Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

The Leaner


A small fir tree has been leaning for about a month, threatening to fall on anyone walking by. The top of the tree is hung up in the branches at the top of one of the big firs.

This tree expert digs in his climbing spikes, and hangs onto the lanyard he has slung around the tree and clipped to his belt.

He climbs a few feet and prepares to loop a second lanyard around the tree. These “ropes” are also called fliplines because he flips them around the tree before fastening them to his belt.

Once he has fastened the higher flipline, he unclips the lower one and climbs a few feet higher again. Then he repeats the process, flipping the loose line higher up the trunk and clipping it onto his belt before unclipping the lower one.

Notice that he has been climbing the bigger tree next to the leaner. Now that he is near the place where the smaller tree is hung up on the bigger one, he starts his power saw and cuts away some of the branches that the leaner is hung up in. You can see parts of the faller (his right foot on the left side of the tree, just below the lanyard that circles the big fir).

Once he has cleared away the branches that are in the way, he fastens a long rope to make a pulley system that I don’t understand, but that is strong enough to hold his weight as he leans over to cut sections from the top of the leaner.  In the photo below you can see that one section is already falling, as he has just finished making the cut.

Feeling secure enough to trust the orange pulley system, he undoes the lanyards that looped the tree, and lowers himself a little farther to cut several more sections before lowering himself to the ground.

A much shorter trunk is left standing. This length is more manageable for falling in a certain direction, to avoid tangling up with other trees and especially to avoid hitting our fence.

In the short video clip, you will see how quickly and easily the rest of the tree falls.

We love to see the trees around our home, but when they are leaning precariously and become a danger to anyone passing by, sadly they have to be taken down. As it turned out, this tree had root rot, and the top of the tree was already turning brown, and I suspect that this was a contributing factor to the beginning of its fall in one of our recent windstorms.

For those of you who are not visitors to my second blog, please feel free to come read some of my writing tips and some short stories and anecdotes at https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2021/02/12/the-trap/  The latest post is about a situation the Captain and I got ourselves into as we toured the former Yugoslavia.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

46 thoughts on “The Leaner

  1. We call these trees ” widow makers”. Always ready to give an unsuspecting human the crunch. Or cars, buildings… Good idea to take it down.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s dangerous, but fascinating to watch them. Is it an occupation passed through generations? I suspect you could “go to school” to learn to do it, but it’s like so many arts: it takes time to perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That was interesting. I knew that there’s quite a process involved, but I’ve never had such a good explanation before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We could watch the fallers many times when we lived on the Charlottes. It is a very dangerous job. But those fallers know what they are doing. Very interesting post, thanks for sharing,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really interesting, Anneli. I’ve never seen or heard before of a ‘faller’. Perhaps they’re known by a different name here in the UK. There are extensive pine forests here, especially in Scotland, so I guess those same skills are needed. And you describe the process very well – the intricacies of something like that would tie many able writers in knots, but you’ve done it with – shall I say – crystal clarity!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m happy there are brave people out there who are willing to do this kind of work. With my fear of heights, I wouldn’t get far up the tree. Interesting post, Anneli.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You did an incredible job of describing and documenting this tree cutting, Anneli. It is a fascinating process and an important one, for keeping the forests safe for folks like you and me who live in the trees. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You really have to admire the skill of these experts!
    Nicely captured too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A good head for heights and no tendency to fall asleep on the job, would seem to be essential!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I can’t imagine falling asleep on that job. You have to work too hard, both climbing and sawing. But if you do fall asleep, wouldn’t you be saved as long as you woke up before you hit the bottom? That’s how it is in my dreams….

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What an amazing feat!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That is interesting. I watch the Mountain Man series on Discovery (NatGeo? I don’t know…) and they solve the same problem but without the ropes and pullies.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Anneli, it requires a special skill to be a tree feller! You describe the process brilliantly, I’m in awe of the fliplines and the confidence of the guy as he climbs ever higher – and then leans over to the tree that needs to come down!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good for you for taking down the leaners. We have a lot of them on our property, Anneli. Hmm. Perhaps we should think about having them taken down. They’re huge. Great pictures showing how it happens!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tree experts are revered. We have had a few trees taken down, and the process is scary, yet these guys are cool calm and collected.

    Liked by 1 person

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