The hot topic of conversation among tree climbers at the 1997 ISA Conference in Salt Lake City was the "new French Prusik" knot. It was somewhat controversial since the International Tree Climbing Championship committee was faced with the decision of whether to allow its use in competition. It had been previously disallowed in 1995. In actuality, the knot has been around in arboriculture for awhile.
In 1993 I had the good fortune to be one of the Americans to attend the first European Congress on Tree Care in Lahnstein, Germany. To this day those of us that were there remember the Congress as a forum that helped us all to realize the importance of the ISA and the International Tree Climbing Championship series.
Francois Dussenne from Belgium introduced the Machard Tresse, an unusual climbing hitch, to all those present at the first European Tree Climbing Competition. He had used the climbing hitch in 1992 to help him win his second French Championship. Everyone who had a chance to try the Machard tresse agreed that it was more complex than the other climbing hitches. There was an equal sense of intrigue and caution among us.
The Machard tresse is, in my opinion, an advanced knot that requires experience and practice to integrate into a climbing system. I have seen several different ways of tying the knot, utilizing a variety of rope lengths of cord that is being used today. In this article we are endeavoring to compare and contrast several experienced climber's views on this knot. Each reader must assess the advantages and disadvantages before drawing their own opinions.
Ken Palmer is the only three time International Tree Climbing C...
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... number of different climbers. I have used the Machard tresse continuously over the past two years with the exception of a few short attempts to return to a previously used hitch. The outcome is always the same - I return to the Machard tresse. I would like to also bring to notice the fact that it has yet to be approved or disapproved by the ANSI Z-133.1 committee. I would also like to mention that I know of no device or knot that has been examined by the ANSI without first gaining recognition by a vast audience. Whether you choose to climb with the French Prusik or not, it still proves to be worth knowing.
Mark Chisholm is the defending International Tree Climbing Champion and has conducted tree climbing seminars around the country. He is from New Jersey where he works with his father, Steve, and brother, Stephen, at their company, The Aspen Tree Expert Company.
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