understand how to use tree climbing spurs/spikes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.How Do You Set Up Tree Climbing Spikes?

Ans: To set up tree climbing spikes, check their condition and sharpen them if needed. Attach the spikes to your legs using a tree gaff or belt. Carefully climb the tree, making sure not to harm the bark. Remove the spikes and safely rappel down using a rope or other safety device when descending.

2.Do Tree Climbing Spikes Damage Trees?

Ans: When used incorrectly, tree climbing spikes can damage trees. These spikes create wounds in the bark that can lead to long-term tree damage. Professional arborists often use other climbing methods, like ropes and harnesses, to avoid harming trees. It’s crucial to follow proper techniques and guidelines to minimize damage.

3.What Is The Difference Between Pole Spurs And Tree Spurs?

Ans: Pole spurs and tree spurs have distinct differences. While pole spurs are for climbing utility poles, tree spurs are for climbing trees. The design of the two also varies, with pole spurs having shorter spikes and a wider shank, while tree spurs have longer spikes and a narrower shank for better grip on tree bark.

4.Do Tree Spurs Damage Trees?

Ans: Tree spurs have the potential to damage trees if not used correctly. It is important to avoid using them on young or thin-barked trees. To minimize damage, consider using a protective wrap or pad. Always remove the spurs after use to prevent any long-term harm.

5.What Are Tree Climbing Spurs/Spikes And How Do They Work?

Ans: Tree climbing spurs/spikes are tools arborists and climbers use to ascend trees. They consist of a metal shank with spikes or hooks attached to the tree bark. By pushing the spikes into the tree, climbers use their leg muscles to climb up safely and efficiently.

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