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Technical Tree Climbing Course

March 22, 2012
The Maui Weekly

Tree Climbing Planet, a technical and recreational tree climbing school with locations in the Pacific Northwest and Southeastern United States, will bring its Basic Tree Climbing Course (BTCC) to Maui on Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The two-day class is designed for anyone wanting to learn how to safely access the tree canopy. Canopy researchers, photographers, adventure seekers, eco-tourism operators, nature lovers and tree workers will all benefit from learning the basics of technical tree climbing.

The training tree, a beautiful banyan located at Sprecks Plantation House, 448 Alakapa Place in Pa'ia, has been professionally prepared for tree climbing instruction. Banyans are ideal for training because of their multiple anchor locations, which makes moving within the top of the tree more successful for the beginner climber. And with their legendary extensive crown spreads, they also challenge experienced climbers in lateral movement, and provide ideal conditions for training those interested in tropical rainforest exploration.

Article Photos

Relaxing 50 feet above the forest floor is one of the highlights of a tree-climbing course.

BTCC provides detailed information on selecting and assessing a climbing tree, learning various climbing techniques, setting up the double rope technique (DRT) climbing system and tying knots. Extensive hands-on practice will ensure "muscle memory." All climbing gear and safety equipment is provided for class use and students will receive a BTCC diploma upon graduation.

The class will be led by Master Tree Climbing Instructor Tim Kovar, an experienced teacher with close to 20 years of teaching experience in forests throughout the world.

The March course will be Kovar's second time teaching in Maui. In 2008, he taught a customized course to staff and volunteers with the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.

During this stay on the islands, he will also work with a private resident on an orchid transplant project in Hana and will provide individualized instruction to advanced students.

"Tree climbing is an adventure like no other--one that offers a unique perspective on nature and one that can change the way you view the natural world," said Kovar. "And being able to return to the islands to offer classes in Maui makes it all that much more special."

The class is limited to four students in order to provide personalized attention and guidance. Additional classes may be offered if there is demand. Participants must be at least 13 years old. Youth between the ages of 13 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The two-day course is $450 per person, which includes 16 hours of instruction, a course handbook and lunch. Individuals interested in participating may reserve their spot with a 50 percent deposit. To learn more about the class and to register, contact Kovar at or (404) 313-0562.


About Tree Climbing Planet

For close to 20 years, Master Tree Climbing Instructor Tim Kovar has been climbing trees and providing instruction in the remote jungles of the world. Kovar has taught tree climbing to canopy researchers worldwide, including ornithologists in Indonesia, primatologists in Uganda, entomologists in Ethiopia, and herpetologists in India and Central America. He has worked extensively with domestic and international researchers studying tree biology, forest ecology and the effects of climate change.

He consults with eco-tour operators and guides tree climbing expeditions in India, Asia, Central America and the Amazon basin. He also works with film crews, photographers and writers and served as the personal tree climbing instructor to Richard Preston (, author of New York Times bestseller, "The Wild Trees."

Kovar began his career as an arborist and lead instructor at Tree Climbers International ( in Atlanta, Georgia, where he helped develop the standardized instruction being taught around the world. In 2011, he founded Tree Climbing Planet (TCP), based in Portland, Oregon, and Nashville, Tennessee technical and recreational tree climbing school. Prior to TCP, he co-created Tree Climbing Northwest, which was operated by New Tribe, a manufacturer of recreational tree climbing gear.



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