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Thread: Climbing to 17+ ft. w/2 Muddy Sticks!!!

  1. #1
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    Climbing to 17+ ft. w/2 Muddy Sticks!!!

    Yes, it can be done with a few ultra lightweight "accessories."

    Over the past few years, I've been trying to come up with an easy and lightweight/portable solution for "exploratory hunting." My "solution" works particularly well with "harness hunting." (aka: tree saddles) I've tried numerous different combinations and equipment over the past few years, and I finally have something that works! ~ It's fast, you don't sweat, and it's very portable/compact. It adds about 1 lb. of weight to the the two sticks. ~ For those interested, I should have a few photos this evening of my setup.....

    WARNING: I'm not saying it's safe, or that you should even attempt it. In fact I suggest you don't because climbing sticks were not designed to work like this. That being said, I firmly believe that the climbing stick itself (being metal) is the "weakest part of the link." As with any climbing techniques, you must be extremely careful.

    PS: This technique does not involve moving sticks while in the tree. Once there locked on, that's where they stay. Also, there is no crazy reaching, jumping or other crazy maneuvers involved. I've been climbing/hunting this way since last late October. (I'm 48 yrs. old, 210 lbs. & I'm in pretty good shape. (I do run/jog all summer long preparing for hunting season.) To be completely honest, I've become very comfortable climbing this way, and I've never had any issues. (Knock on wood?!?!)

    Always wear a safety/linesman belt while climbing.

    Components:

    This gets you to almost 15 ft:
    2 muddy sticks (the ones with double steps that open up)
    2 Petzl climbing aiders http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00388SAFI (Important: These are relatively short 5 ft. aiders.)
    2 10mm "runners" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P3AUGG (connects aider to bottom part of Muddy Stick)
    (I loop these 1/2 way through the aider's "hanging loop" & hang them over the bottom foot pegs before "opening them.")

    To get a few feet higher, I use these:
    Bottom "starter" step: 1 Cranford Industries EZY® Climb Folding Rope Tree Step
    Second step: 1 Jim Stepp "Stepp Ladder" step (It makes a decent "starter platform" for setting up the first stick & climbing etrier aka aider.
    (I suppose you could even use a second "starter" step if 20 ft. is your goal.)

    Notes:

    If a Muddy Stick ever "fails", things will "get ugly." Tree must be relatively straight to avoid aider from kicking out to the side, especially on the first 2 steps of the aider (safety consideration). ALSO: While feet are in the aiders, it's very important to maintain upper body leverage using the foot pegs on the sticks.

    It's easiest to climb with lighter boots. I've used my winter ones too, but it is more difficult to get into "the stirrups" of the aiders. Also, a red light is not going to help. Green is OK while ascending/descending in the dark. (aiders have an orange step to help you see where to place boot) The first step on the aider (going down) is the most difficult one. The aiders I chose have a first step that is very short (I don't always use it.) But... When you're "struggling" to get your foot in while descending, it makes things easier. ~ It's actually a little easier going up than down because you have to "thread your foot" into the aider! ~ The good news is, it's impossible for the aider to become disconnected from the sticks, because the "runners" are "locked into place" when the pegs are opened. (as long as nothing is ripped/torn)

    When I do a setup, I first go up the tree without bow or backpack. I keep a tether to the pack and pull it up afterwards. And to the pack, I have a "Doyle's retractable hoist which "unreels" as pack is lifted. Once pack is hung, I pull up the bow. ~ It's a "one trip up setup." Also: If I'm leaving the setup in a tree overnight and I know the tree "works well" with the muddy/aider combo, I bring everything up with me, instead of using the hoists. (pack on back, and bow hanging from my hip)

    At ground level, I setup the starter step, the second step, and I also loosely place the first muddy stick (connected to the first aider) around the tree as high as I can reach. That way, I only have to climb with one muddy stick hanging from my waist (aider already attached).

    PS: Muddy sticks are great for attaching the runners (connecting aider to stick) because of the smooth oval design of the foot peg mounts. (and the fact that they effectively lock the "runners" in)

    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!


  2. #2
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    That's all..17'?

  3. #3
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    How about a video?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by twn417 View Post
    How about a video?
    Once you see the photo, you won't need a video. Very simple to figure out. Climb up and down the aiders while pulling yourself up (for stability if aider kicks out) using the foot pegs built into the sticks.

    Which reminds me:

    NEVER HOLD ONTO THE TREE WHILE CLIMBING/DESCENDING. ALWAYS HOLD ONTO THE FOOTPEGS: And if your bottom step of the aider is on the left, your right hand should be grabbing the top foot peg (of the stick the aider is hanging from), while your left hand is holding the bottom one. This gives you the added leverage you may need (to keep your body in line with the tree) if your left foot kicks out from the tree. (Opposite holds true if you have the aider reversed with right foot being the first step.) ~ The lowest step of the aider is the trickiest (on a not perfectly vertical tree), as there's more distance for a "pendulum effect.")

    Last year, I got into some serious trouble because I was using Jim Step "Stepps" to hang the aiders from (instead of the Muddy Sticks). At almost 20 ft., my right foot kicked to the left of the tree and I had nothing to grasp onto for leverage except the tree itself. I slid down about 5 feet before stopping by "bear hugging" the tree, and my right leg was "to the left of the tree" over my head. (With my foot caught in the aider.) ~ I had a linesman belt on , but that didn't help much in this instance. Fortunately my boot slid right out of the aider, and I recovered.....

    I abandoned that technique and then came up with this one. You definitely need structure to brace/pull yourself while climbing/descending with aiders. (The tree doesn't provide this, but the foot pegs on the sticks do.)

    WARNING: Whenever using aiders..... If a tree is not straight enough, your foot can and will "kick out" to the side.
    (Bottom step of aider is the trickiest, as previously mentioned above.)
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  5. #5
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    OOPS: I forgot to specify the length of the "runners" in my original post. ~ They are 30cm. in length. (10mm wide)
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  6. #6
    brokenlimbs????
    I think I'll just use the ole' climber!!
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  7. #7
    marked...never mind
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  8. #8
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    so how about pics then?

  9. #9
    I've climb 80 ft with no sticks at all before!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post
    Y
    WARNING:
    I'm not saying it's safe,

    In fact I suggest you don't


    Always wear a safety/linesman belt while climbing.

    If a Muddy Stick ever "fails", things will "get ugly."

    Tree must be relatively straight to avoid aider from kicking out to the side, especially on the first 2 steps of the aider

    (safety consideration). ALSO: While feet are in the aiders, it's very important to maintain upper body leverage using the foot pegs on the sticks.

    It's easiest to climb with lighter boots. I've used my winter ones too, but it is more difficult to get into "the stirrups" of the aiders.

    Also, a red light is not going to help. Green is OK while ascending/descending in the dark. (aiders have an orange step to help you see where to place boot)

    The first step on the aider (going down) is the most difficult one.

    When you're "struggling" to get your foot in while descending, it makes things easier.

    It's actually a little easier going up than down because you have to "thread your foot" into the aider!
    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post
    NEVER HOLD ONTO THE TREE WHILE CLIMBING/DESCENDING. ALWAYS HOLD ONTO THE FOOTPEGS:

    And if your bottom step of the aider is on the left, your right hand should be grabbing the top foot peg (of the stick the aider is hanging from), while your left hand is holding the bottom one. This gives you the added leverage you may need (to keep your body in line with the tree) if your left foot kicks out from the tree. (Opposite holds true if you have the aider reversed with right foot being the first step.) ~ The lowest step of the aider is the trickiest (on a not perfectly vertical tree), as there's more distance for a "pendulum effect.")

    Last year, I got into some serious trouble because I was using Jim Step "Stepps" to hang the aiders from.
    At almost 20 ft., my right foot kicked to the left of the tree and I had nothing to grasp onto for leverage except the tree itself. I slid down about 5 feet before stopping by "bear hugging" the tree, and my right leg was "to the left of the tree" over my head. (With my foot caught in the aider.) ~ I had a linesman belt on , but that didn't help much in this instance. Fortunately my boot slid right out of the aider, and I recovered.....

    I abandoned that technique and then came up with this one. You definitely need structure to brace/pull yourself while climbing/descending with aiders.
    WARNING: Whenever using aiders..... If a tree is not straight enough, your foot can and will "kick out" to the side.
    (Bottom step of aider is the trickiest, as previously mentioned above.)
    Sounds safe......

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  11. #11
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    I took photos at one of my stands. I'll get them tomorrow off my GPS.

    As for all the "wise ***** safety remarks" save your breath. (And stay in a ground blind for all I care.) ~ I just don't want anyone saying "hey, this guy said this was safe." ~ I put that stuff in to "cover my azzzzzz."

    Lots of people "add a loop" to their Lone Wolf sticks. This concept just takes that idea one step further. This system "goes up really fast", it's incredibly quiet, and IMO, pretty easy to use. For what it's worth, I think it's more dangerous to hang a "lock on" style stand while hanging off pegs.... Climbing trees can be dangerous no matter how you do it. ~ So make up your own mind as to what equipment to use.....

    I"m just surprised that this idea wasn't already floating around on a/t.

    Oh yeah: As for the "BrokenLimbs" user ID: When I joined A/T, I had been shooting a BowTech bow that blew up twice. (Once while target practicing, and a second time when dealer was testing poundage immediately after replacing the limb.)
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post


    Oh yeah: As for the "BrokenLimbs" user ID: That reflects a BowTech bow that blew up twice. Once while target practicing, and a second time when dealer was testing poundage immediately after replacing the limb.
    In your case, I hope that is all it ever stands for but sounds like you are pushing the envelope.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-TRAIN View Post
    In your case, I hope that is all it ever stands for but sounds like you are pushing the envelope.
    If I had the ability to make a video, I think most of you would be surprised. (It goes up fast, climbs fast & it looks easy!)
    And if my "Warnings" scare people away, that's OK. ~ That was kind of the point, as this is a "do it at your own risk" method.

    PS: If a Muddy Stick ever broke, it would be no different/worse than climbing with just the sticks, without the aiders. ~ Metal/hardware failure is what I always worry about, not the "software."
    (Muddy Sticks are rated to only 250 lbs. if I'm not mistaken. The straps/"software" is all rated to support WAY MORE than that!)
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  15. #15
    you could make your own loop runners for a fraction of the price with some nylon runner and pvc.....
    http://www.treestuff.com/store/catal...=259&item=1094
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by treeslinger2 View Post
    brokenlimbs????
    I think I'll just use the ole' climber!!
    ^^^That one got me laughing.....

    When I originally started this thread, I was thinking I should FIRST explain my User ID here on this thread. (But I completely forgot to, as I was trying to provide as much detail as possible.)
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post
    Once you see the photo, you won't need a video. Very simple to figure out. Climb up and down the aiders while pulling yourself up (for stability if aider kicks out) using the foot pegs built into the sticks.

    Which reminds me:

    NEVER HOLD ONTO THE TREE WHILE CLIMBING/DESCENDING. ALWAYS HOLD ONTO THE FOOTPEGS: And if your bottom step of the aider is on the left, your right hand should be grabbing the top foot peg (of the stick the aider is hanging from), while your left hand is holding the bottom one. This gives you the added leverage you may need (to keep your body in line with the tree) if your left foot kicks out from the tree. (Opposite holds true if you have the aider reversed with right foot being the first step.) ~ The lowest step of the aider is the trickiest (on a not perfectly vertical tree), as there's more distance for a "pendulum effect.")

    Last year, I got into some serious trouble because I was using Jim Step "Stepps" to hang the aiders from (instead of the Muddy Sticks). At almost 20 ft., my right foot kicked to the left of the tree and I had nothing to grasp onto for leverage except the tree itself. I slid down about 5 feet before stopping by "bear hugging" the tree, and my right leg was "to the left of the tree" over my head. (With my foot caught in the aider.) ~ I had a linesman belt on , but that didn't help much in this instance. Fortunately my boot slid right out of the aider, and I recovered.....

    I abandoned that technique and then came up with this one. You definitely need structure to brace/pull yourself while climbing/descending with aiders. (The tree doesn't provide this, but the foot pegs on the sticks do.)

    WARNING: Whenever using aiders..... If a tree is not straight enough, your foot can and will "kick out" to the side.
    (Bottom step of aider is the trickiest, as previously mentioned above.)
    And where are these photos?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post
    If I had the ability to make a video, I think most of you would be surprised. (It goes up fast, climbs fast & it looks easy!)
    And if my "Warnings" scare people away, that's OK. ~ That was kind of the point, as this is a "do it at your own risk" method.

    PS: If a Muddy Stick ever broke, it would be no different/worse than climbing with just the sticks, without the aiders. ~ Metal/hardware failure is what I always worry about, not the "software."
    (Muddy Sticks are rated to only 250 lbs. if I'm not mistaken. The straps/"software" is all rated to support WAY MORE than that!)
    I was not trying to be a smarty pants. Honestly if those petzel ladders weren't so pricy and were longer, and you could attach them like a muddy stick with cambuckel straps, in like 3 spots per section, that would be a great low weight option. you could just bag them up, and haul them in. I would like something more stable, but there of a lot of folks that go a long way to get to spots, and like to trim weight. I am lucky that I have places where I just leave my sets up during the season, and don't have to do what you do, but there are a lot of folks that can't do that.
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  19. #19
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    Photos I took yesterday at the stand were not very good. (Sun washed them out.) ~ So I'm going to hang a setup around a tree here, and post.

    PS: V-TRAIN: I think you'd be surprised at how stable the setup actually is, I was! (Providing you have the upper body strength, which I suspect most hunters probably do.) And the Muddy sticks lock into the tree so well that nothing moves whatsoever. (As long as you don't place them on a tree that is leaning back towards you, which I think is dangerous anyways.) ~ Stability seemed very good, especially after having the mishap with my previous setup using the aiders and the Jim Stepp "Stepps!" On thing that other technique also taught me (attaching the aiders to Jim Stepp "Stepps") is how much the top of the Stepps actually"pull away from the tree when the strap "stretches." (Because with the aiders, the "loaded Stepp" was at eye level.) It was actually unnerving to watch, and I quickly determined they are not worth the risk IMO. Because, when you put your weight on each Stepp (even without the aiders), the top two supports are actually pulled away from the tree nearly 1/2 an inch! The only thing buried into the tree is the bottom center V-brace. (You don't see this when you're standing on it.) ~ And had I tightened the Stepps any further, it would have bent the aluminum.

    I'll have the photo of the assembly uploaded here before I head back out this afternoon. Actually, I"m going to get a photo right now.....
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simpleiowaguy View Post
    you could make your own loop runners for a fraction of the price with some nylon runner and pvc.....
    http://www.treestuff.com/store/catal...=259&item=1094
    I wanted something I could see in the dark, and that was ultra-light. The aiders I chose also have an orange strip where your foot goes. When I purchased them the picture showed them as being bright yellow. I guess orange is almost as good, but only with a green (or white) headlamp. (not red) Another thing about those aiders is: Even though they are EXTREMELY light & compact, the bottom shelf of the aider's step is reinforced/stiffened, so that it keeps the foot area open and thus relatively easy to get boots into.

    With these Petzl aiders, I have no problems going up or coming down in the dark.
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  21. #21
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    Here's a photo of one stick. The top step (on the Muddy stick) is over 7 ft. up. Add a second one, and you're at ~15 ft!
    I did make one mistake in my OP. There are 4 steps on these aiders, not 5. I can't reach any higher to place the sticks, so an additional step on the aider would be useless anyways.
    (Stability would also likely be much more of an issue if the aiders were any longer.)

    I don't know why it's not always showing as a photo here, but clicking on the link seems to work.....

    PS: I feel safer putting weight on the aiders than I do putting my weight on the pegs. (As I mentioned earlier, I'm always worried about a step failing, especially if the weight is on the outside of the footpegs.)

    Attachment 1775788
    --------------------------------
    "RoadTrips" Tree Saddle, Muddy Sticks & Petzl Aiders?..... "A Killer Combo!"
    My limbs are just fine.... Unlike the '02 TomKat that "detonated" (limbs failed twice) many years ago!

  22. #22
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    link not working for me. anyone else view the photo?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvboy View Post
    link not working for me. anyone else view the photo?
    Nope. Intetested in seeing this setup out of curiosity
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  24. #24
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    me too!

  25. #25
    me as well. ^^

    I hunt with a couple different friends and this would allow me to take one or two setups to each place and be able to move if i wanted to...

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