Ozarks Man Competing Internationally in Tree Climbing

By Brett Martin | bmartin@kolr10.com

Published 07/28 2014 07:02AM

Updated 07/28 2014 07:12AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Nineteen years ago, Noel Boyer picked up his first set of climbing gear but never dreamed it would turn into a career.

"I graduated from SMS with a degree in psychology and I needed a J-O-B," says Boyer.

Boyer is competing in the international tree climbing competition in Milwaukee this weekend.

"Each chapter of the ISA has their own tree climbing championship and the winner from each of those chapters, and there are about 30 something chapters worldwide, and the winner from each of those gets to go to internationals and compete."

The competition tests everything from on the ground to the top of the tree.

"There's a competition for setting a line in a tree, there's a competition for how fast can you ascend up the rope, there's a competition for routing and agility and being smooth in a tree."

I gave it a shot to see how it feels to swing from a tree.

"Are you ready for this?" says Brett Martin.

"I know he is ready for it, the question is are you?"

Boyer says the equipment has changed but the technique is still very much the same.

"What I'm using, this is a double rope system and this is called a single line system."

After we got to our first stopping point, I was off the ground enough.

"How did you get past the part of not having your feet onto anything?" asks Martin.

"You just get used to it."

Boyer says the competition can teach climbers important lessons like rescuing techniques, which they almost needed for me.

"If someone gets hurt in a tree, how are you going to get them down. Most of the local EMTs or fire departments don't know how to do that so that's a pretty important skill that's a part of the competition."

its more than a career for Boyer, its a way of life.

"We are so ate up with it that we go camping on weekends and we actually take these tree boat hammocks up to the top of the trees and sling them into the tree tops and we sleep in the tree tops so I've actually slept 93 feet high in a hickory tree before."

While he says he doesn't have a shot at winning, he hopes to bring back ideas to make tree climbing in the Ozarks safer.

"The whole point of this competition is idea sharing venture where all these climbers from all around the world come together and share ideas about how to do this job more safely and efficiently so we can all go home at night."

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