Local arborists reach for success at Southern Oregon Regional Tree Climbing Competition

ASHLAND, Ore. — Hosted by Ashland Parks and Recreation, the Southern Oregon Regional Tree Climbing Competition took place on Saturday at Lithia Park.

About 30 participants reached for success in the 2nd annual mother’s day weekend event.

“Climbing competitions are about industry best practice and continuing education for professional arborist,” Ashland Parks and Recreation superintendent Mike Oxendine said.

Out of the 30 participants competing, more than one-third of the competitors were from the Rogue Valley, with others traveling from as far as British Columbia.

“The perspective that you get from just even being 20 feet up is so different than being on the ground,” participant Rachel French said.

The event featured five different stations from aerial rescue to a throw line event.

Oxendine said with the number of trees in the pacific northwest, there is a ton of work for an arborist.

“We have a lot of trees the Pacific Northwest and the Siskiyou Mountains that meet the Cascade Mountain range here,” Oxendine said. “It’s one of the most bio-diverse regions that you can find, so that means that there’s a lot of work for arborists here and a lot of people in Ashland, in particular, really value their trees.”

The event helps give them the training to do what they love safely all while having a little fun.

“It gives other climbers to come and have a chance to discuss gear, to discuss technique,” French said. “I mean if anything it makes the industry safer because your seeing other people practice, maybe perhaps a technique you didn’t even know of so I think in anything it levels up the industry.”

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