This year’s International Tree Climbing Championships (ITCC) took place in Sydney, Australia in late July (winter in the southern hemisphere). Petzl athlete Jared Abrojena, a professional and competitive arborist from California, has fared exceptionally well in ITCC events in the past couple of years, continuing his world-class performance this year. Following are some of his thoughts on the competition.
"The ITCC took place during the middle of the Australian winter. We got caught in a huge storm that delayed the first day of competition, which was pushed back into Saturday. This was fine until noon… then came the heavy rains again. We ended up finishing the day successfully in the rain. The final event turned out great on Sunday, with blue skies and sunshine.
Jared Abrojena at the 2011 International Tree Climbing Championships. Photo: ©Linda Abrojena.
I started preparation for the competition months before. I do a lot of cross training, swimming, and cycling to make sure my cardio is in a good place. This year I took up plyometric exercises, which I think helped a lot with explosive movements (footlock) and agility in the tree. I also do around 150 pull-ups a day, plus 150 pushups. Plus work in trees.
At the 2011 ITCC there were five preliminary events: Footlock (I placed 3rd) Throwline, Work climb (I placed 2nd), Belayed Speed Climb, and Aerial Rescue. After all the events were scored, I ended up placing second in the Preliminary Events for Saturday. On Sunday, the top five competed in one Master Climb, a 30-minute climb with various stations throughout the tree where you have to get your rope/equipment in and out of the tree in the allotted time. I placed fifth overall – the only American in the top five.
The Head to Head Footlock event was fun! It puts you right next to your competition. You ascend 50 feet up the rope using a footlock prusik as a fall arrest. It takes lot of focus. You can’t get caught up with what the person next to you is doing or you will end up losing your footing and momentum. This is one of my strongest events and I have won it in the past, but depending on the day I am usually in the top five. The secret for me in this event is a lot of practice and technique. Being consistent and not missing a footlock is difficult, so find your timing and let it rip.
The crowds at the 2011 ITCC. Photo: ©Linda Abrojena.
Overall the event turned out great and the weather permitted. There weren’t a lot of spectators out, due to the weather, but everything turned out great considering. I feel I did OK but definitely not my best. I look foreword to redeeming myself next year in Oregon."