Arborists and other expert tree climbers swung from the trees and showed their skills at the South Island Regional Tree Climbing Competition in the Ashburton Domain over the weekend.

Some 40 tree climbers took part in various challenges that were set up to test and simulate the workplace of an arborist.
They included former Ashburton College student Seth Mischeski, who won the throw line event, and Sami Baker from Christchurch, both of whom work locally for Four Seasons Tree Care.

Sami Baker finished third in the aerial rescue, first in the belayed speed climb and was third overall in the preliminaries. She finished fifth in the Masters challenge on Sunday and has qualified to take part in the national final in November.
Climbers tackled five stations; an aerial rescue, speed climb, work climb, throw line event and belay speed climb.

South Island event co-ordinator Ben Fentiman said the competition had been a huge success. ‘‘We had 40 competitors and 30 volunteers and we couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. Everyone was in high spirits and cheering each other on.’’

The top five climbers on Saturday competed in the Masters event on Sunday morning, tackling another series of timed challenges.
The five will be joined by the top two finishers in the New Arborist of the Year competition and will compete at the national final in Queenstown in November.

Five trees in the domain, including a cedar, oak and elm, were used for challenges and another was used for an organised kids climb.
‘‘The kids’ climb was a big hit with local kids coming back multiple times to have a go at climbing their way up to the prize bags,’’ Mr Fentiman said.

The speed belay climb saw climbers race up the tree to marker. Many completed the chal lenge in 30 seconds or less.

Ashburton resident Diego Dronsfield, 15, descends from the kids’ climb set up at the competition on Saturday.
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