2023 NEC Tree Climbing Championship Results

Group photo of TCC Competitors

“Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Although Greek historian, Herodotus was referring to the mounted postal couriers during the war between the Greeks and the Persians in 500 B.C., he very well could have been referring to the climbers, judges, and volunteers at this year’s tree climbing championship. The rain did not exactly hold off, but that did not stop this hearty group from completing the preliminary rounds required for the 2023 New England Chapter ISA Tree Climbing Championship.

The 32nd Annual Tree Climbing Championship (TCC) was held on Saturday, June 17th at the University of Massachusetts Mount Ida Campus. Thirty climbers, twenty-three men and seven women, and more than sixty volunteers, along with friends and family were in attendance.

The event started on Friday, June 16th with a full day of set up.  The bucket truck donated by Harrison McPhee was essential in getting the trees ready for a full day of climbing. Volunteers from all over New England and beyond came out to prune, prep, and set the trees for each climbing event, including the Kids Climb.  Friday afternoon, the climbers arrived for gear check—an essential step in the competition. Any gear deemed unsafe is relegated to the Disqualified Equipment bin and can be picked up at the end of the competition.

3 people standing and holding items
Winners of the ArborMaster Prize Package: Kyle McCabe and Kate Odell, pictured with TCC Chair, Bruce Duffy

Saturday began promptly at 6am with the sweet notes of our National Anthem played by volunteer and accomplished trumpeter, Brian Carpenter.  TCC Committee Chair, Bruce Duffy, kicked off the event by thanking the sponsors and volunteers and reminding the competitors to be safe and to have fun!

Exhibitors set up their booths. RBI/Shelter Tree Care Products, Yale Cordage, and Clogger lined the walkway between the competition trees. At 10:00 a.m. the Kids Climb kicked off, and even with the overcast skies, seventeen kids participated in the climb.  Introducing professional arboriculture to the next generation of arborists!

The preliminary events, including included Ascent, Speed Climb, Aerial Rescue, Throwline, and Work Climb, went off very smoothly and with minimal rain, however the forecast began to deteriorate forcing the difficult decision to cut the competition short and not run the Masters’ Challenge. The winners would be determined by overall scores from the preliminary rounds. With the overall highest scores for the 2023, Kate Odell, of Somersworth, New Hampshire, and Kyle McCabe of Merrimack, New Hampshire will represent the New England Chapter ISA at the International Tree Climbing Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico in August!  

All ISA tree climbing championships include an additional award, the Spirit of the Competition Award. This award is voted on by the judging teams at each of the events and is awarded to the participant that promotes a feeling of camaraderie among fellow competitors and volunteers, demonstrates a genuine interest in helping others do better, gives his or her best and gains from the experience, and enriches the event for everyone else present, by the way he or she competed. The 2023 Spirit of the Competition Award was given to Greg Kelleher of Dedham, Massachusetts.

two men standing holding an award
Winner of the Spirit of the Competition Award – Gregory Kelleher, Pictured with TCC Chair, Bruce Duffy

TCC Committee Chair, Bruce Duffy would like to thank all climbers, volunteers, judges, techs, timers, and sponsors for another incredible event. Thanks to all that came out to cheer on New England's top climbers!

Correction: Courant Vertical Living donated over $1500 in prizes to this year’s event.  However their logo was erroneously omitted from the event banner and the event T-shirt.

logos of sponsors of TCC