Petzl is pleased to welcome the world-renowned arborist Jared Abrojena to its Athlete Team.
Jared, 29, lives in Antioch, California, with his wife and two children. He's the first athlete to represent Petzl on the Professional side and has been using Petzl equipment for years, for work and for competition. He finished first in the 2009 International Tree Climbing Championship and second in the 2010 Championship. He’s lightning fast on rope, and has come within a tenth of a second of the world record for 50-foot footlock rope climb (the record is currently 13.8 seconds).
His success should come as no surprise – arborism is in Jared’s blood. Both his mother, father, and brother are arborists and he still works for the family business, Evergreen Tree Care, which his parents founded 30 years ago. “I began climbing at eight years old,” Jared says.
In addition to working as a professional arborist and competing regularly, Jared also runs his own training company, ClimbSmart. His sponsors include Petzl and Sherrill Tree.
An interview with Jared Abrojena
Petzl: What draws you to arborism?
Jared: Working in trees has so many aspects that motivate me, but mostly I enjoy working outside and the physical challenge it takes to climb trees. At the same time, trees are living and require specific care. It’s good to know that caring for trees has a positive effect on our atmosphere as well.
P: How long have you been competing and what are your three proudest moments / accomplishments in competition?
JA: I’ve been competing for 12 years, and my three proudest moments are: my first chapter competition title in 2000, the ITCC world title in 2009, and [also in the ITCC] first place in preliminaries and second in the master division in 2010. Lastly, my son was born the day of my competition in 2007.
P: How do you train and/or prepare for competitions?
JA: I do a lot of different cross training. Cycling, swimming, running, pull-ups, plyometrics…and I climb every day.
P: Is there a particular event that's your favorite?
J: Footlock and speed belay; these are the two speed events.
Jared Abrojena competing in the 2010 International Tree Climbing Championships.
P: What pieces of Petzl gear do you rely on most when you're working or competing?
JA: I use a Petzl saddle (SEQUOIA), carabiners (AM’D), RIG, GRIGRI, handled ascenders, and helmet. These are things I use daily, whether at work or during competition. This equipment makes work not only easier, but also more efficient and safer. You’ll find these pieces of gear on my harness every day.
P: What would you tell a young person who expresses an interest in arborism?
JA: Arboriculture has so many fields, from tree biology to being in the field and climbing. This profession is not a walk in the park either way you go, but it’s a great industry with lots of opportunity. If you’re interested in the climbing, I’d recommend doing some hands-on training involving climbing and pruning. Understanding trees’ vigor and structure is a huge role that should be at the top of the list as well. Tree work is a extremely physical and straining profession but very rewarding as well.
P: What's the next big event you have coming up?
JA: My chapter competition on January 29, 2011 in San Diego. The North American Tree Climbing Competition in Savanna, Georgia, is right after, in February. If I win either of these, I qualify for ITCC in Australia.*
P: Anything else you'd like people out there to know?
JA: Work smarter, not harder. Use Petzl.
* Since the time of this interview, Jared compteted in this event and won, so he'll be heading to Australia for the 2011 International Tree Climbing Championships.
Jared competing in the 2009 ITCC 50' Footlock competition. He clocks in at near-record 13.97 seconds.
For more on the Labor of Love that is arborism, check out this post on petzl.com.