A Beginner’s Guide to the Different Types of Arborist Rope

July 24, 2023

New to the world of tree surgery? If you’re curious about the kinds of rope that arborists use on a daily basis, you’ve come to the right place. In this introductory guide, we’ll give you an overview of the two main categories of rope that an arborist uses, before explaining the technical differences between them. Let’s dive in.

The types of rope arborists use

Rope is one of the most essential tools in an arborist’s armoury. Without it, they simply wouldn’t be able to do their job. It’s vital that tree surgeons choose the right kind of rope for the task at hand; make the wrong choice, and their job won’t just be harder, but safety could be at risk.

The two main types of rope that arborists use are as follows…

Climbing rope

Tree climbing rope is, as its name suggests, used to help secure the climber to the tree. The rope has to support the climber’s weight, allowing them to safely and efficiently scale up and down the tree – and crucially, it has to be specifically arborist climbing rope, not just any rope.

Arborists need to be in total control of their ascent and descent at all times, Unlike rock climbers, they don’t want any stretch in their rope, so they use ‘static’ climbing rope. This type of rope reduces the effort required to climb, and makes it easier to descend in a slow, controlled manner. 

Rigging rope

Rigging rope is used to lower tree branches and cut sections of timber safely to the ground. It has to be able to support a significant amount of weight (some types of wood can be extraordinarily dense), but a little stretch here is preferred. As a result, many rigging ropes have a slightly more dynamic construction – although a rigging rope ideally should also be suitable for lifting, and for this application, it doesn’t want too much stretch.

Because it has more elasticity, branches can be lowered to the ground more efficiently and reduce a strain on the rigging system. The rope itself takes up the strain and its stretchiness minimises any jolts, keeping the arborist safe.  

What’s wrong with general purpose rope?

All arborist rope – static or dynamic – is built specifically for the task at hand. That means improved durability, relevant load ratings, technically appropriate construction for durability and abrasion resistance, and the right certification. As a result, it’s simply not worth cutting corners here: if you’re planning to enter the arboricultural profession, take the time to select the appropriate ropes for the job, and don’t be tempted to relegate old climbing ropes to rigging. It’s just not worth the risks.

We have a comprehensive range of arborist climbing rope and rigging rope here at Harkie Global. Explore the full collection online and get yours today.