Tree Climbing

Climbing trees is an opportunity to learn from the natural world

our goal is

to create opportunities for the youth of our community to safely and respectfully access the canopy

Why we climb trees

Climbing trees creates an opportunity unlike any other to connect to the natural world.

By having such an extraordinary experience in nature, we are opened up to new perspectives and ideas. This creates ideal conditions for engaging and meaningful environmental education to occur.

Climbers get to experience pushing past their physical and mental limits while being held by the trees. This creates a connection between the climbers and that forest that will last long into the future, helping to strengthen their overall relationship with nature as a whole.
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Tree Climbing FAQs

What kind of trees do we climb?
     We climb fig trees of the species Ficus aurea. They are known as strangler figs, ficus trees, higerones, matapalos, and other names and can be found throughout the tropics. The unique way in which these trees grow allows us to climb on the outside, and sometimes also the inside, up into the canopy.

How do we climb trees?
     We use a climbing technique that has been developed specifically for the climbing of fig trees, using top rope systems and nylon slings as anchors. It is similar to traditional rock climbing in that gear is placed as the first climber ascends and is then retrieved by the second climber. Gear is never left in trees. 

Does climbing impact the trees?
     Wherever we go we make an impact, but we try to keep ours as small as possible while spending time in the trees. To do this, respect is the first thing we practice while tree climbing and we follow a set of tree climbing ethics that help us ensure we are minimizing our effect on the environment we are climbing in. We climb barefoot and make conscious choices of what routes to climb based on where other plant life may be growing in the trees.

What is it like in the canopy?
     The canopy is a completely unique ecosystem that is rarely experienced by humans. Bursting with life, plants and animal can be found growing piled on top of one another, stretched out along the branches of the massive trees. Using our gear to maneuver about the canopy, we are able to explore a typically unseen world and get a peak into what life is like living above the forest floor.

Who we climb with

Youth, students, community members, and more

Youth climber

Youth climber

Youth climber

Youth climber

Student researcher

Student researcher

Youth climbing

Youth climbing

Student climber

Student climber

Canopy researcher

Canopy researcher

Ready for a climb!

Ready for a climb!

Climbing up to the canopy

Climbing up to the canopy

Climbers at the indoor Palo Vivo Climbing Center located at Riochante

Climbers at the indoor Palo Vivo Climbing Center located at Riochante

Base of a fig tree

Base of a fig tree

the Palo Vivo Climbing Center

at Riochante Centro Cultural

This indoor climbing space - built entirely thanks to generous local and international donations - is enjoyed by many of all ages, especially in the rainy season! 

The climbing center is free for community members. We believe that everyone who wants to climb should have the opportunity to do so.

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So far, we have climbed with over

150 kids in our community

Help us get more kids in the trees!

we climb to inspire the next generation of forest caretakers
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Palo Vivo

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