Spending a day in the trees with Benoit
Benoit is a professional tree-climber, an accomplished mountaineer, and an avid illustrator. While his job and passions often take his head into the clouds, Benoit without a doubt has his feet planted firmly on the ground, having started his own business. Passionate about his profession and hobbies, Benoit talks about one of the most interesting… and complex job sites he has ever worked at.
August 5 2020
What is your first name?
What is your nationality?
What is your profession, your background, and what you would like to tell us about yourself, like your passions and hobbies?
I've been a professional tree-climber and tree-care specialist for 10 years. After working in France and abroad (in Canada and Australia), I started my own company, Arbres et Solutions. A professional tree-climber is an expert on trees, and capable of diagnosing a problem and choosing the right solution. My job consists of making sure that trees thrive in an urban environment.
I am also a certified trainer (technical specialist at an agricultural high school for Tree-Care / Tree-Climber certification) and a PPE inspector. As a member of the French Arboriculture Society, every year I participate in the tree-climbing championships that they organize. In addition to my regular job, I am currently finishing the list of required climbs to become a high-mountain guide. I enjoy all sorts of mountain sports. This past winter, my girlfriend and I crossed the Pyrenees on skis (over the 40 days it took to finish the adventure we had 39 days of great weather!).
And finally, when the weather prevents me from heading outdoors, I like to draw.
(I have started to publish a few of my drawings on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ben.reviers/)
Could you tell us a little bit about your company?
Arbres et Solutions
Tree cutting and tree care (tree conservation management)
Tell us about one of your jobs…
What was the objective?
We had to remove three Atlas cedar trees (Cedrus Atlantica): cutting each tree into small pieces as we climbed in the tree. We used a basic zip line for controlled lowers, wrapping sections of branches with rope to keep them from falling straight to the ground and damaging any infrastructure around the tree. We also used a mobile crane to cut and remove the largest pieces of the trunks.
What equipment did you need and use for the job?
We deployed a rope for the climber, a retention system for the branches, a zip line, and a mobile crane.
What were the specificities, constraints, and challenges you faced for this particular job?
The worksite consisted of three cedar trees, including one over thirty meters tall and 1.30m in diameter at ground level… in a surprisingly small yard surrounded by two garden sheds and a school wall! The only way to get ourselves and our equipment to the base of the trees was through the yard's small side gate.
What do you most remember about this job?
The job took four days, which is pretty long for a tree removal job.
Both tree-climbers needed to work together: while one was in the tree the other was on the ground to manage the zip-line rope (sometimes we switched roles).
It was important to communicate clearly before and during, and to choose the most appropriate technique to use. It was a really tricky and tight worksite due to the sheer height and size of the trees we needed to remove, and the difficult access didn't make our job any easier either.
What does a typical day look like for someone in your profession?
Climbing in trees and doing different types of tree care (pruning, removal, staking and guying, and assessing the health of a tree).
Could you tell us a funny or unbelievable personal story?
I was lucky enough to be able to go tree climbing in French Guyana, in the middle of the Amazon Jungle. What a truly memorable experience. On more than one occasion the vegetation was so thick that I couldn't see where my rope was anchored, and with every meter I climbed I discovered different plants, insects, and sounds. It was magical. It's so fascinating to explore an environment with such incredible biodiversity.