Africa

Ain't no tree high enough: Climbing South Africa's leafy summits

Published 5:00 AM ET, Mon December 31, 2018
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A group of international tree climbers has embarked on a mission to explore some of Africa's most spectacular trees. Explore Trees
Launched by David Wiles (pictured), the "Explore Trees" project is aiming to help highlight the need to preserve South Africa's spectacular trees. Explore Trees
The group scaled climbed what was measured to be the world's tallest planted tree: an 81.5-meter eucalyptus in Limpopo. Leisl Pohl
The climbers are using tree-friendly modern scaling techniques that involve a mechanical ascender which makes scaling easier and safer. Explore Trees
"We work on a leave-no-trace policy so the use of spurs is 100% no go!" says Wiles. "We shoot a thin 1.5mm line with a 8/10oz weight up into the canopy using a 10ft tall slingshot or crossbow," he adds. "We then disconnect the weight and tie on our rope and haul the thin line back pulling out climbing lines into the tree." Explore Trees
Wiles (left) and co-founder Drew Bristow also helped in installing nest boxes for the endangered Cape Parrot, an endemic species of which less than 1,000 are thought to be alive. Explore Trees
Wiles and Bristow enjoying the views from the tallest yellowwood tree in Eastern Cape. ©David Wiles
As part of its educational focus, the group also gave school children the chance to experience the thrill of climbing South Africa's magnificent trees. Explore Trees
Can you think of a better place to take a nap? Drew Bristow
... or just hang out for a while? David Wiles