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

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdhandman View Post
    You have my curiosity up. If you have cranford steps and the jim step stepladder system and muddy sticks, why would you want to take all those chances and spend the extra money?
    Is it dangerous? Or is it perceived as being dangerous? I can't give you the answer, but I've been doing this for almost a year now...
    Any time you're climbing a tree (using any method), your dealing with danger and taking "a calculated risk".....

    IMO:
    Cranfords are way to slow & hard to setup.
    Jim Stepp "Steppladder" system is WAY TOO DANGEROUS (IMO) to trust at any significant heights. ~ Maybe if you're only 120 lbs., things are different..... But I doubt it.
    Carrying around 4 muddy sticks add almost 15 lbs. (I know they ads say 10, but I think they're misleading a bit.)
    I also have some "Climbpaws", but they are way too bulky to carry a bunch around.



    I"m getting to the same height faster than using any of the techniques above, with only about 7 lbs of equipment that I have to lug around.
    My 4 Muddy sticks are now not only good for 1 tree, but 2 trees. (This more than offsets the cost of the additional equipment!)
    It only takes a moment to pull the aiders when you come down the tree, even if you choose to leave the sticks in place.
    Not to mention that there is only one stick above 10 feet that I have to worry about failing. (That's what has always concerned me the most, a stick failing.)
    The "software" I am integrating is engineered to be WAY stronger than the sticks themselves, by something like a factor of 10!

    Weight and portability is one major factor when you're travelling all over the place on foot looking for hunting spots. (Hunting is very hard here and deer are few and far between.)
    The other major factor is speed (and IMO, ease of use.) In little more than 5 minutes, not only do I have everything setup, but I'm at the top too! (And I feel safe doing it.)

    All in all: I'm sure my climbing technique adds some risk, but IMO it also removes some. (And I personally feel safe doing it this way.) Overall, I see this as a significant "net gain." ~ A "net gain" on multiple levels. Note: A standard "rope style ladder" (like the one displayed in an earlier post above by ahawk19, instead of using aiders) might be superior (particularly in terms of stability) to the method I have chosen.....
    --------------------------------
    "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. #52
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    Forgot to mention several other reasons I like this setup:
    On a typical "cool" day, everything goes up so fast you don't even have to worry about "getting hot." (Because this both attaches to the tree AND climbs "lightening fast!")
    Installation (and climbing) is SUPER QUIET too! ~ The aider steps are even (noticeably) quieter than "boots on footpegs." ~ Even more so if the pegs (or your boots) are wet.
    And although your feet could slip out of them if you don't have them in "far enough": Unlike a metal foot peg, you certainly aren't going to "slip off the side" of a wet aider.

    I've got a little work to do. Then I'm going to "take a few shots" and go hunting. Catch you all later.....

    WARNING: I'm not suggesting anyone tries this technique. In fact I suggest you don't!
    --------------------------------
    "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!

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post
    I"m 210 lbs. (without gear/clothing). You are completely correct with regards to needing the sticks to hang onto. (A "lesson" I learned the hard way last fall.) Without the "structure & stability" of the sticks to hold (as a brace) & use while climbing..... It's not only a "pia" but also potentially life threatening when (not if) your boot toe slips to the side of the tree unexpectedly. ~ As for a "safety harness", I hunt from tree saddles (the late Trophyline) which has a built in linesman belt which I keep "draped" around the back of the tree (and over the stick's foot pegs above) as I climb/descend. Once I'm in the tree at height, I'm tethered to the tree from above using a 5000 lb rope that I "hang" from to pivot around the tree. (My stand literally becomes my safety harness/tether.)
    Have you ever climbed just using your saddle & a stick? If so why do you chose multi sticks vs the one?

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    tagged I love climbing threads

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbigbear View Post
    Have you ever climbed just using your saddle & a stick? If so why do you chose multi sticks vs the one?
    I thought about it, and here are a few reasons.....

    1.) Noise of moving a stick perpetually up/down the tree. (How many "repetitions" to get to get to ~18 ft.?)
    2.) Speed. (I could be wrong here, but how long does it take to get to ~18 ft.?)
    3.) Potential for loosing/dropping the stick. (Obviously a few safeguards that you could put into place, like a tether etc.)
    4.) The older style Muddy sticks are too short. (I'm sure long climbing sticks work much better.)
    5.) It looks harder to do. (Although a longer climbing stick might also make it much easier.)
    6.) Perpetually loading and unloading 200+ lbs. of weight on the harness is probably harsh on the stitching!
    (I tried a similar technique using the upper Lone Wolf seat platform as a foot climber. Lots of load was placed/unplaced on the harness. ~ Also, the pine tree I climbed was awfully harsh on the rope/prussic tree strap.)

    Of course your suggested technique would definitely be lighter, not to mention less expensive! And since Muddy now has their longer sticks (with pegs on both sides that facilitate using it as a base platform for "harness hunting"), that might be a future possibility. (After removing the middle pegs to facilitate lifting the sticks since they are raised/lowered between both knees braced against the tree?)

    You've got me thinking....... If I could get 2 feet each time I moved both the stick and the climbing strap/prussic attachment, this just might work. (With each repetition, I couldn't get more than a foot using the climber seat as a base.)
    --------------------------------
    "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. #56
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    I have been climbing solely with one LW 32" stick for almost three years now. I have climbed with a rock climbing harness mostly, but have used a Guido's Web a number of times. I maybe able to help you with some of the concerns.

    1.) Noise of moving a stick perpetually up/down the tree. (How many "repetitions" to get to get to ~18 ft.?) I don't think noise is much of a factor. Of course the slower to go the quieter you can be. It takes me 4 moves to get to 20' on a clean tree.
    2.) Speed. (I could be wrong here, but how long does it take to get to ~18 ft.?) About 5mins to reach 20'
    3.) Potential for loosing/dropping the stick. (Obviously a few safeguards that you could put into place, like a tether etc.) This is why a prefer LW over Muddy - I don't unstrap so the stick can't fall far. There is a potential to drop when passing limbs. I have a couple back up plans incase of a drop.
    4.) The older style Muddy sticks are too short. (I'm sure long climbing sticks work much better.) Yes the longer stick is easier, but the short one are doable
    5.) It looks harder to do. (Although a longer climbing stick might also make it much easier.) I find it the same effort as using a climber & the weight savings is a good trade off imo
    6.) Perpetually loading and unloading 200+ lbs. of weight on the harness is probably harsh on the stitching! not sure on this since I use a rock climbing harness. I have used the same one for countless climbs & don't see much wear. You could always wear a rock climbing harness under your saddle for climbing purpose if damage to the saddle is a concern. They weight ozs.

    Here's my video it may help you visualize climbing with the saddle. I always put my tether to the right of my sticks so I don't have to work between my legs.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NcroPLbzPc

  7. #57
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    You were right about the muddy stick being the weakest part of the link. I hope this is not the style you are using.
    This is pretty crazy, don't have any, never will.
    http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2100515
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  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by V-TRAIN View Post
    You were right about the muddy stick being the weakest part of the link. I hope this is not the style you are using.
    This is pretty crazy, don't have any, never will.
    http://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=2100515
    I had seen that thread. (And there are other previous safety recalls for prior years on the Muddy sticks too!) ~ Junk bolts?!?!....

    Muddy's are what I'm using, because they have the double steps. I know for a fact that there have been some safety recalls..... The sickening thing is: Why don't all companies use the strongest bolts possible? If they did, there would be far fewer issues/failures! (I have a difficult time trusting any metal components that bear weight when elevated.)

    Both Leverage and Gorilla also make double step sticks. But I've read about some issues with Leverage sticks, here on a/t last year. ~ And Gorilla is presently "offline." GorillaTreeStands.com
    (I don't even know if they're "still in business", are they?)

    I think I just may replace the bolts on mine with the strongest high quality ones available, just in case. (something I've been contemplating for a few weeks)
    --------------------------------
    "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!

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenLimbs View Post
    I had seen that thread. (And there are other previous safety recalls for prior years on the Muddy sticks too!) ~ Junk bolts?!?!....

    Muddy's are what I'm using, because they have the double steps. I know for a fact that there have been some safety recalls..... The sickening thing is: Why don't all companies use the strongest bolts possible? If they did, there would be far fewer issues/failures! (I have a difficult time trusting any metal components that bear weight when elevated.)

    Both Leverage and Gorilla also make double step sticks. But I've read about some issues with Leverage sticks, here on a/t last year. ~ And Gorilla is presently "offline." GorillaTreeStands.com
    (I don't even know if they're "still in business", are they?)

    I think I just may replace the bolts on mine with the strongest high quality ones available, just in case. (something I've been contemplating for a few weeks)
    I know, that is kind of freaky thinking everything relies on one bolt. I bet they were just over tightened, with a impact wrench at factory, along with a lower quality bolt, I can see how that can happen. I have broken bolts before with my ratchets pretty easy sometimes, they can only take so much.

    I have a bunch of those old gorilla steps like you are talking about, they are nice. My favorite are the ameristep rapid rails, that is what I use on the stands that I go to the most. you could always use 2 rapid rails, have a loop on the bottom 2 steps (loop with a prussik knot, or similar), and then have a carabineer on your petzel aiders. that would be another option, if you didn't want to use the muddy sticks. if you had 2 loops, on each step, and used one clip for both, it would keep it from wanting to twist as bad (aiders twist).
    2011 HOYT CARBON ELEMENT 80 LBS. ROCKING RKT CAMS
    2014 OBSESSION PHOENIX 80 LBS.
    CARBOFAST X-TINCT 12" FRONT & 8" SIDE STABILIZERS

  10. #60
    Great idea I use Jason Southern rope climb with 4 sticks
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  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameEarGabe View Post
    Great idea I use Jason Southern rope climb with 4 sticks
    could you explain this

  12. #62
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    For your sake, I hope it's easier to climb like this than it is to read about.

  13. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by constitution View Post
    could you explain this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If1nxAPM28U

    I use this but my rope is shorter I do not want to take giant steps or feel the need to be 30 feet. I was 25 feet with 4 sticks and 4 rope. I like the idea of only having 2 sticks to carry with the Petzel set up
    Mathews Creed XS 70/30 2014 Desert Tactical
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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameEarGabe View Post
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If1nxAPM28U

    I use this but my rope is shorter I do not want to take giant steps or feel the need to be 30 feet. I was 25 feet with 4 sticks and 4 rope. I like the idea of only having 2 sticks to carry with the Petzel set up
    ~17 feet is about all you can realistically expect (using my method with 2 sticks), providing you are also using a couple of "starter steps."

    PS: The connector loops (the "runners" that connect the aiders to the stick) can (and do) fray eventually. Sometimes (fairly frequently) the connector slips to the back of the peg mount, and if your sticks have un-smooth edges back there (as some of mine do), they will damage the connectors over time. Of course they don't slip off the stick, because the pegs are in the open position. ~ Something to watch out for though..... (It's hard not to notice frayed connectors during setup/takedown anyways.)

    I have some one year old "runners" that are due for replacement. Fortunately, they're only a few dollars each.
    --------------------------------
    "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. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by GameEarGabe View Post
    Great idea I use Jason Southern rope climb with 4 sticks
    Yes, Jason made some fabulous tree connector straps for use with my Trophyline harnesses.

    One final note to everyone: I'm thinking it might be almost as easy just to carry a 3'rd stick (instead of the tree peg and a "Jim Stepp Stepp.") It seems as if every other time I come down from a tree, the "Stepp" ends up slipping. (Regardless of how tight it's attached, it doesn't hold secure in a beach nut tree if your weight is not perfectly centered on it.) It's a good thing the "Stepp" is only a few feet off the ground! ~ Doing it with 3 sticks instead, you simply use the 2 aiders on the bottom 2 sticks and not on the top one. YMMV....

    WARNING: I'm not suggesting anyone tries this technique. In fact I suggest you don't!
    --------------------------------
    "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!

  16. #66
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    Wish I'd figured out how to do this out 10 years ago.....
    --------------------------------
    "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. #67
    I've been reading this and playing in the woods behind my house. I tend to hunt the same trees a lot and went in and installed 5 eye lag bolts. 1/2 inch x 8 inch in the trees I plan on hunting. I use 4 etriers with carabiners between. The top of the lower strap and the bottom of the next strap share a carabiner and are then attached to the eye bolt. The bottom of the lowest strap has its own eyebolt and carabiner. When I do it this way, the top and bottom of each etrier is secured to the tree. It prevents the bottom from swaying. This in turn prevents the danger situation described above. I also tried it with metal rings on ratchet straps to avoid damaging the trees. While the ratchet straps work for exploratory hunting, if you have the time and the tree picked out, the eye bolts are better. I am working on a better safety rope system using a prussik and a short rope with clips that I can attach to the rings. Until I get that figured out I will be using a three point linesman belt I made out of rope. ( it's a tree climber trick)

  18. #68
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    Just an update on a SLIGHT modification I've made to my equipment.....

    I got rid of the first booster step in favor of an ~18 inch loop attached/hung from the first (ONLY) "Jim Stepp Stepp." It turns out that a single loop (hung properly) from the bottom/ONLY "Stepp" I use actually makes it more stable and IMO "safer!" ~ I'd still never use/trust these "Stepps" up high, even with sticks to grab onto!

    The first step up the tree (onto the loop hanging from the stepp) centers the mass below the "stepp." (instead of a foot-peg to the side) It's easy to watch/check the "stepp" at chest level (with your body weight on the attached hanging loop before stepping up on the "stepp" first.) ~ This way, you get to "test the stepp" before you step onto it. (to make sure it stays locked down and hasn't moved)

    With the first Muddy stick (already hung, but lower than it will end up after you're on the "stepp"), it's very easy (for me anyways) to get onto the "stepp" gently without disrupting it. ~ Plus, this way you have one less thing to carry & attach to the tree... (the first "booster" peg on a strap)

    Next time I'm out in the woods setup to go, II'll get a photo of exactly how I have the loop attached. (very simple, and IMO stable) I'm also going to get a photo of me all setup with my gear showing how "elegant" this solution is for "exploratory hunting." I've actually got my two muddy sticks attached & hanging to my shoulder strap (hanging under my left arm/shoulder. Not only does this balance out the weight of the pack so it doesn't want to pull/slide back, but.... This also allows me to hold my bow in my left arm too (I'm a leftie), while keeping my right hand/arm completely free to use GPS etc....

    Yesterday afternoon I carried in, chose a tree & was setup (trail traveled mostly, almost 1000 meters) in about 40 minutes. (without making a sound climbing)
    Take down is almost as fast. To be completely honest, I spend more time stowing/un-stowing my gear then I actually do climbing. (And that includes setting up my pegs on ratchet strap at the top of the tree.) If I didn't have to "rig my harness setup", setup & going up and coming down is literally a 5 minute ordeal!

    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.

    ~But for me, this is the solution I've been trying to achieve for several years. To get to ~18 ft., I can't imagine anything better, lighter, quieter, faster or more portable!
    --------------------------------
    "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!

  19. #69
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    I'm going to try your setup. Right now I have 4 lone wolf climbing sticks and hunt out of a tree saddle. I can't stand dealing with 4 sticks. I'm okay with only hunting at 15'. I will probably sell the four lone wolf sticks to buy the muddy's and the petzl climbing ropes and use a couple of screw in steps at the base. Carrying two shorter sticks sounds great.

  20. #70
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    Here's a photo looking down from ~17 feet up using 2 sticks & 1 Jim Stepp with loop at base..... (only takes about 5 minutes to setup & get here)

    DSC00378r.jpg
    --------------------------------
    "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. #71
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    why not just use a climber?

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by readonly View Post
    why not just use a climber?
    A climber is a lot more work to climb, a lot slower to setup (and climb too), a lot heavier, a lot bulkier, and a lot noisier. ~ Have 3 downstairs and gave up on them many years ago. I hunt from a harness (Trophyline) and I can go anywhere silently with only ~5 lbs. of gear to get up the tree! Makes anyone I hunt with "jealous" as they lug their gear in and out.....

    I can walk a mile into the woods without thinking about what I'm carrying (or getting tired & hot)....... Pack on back, 2 sticks (locked together) hanging from shoulder strap on sling pack (and under left arm) & bow in left hand..... Still leaves me a free hand for GPS etc... A little weight on the sling of the pack (front) also makes the pack sit better on my back. ~ (It counter-balances the weight of the pack.)

    I'm going to get a photo of this setup next time I head in with a friend. (I typically hunt alone, and I can't take picture of myself geared up without a bit of help.)

    PS: The noisiest part of my descent (at dark) is when my foot hits the leaves. As quiet as I can be, when this is the first sound they hear..... It tends to spook deer! (Setup and climbing is silent too!)
    --------------------------------
    "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!

  23. #73
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    Are you attaching the rope ladders when you get to the base of the tree or leaving them attached to sticks for the walk in. Do they pack easily? You said you have a pack. Do you use pouches on your saddle or a backpack.

  24. #74
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    No pouches on saddle. I have them, but dislike them.
    I found the perfect pack for exploratory "harness hunting." It's the new sling pack from Under Armour.
    It "stuffs' nicely & has enough room to even hold my harness inside if I don't wear it in.
    http://www.underarmour.com/shop/us/e...pid1231281-946
    (A few tiny mods and additions, mostly parachute chord & clips in a few places. ~ That's how the sticks are attached to the lower front loop w/clip added to the sling so they hang perfectly under my left shoulder.)

    Ladders (aiders) are quickly "hung" over the pegs just before opening them. It only takes about 30 seconds for each one. Sticks, maybe a minute each.
    same goes for the loop under the booster "Stepp." The slowest part of the "setup" is attaching up the "Jim Stepp Stepp" (to the tree) so that it is "tight enough" without being "too tight" & bending it. ~ Honestly, it takes more time on the ground (before climbing) than I actually spend both setting up on the tree & climbing!

    Aiders pack tiny.... New, they each come packed in the size of a cigarette box. (No, I don't smoke.)

    I've been refining portable "harness hunting" for several years now, and IMO, I finally have it about "as close to perfect as I will ever get." Had Trophyline understood their own products (I don't believe they were actual users at the end of "their journey), I believe they'd still be in business with a turnkey solution like this! ~ But all they really had to offer (that really worked) was the harness itself. Much of their accessories were not very useful in real world hunting situations.

    I'm going to get a photo (all rigged up) when I have someone else with me hunting. People are going to say: "Wow, he gets to 17+ ft. quick, quiet and easily like that?"

    PS: One other very nice thing about this style of hunting is: I can bring everything with me (all my important hunting accessories) without being "overloaded." Before I had to make a choice.
    --------------------------------
    "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!

  25. #75
    Riddle me this... how on earth do you get the stick high enough to strap in to take advantage of the hanging steps. It has to be higher than your reach. Or is this only a prehung type of setup where youre getting up there and making this setup on the way down.
    Only ever borrow money if someone else is paying it off for you! Do you know what this means?

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