Adventures must be done!

Tarzan or 'Climbing a Tree' (31st Dec 2007)

It was the last day of the year and Marcel and I had decided to visit another 5 star terrain rated geocache, aptly named 'Tarzan' as it involved climbing a tree to retrieve a geocache hanging about 12-15 metres above ground on a well grown oak tree.
I had carried out preparations including the obtaining of a couple of Petzl rope ascenders and the manufacturing of a special arrow for my old bow: A piece of blunt brass rod fit snugly where the point had been, this would give the arrow more weight resulting in a better balanced kinetic performance A little hole drilled in at the end served to tie in a kite line. The idea was to shoot the arrow with the attached line over some branch and use it to haul up the climbing rope.
We approached the tree with all our gear and started to prepare for a first shot. We gained some instant knowledge about the peculiarities of kite lines, they seem to twist themselves into amazing knots in no time and we had to sort out the tangled mess.

"Hey, look, it's tide itself in a figure of eight right here!"
'Darn these lines, this is like fishing!'
"Yeah, makes you swear a lot!"

The first shot bounced of a branch, leaving us with some tangle again. The second one was better in terms of aiming but the line was tying itself into a thick knot during takeoff!
It got hooked up somewhere in the branches and we could not pull it clear, snapping the line in the end.
The third try was a full success. 

Me aiming at the oak with my bow.

The arrow went over a solid branch and fell down on the other side. Capital!
We tied a thin cord to the kite line and hauled that one up, very careful as not to snap the line again, then we brought up the climbing rope by the thicker cord. One end was tied to a nearby tree with a clove hitch and secured by some overhand knots.

Setting up the gear.

 I installed the ascenders, tied myself in and started the ascent. 

Ascending the rope.

Despite the chill in the forest I warmed up considerably during the climb. The rope had not exactly gone over the branch we wanted, thus when I reached the end of the first rope I attached our second climbing rope on the correct branch, then switched over to the new rope in mid air and finally got to the top and grabbed the cache. 

Installing the second rope.

Now it was a bit of a fiddle to setup the abseiling gear as it meant taking the strain of the ascenders at some point. Having succeeded I rappelled and we opened the cache, a thermos bottle, and got out the log book, followed by some ice that must have got in by the top where a hook had been attached by a screw nut.
Then it was Marcels task to get the cache up again. 

Marcel ascending.

As last person Marcels nephew Kevin ascended the tree just for the fun of it, but he had the misfortune to get his rope blocked in his descender really nastily and it must have been the jerkiest, slowest abseil I've ever observed!
Neat little outing to end a year of many adventures!