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USDA Forest Service
Recreation, Heritage & Wilderness Resources
Mail Stop 1125
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-1706

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Home Safety Contacts Training


Climber/Instructor Training

Participation in Forest Service workshops is primarily limited to employees of Federal, State and Local government agencies, Tribes, and University research personnel.

Hands-on climbing training is designed to provide first-time and experienced climbers with the necessary skills to safely access, move about, work in and descend from conifer and hardwood trees. A minimum of three full days of intensive training and practice provide climbers the opportunity to observe, and perform a variety of climbing techniques needed to perform their intended program of work. Tools and equipment necessary for each task are also thoroughly explained and explored. Whether it is cone collection, nest box installation, canopy research or anything in between, our master climber/instructors have the experience and skills, and are willing and able to teach you what you need to know.

By the end of the training session, all climbers must be able to demonstrate proficiency in basic minimum climbing techniques, knot tying and aerial rescue in order to obtain certification. Additional methods specific to your climbing needs also require demonstrated proficiency prior to receiving certification in each respective area. Unless terminated sooner, certification is valid for a period of 3 years. [See Section 18 of FSH 6709.12 for levels of certification]. Customized training sessions, tailored exclusively to your particular needs, and at your location, are also possible. Costs vary considerable for these sessions; contact us for details.

While class size may vary considerably, personalized attention to individual needs is the cornerstone in our effective training program. Instructor to climber ratio is generally 1:2. Instructors in turn, are observed and evaluated by facilitators (master climber/instructors) who ensure the integrity of the program and adherence to established safety guidelines and National Policy. The following is a typical agenda for our National Workshop, generally held in June of each year (and at other times as needed):

Climber candidates will be trained in each of the following required areas:

  • Tree hazard assessment
  • Basic equipment use, care and safety
  • Rope and webbing characteristics and handling
  • Task-specific knots
  • 3-point climbing technique
  • Descent system (friction knot, Figure-8, rappel rack, etc.)
  • Rescue techniques

Additional training modules will be offered, depending on your need, for the following equipment and techniques:

  • Sectional and orchard ladders
  • Hip thrust
  • 4" tie-in self belay
  • Secured footlock
  • Ground belay
  • Throwline
  • Climbing spurs (gaffs)
  • Ascenders
  • Chain saw endorsement (available ONLY to those meeting the prerequisites of Section 4.5.21 in the National Tree Climbing Field Guide [revised 03/05])

For more information, contact Brock (James) Mayo at james.mayo@usda.gov or (541) 767-5712.

Recertification is required at least every three years to maintain status. For levels of certification, see section 18.43 of FSH 6709.12.

Other Training Providers

Climbing training is available for those not eligible for programs offerered through the Forest Service, from several sources. These are listed here for information purposes only, and their listing does not constitute endorsement by the USDA Forest Service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.

Commercial/Arborist Training

US Forest Service
Last modified February 25, 2022

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