On 9 August 2019, professional tree climbers from around the world gathered under the Lakeshore Park Canopy in Knoxville, Tennessee, for the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC).
ISA would like to issue a special thanks to Arbortec for all their support during ITCC and for creating such an amazing video.
The competition is a three-day event where professional arborists, men and women, compete in a series of events which showcase new tree climbing techniques and equipment, promote the professional practice of arboriculture and foster a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees through research, technology and education.
ITCC began in California as a way to train climbers equipped with nothing more than a rope to have the ability to save a life in an aerial rescue. The event expanded internationally in 1994 when the first European climber entered the competition. In 1996, the competition grew to include a championship round called the Masters’ Challenge, and the name change to the International Tree Climbing Championship.
Throughout this year’s competition, 46 men and 28 women were scored individually in several events — Aerial Rescue, Work Climb, Secured Footlock, Belayed Speed Climb and Throwline — to see who would be the best. After the winners were named in the preliminary events, the competitors’ total scores from all five events were combined and the male and female competitors with the highest combined scores competed in the Masters’ Challenge. The Masters' Challenge consists of one event, and competitors are scored on technique and skill.
The 2019 Men’s and Women’s Masters’ Challenge champions are Scott Forrest from New Zealand, and Josephine Hedger from the United Kingdom.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to come here and win for a fourth time, and it really is unbelievable,” Forrest said after receiving the trophy during the awards ceremony.
Both Hedger and Forrest have each won four Masters’ Challenges. “To get it again after such a long period of time is an amazing feeling,” Hedger said. “I love this sport and I love the community. I’ll keep climbing for a couple more years, and when I’ve had enough I’ll come back and volunteer.”
For more information about ITCC and other tree climbing competitions, please visit the ITCC website.