UK & Ireland Tree Climbing Competition

Event sponsored by:

If you’re interested in taking part in one of our Tree Climbing Competitions, then give us your details!


(Competition held under ISA Rules)

Thank you to all those who took part in and sponsored the 2017 competition. We look forward to seeing you in 2018. In the meantime see a gallery of images and the results for 2017 here.

This event delivers the International Society of Arboriculture Climbing Championship series to the UK & Ireland. The global series looks to provide competitive but educational opportunities for working arborists to demonstrate and exchange new climbing techniques, increase the interaction between various firms and members in the industry, and provide positive public exposure for the profession.

The competition aim to simulate working conditions of arborists in the field. Male and female competitors perform five different events during preliminary rounds. Each event tests a competitor's ability to professionally, and safely manoeuvre in a tree while performing work-related tree-care tasks in a timely manner.

Tree climbing competitions under ISA rules are held in countries around the world.

Overview of events

Preliminary event: The Ascent event tests the competitor’s ability to efficiently and safely use their selected and approved ascent system. The event assesses the competitor’s efficiency in attaching the ascent system to the ascent line(s), ascending to the bell, and transferring into a descent system. The actual descent is not part of the event. Points are earned for speed as well as for meeting predetermined safety objectives.

Preliminary event: The Throwline is a timed event that tests the competitor’s ability to accurately place a throwline and/or climbing line in a tree at heights between approximately 10 and 20 meters. Competitors attempt to toss a throwline or climbing line through two of eight targets set in trees. Targets vary in difficulty and number of points earned. Each competitor is allowed unlimited throws within 6 minutes. Highest cumulative points total wins.

Preliminary event: The Aerial Rescue event is a timed event that tests the competitor’s ability to climb to and safely lower a climber who is unable to descend without assistance. Competitors shall perform a risk assessment, a pre-climb assessment, and an onsite casualty assessment, and should use all relevant techniques to ensure that the rescue process does not exacerbate the pre-decided injury. Points are allocated for performance throughout the event with highest points total winning the event.

Preliminary event: The Work Climb tests the competitor’s ability to move about the tree using a climbing system. Each competitor starts from a staging area in the tree and is required to visit five work stations throughout the tree, performing a specified task at each station. Competitors earn objective points for successfully completing the task at each station and ringing the bell (or sounding the horn) with either a handsaw, pole pruner, or hand, as indicated. At certain stations, a competitor can earn points for completing the additional tasks. Competitors can also lose points for failing to properly complete certain other tasks. Competitors earn subjective points based on safety, control, style, poise, and creativity at the discretion of the judges. Finally, a competitor can be penalized for unsafe or uncontrolled acts at the discretion of the Event Head Judge that could result in disqualification. The time limit for this event is 5 minutes.

Preliminary event: The Speed Climb tests the competitor’s ability to climb a predetermined route from the ground to 18 meters up a tree with a belayed climbing system for safety. The event is timed, and the competitor who reaches and rings the final bell of the course, in the least amount of time wins.

Final: The Masters’ Challenge is the final round of the competition. The top men and top women finishers from the preliminary events advance to the Masters’ Challenge to compete for the title. The Masters’ Challenge is designed to judge the competitors’ overall productivity and skill. Competitors are judged and scored on their knowledge and their ability to demonstrate mastery of different climbing techniques, use of equipment, poise in the tree, and safe working practice.

Year Men Women
2017 TBC TBC
The 2016 event was run by Arborventure Training
2016 Joe Davis Jo Hedger
2015 Ben Saxton Jo Hedger
Events run by ISA United Kingdom & Ireland Chapter
2014 Matt Glenn Jo Hedger
2013 Alistair Magee Jo Hedger
2012 Jon Turnball Jo Hedger
2011 Jon Turnball Jo Hedger
2010 Rhys Brace Jo Hedger
2009 Stuart Witt Jo Hedger
2008 Scott Forest Phillipa Allen
2007 Stuart Witt Phillipa Allen
2006 Jon Turnball Phillipa Allen
2005 Stuart Witt Abbie Bengston
2004 Gavin Rodenhurst
2003 Chris Cowell
2002 Sam Robinson
2001 Jon Harthill
2000 Sam Robinson
1999 Jon Harthill
1998 Jon Harthill
1997 Craig Johnson
1996 Jon Harthill
1995 Jan Grzeda

This event is held under, and in the spirt of, the ISA Rules