While the world is currently in a sports oriented mindset, it would be remiss to overlook results from one exciting non-Olympic event—the International Tree Climbing Championship—that took place earlier this month. Contestants from all over the world participated in a competition that started as idea back in 1975 (and was dubbed the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Tree Trimmer’s Jamboree).
Representing Team USA, expert arborist Mark Chisholm of New Jersey (pictured above), the two-time world champion, took his 15th top-five finish. He placed third overall.
One part acrobat, one part expert rope climber, one part tree physiologist, and several parts competitor and thrill seeker, Chisholm works as a professional arborist with his family owned Aspen Tree Expert Company in New Jersey. A STIHL spokesman since 2001, Chisholm travels the world conducting safety and education training on behalf of STIHL among numerous professional groups, most recently in Italy at the annual European Congress of Arboriculture. STIHL manufactures chain saws, which Chisholm uses professionally and personally.
In a field of 37 competitors, which included this year’s champion, Bernd Strasser, Chisholm finished the preliminary competition in overall first place and took the following finishes in advance of the Master’s Challenge:
• Belayed Speed Climb – Chisholm took 2nd place with a time of 48.87 seconds in this event that tests the contestant’s ability to climb up a predetermined route from the ground to about 60 feet up a tree with a belayed climbing system attached for safety.
• Aerial Rescue – Chisholm finished in 2nd place with a score of 44 points in this timed event that tests the contestant’s ability to climb to and safely lower a 120-pound dummy representing a climber who is unable to descend without assistance.
• Work Climb – Chisholm took 3rd place with a time of 84.015 seconds in the work climb, which tests the contestant’s ability to move about the tree using a tree-climbing rope and saddle to several work stations, where they are given in-tree tasks to complete.
He held his secured footlock world record of 13.8 seconds.
Chisholm has placed among the top 10 at the ISA’s International Tree Climbing Championship for the past 17 years. He recently won his 16th straight title at the New Jersey Arborist’s Chapter of the ISA’s Tree Climbing Competition – which qualified him for this year’s international competition.
“This competition is always very tough, and I’m proud to be working among the best in the industry here,” said Chisholm. “An event like this does so much to raise awareness for the importance of caring for trees – one of our most important renewable resources.”