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Pasadena to play host to the North American Tree Climbing Championship

A climber participating in the 2011 Tree Climbing Championship.
A climber participating in the 2011 Tree Climbing Championship.

If you visit Brookside Park and see a bunch of adults climbing trees, don't worry--it's completely normal. At least for this weekend. 

Arborists from all over the U.S. and Canada will compete in the 2014 North American Tree Climbing Championship. The Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture hosted the first tree climber event more than forty years ago, and now they've brought it back to its birthplace here in California. Arborist Dick Alvarez started the event in 1975 as a way to preserve the classic skills that a climber would need if he or she had to perform an aerial rescue. The competition's changed a bit since then. There's now a work climb and a belayed speed climb. Part of the work climb involves walking back and forth along a narrow tree limb and then ringing a bell--with a handsaw. 

Today over one thousand contestants participate at over fifty local competitions worldwide. Winners will compete in at the International Tree Climbing Championship, which has been held everywhere from Cleveland, Ohio to Sydney, Australia. Come watch and cheer on the contestants, three of whom are from California. Children's activities will be held throughout the day, including a visit from Professor Arbor E. Tum. 

The competition takes place this Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6. Events officially start at 8:00am. Admission is free. Check out the International Society of Arboriculture's website for more info.