By: Beth Hillyer
The best tree climbers from around the world are in Hawaii for a conference and international competition. Many had their hands full taking on a local banyan, and a monkeypod.
Like a monkey, one contestant propels herself between tree branches, suspended 40 feet in the air.
Kathy Holzer from Seattle explains, "I've been climbing trees since I was a kid and when I became an arborist I could climb bigger trees with ropes and saddles. I just took to it like a fish to water."}
She reaches flagged work stations as the climb simulates a tree trimming job. But Holzer admits the banyan roots get in the way, "No never climbed a banyan in my life. All these roots get fouled in my gear."
After scaling a branch, she uses a saw from her tool belt to ring the next bell.
Event sponsor Gordon Ober explains, "You are going to see those here are professional arborists, they have been trained and this is their occupation and you are going to see them up doing things in a tree that all of us kind of admire. How easily they move around the tree."
There are some local tree trimmers in the crowd. Kaulana Kaiohi says, "I was really impressed. They come from all over the world, they are pretty good, even got women over here, better than me. "
The men take on this giant monkeypod. The six-time world champion Bernd Strasser explains tree climbing is spiritual, "Arborists are trying to preserve trees to keep trees alive. We try to take care of trees"