In 35 degree heat and more than 100% humidity, SAS (Singapore Arboriculture Society) put together an amazing event in Singapore’s Fort Canning Park. This was one, if not the most luxurious tree climbing event i have been to and trust me, i have been to a few… They turned it on with a huge marquee, live music, food, the works. With a very experienced group of set up climbers and technicians, the foundation for an excellent competition was established.
Preliminary day Saturday started off very relaxed with climbers eager to watch the first participants climbing in the the two main events – Workclimb and Rescue. The Workclimb was set in a relatively small but rather wide Albizia tree with interesting angles between stations making maintaining momentum the key, especially between the first and second stations. The limb walk was challenging due to the upward slope on the branch, the slender size of the branch and the flexibility of the branch itself. Well done Workclimb team and Tom Greenwood for the setup there. On to rescue, this was one which we have seen variations of in the past but not quite like this. Scenario concocted by Grant Cody & Ged Reynolds; climber was working with two independent climbing systems in the periphery of the canopy when mysteriously they became unconscious and therefor unable to bring themselves down. Here we saw many variations including the effective use of single line work positioning to complete the rescue. I thought ultimately the use of a third hand was necessary but we managed some how.
The results were tight with top climbers looking for a spot in the masters challenge the next day. In the end, for the Women we had; Chrissy Spence 1st qualifier and Nicky Ward-Allen less than a point behind. Men going through were; James Gigliotti AUS, Craig Wilson NZ, Barton Allen-Hall AUS, James Kilpatrick NZ and Henk Morgans QLD in that order.
Masters day Sunday. Set in a large Pterocarpus (I think) by Tiago Miranda, Ged Reynolds and Grant Cody who couldn’t have set the stations any further out on the branch tips if they had tried to….Yep, looks like its going to be a challenge with a 25min time limit! Well the next thing to happen which certainly is a twist in the story to put it bluntly, Jamie Boston from Australia was hit by a car while crossing the road, but i mean seriously hit. Event paramedics and friends were there within seconds to help stabilise Jamie before the ambulance arrived a few minutes later. Through the swift and professional actions of everyone involved, his injuries were mitigated and he is now recovering back in Australia. After a team talk and enough time to refocus, plans were made to continue with the masters event.
Craig was the first to climb then James Gigliotti. Both with solid climbs, Craig opting for a midline anchor at the first station which the judges liked. Unfortunately they both got their ropes stuck while retrieving their gear and timed out. Barton came out third and didn’t put a foot wrong the whole way through his climb also finishing nicely. I didn’t get a chance to see the above climbers so i can’t elaborate in further detail. I came out fourth after a light rain, (which didn’t help with the humidity) I set my line but didn’t see a small branch which my access line was over so after a quick reset, I was underway with time ticking. At no point did i have a second spare so i made sure not to waste one while following my plan as i hoped it would unfold. People often tell me i look so slow in the tree, man im pretty sure i was moving that day. With 15 seconds i had completed the climb and successfully removed all my equipment. Stoked.
Henk was last on the Mens list, with too much time being spent on the ground it would have been near impossible to complete the tree but none the less, good effort Henk.
Chrissy kicked it off for the women. After a bit of playing around with throwline, She was in the tree and doing what she does best, tearing it up. Climbing smoothly, safely but still with a hurry on, she needed just 3 seconds longer to reach the last final bell with her handsaw…Solid effort! Nicky next and the last climber of the day. She threw and threw again, always in the right spot but just to the right of the intended target. She footlocked into the tree, set her gear and started ringing bells. It was impressive to watch Nicky testing the branch flexibility limits on the limb-toss station but obviously having a good feeling for the tree in that respect. Nicky headed for the final station but with her tie in point not ideal, she opted to decent instead.
Winners of the 2015 APTCC were; Chrissy Spence and James Kilpatrick
I want to make a really special thanks to the NZArb and all its members for helping the entire kiwi team with travel costs.
Shout out to the kiwi participants; Nicky Ward-Allen, Chrissy Spence, Elliot Fitzjohn, Craig Wilson, Andy Neverman Drew Bristow and Zane Wedding who was representing QAA but we all know he’s kiwi as the days!
To the kiwi volunteers; Trevor Gardiner, Richard Wanhill and David James
And important official kiwi people; Mark Roberts
Cheers, James Kilpatrick