The only spikes ( read gaffs ? ) I ever saw were pressed and peened over
into the leg irons. AFAIK, they were not replaceable as such. As the
spikes became worn down by sharpening the critically shaped (pointed) end of
the spike was no longer considered serviceable. When the spikes were worn
down sufficiently to require replacement, the entire leg iron was replaced.
Don't hold me to this - it has been a long time since I did any of that sort
Bob (not bragging but when I climbed poles, the squirrels would stop to
admire me) Swinney
This became a semantic type of description.From one of the posts they
are called "pole steps".Before asking I thought I had used every angle
to describe this on Google.Kept getting info on climbing spikes strapped
to your leg.In the past have climbed using pole steps and they started
to bend.This was in the days of backyard clotheslines.Looked in the
Yellow Pages and there are no more listings for these poles and
gear.Found a website that has the steps and will give a trial run to
make sure they don't bend.Thanks for the posts.
Replacing spikes on climbing spurs is done all the time . Not hard at
all . Get a railroad spike rough shape it and weld it in place . Fine
tune it with a file . New ones bolt in as everything is aluminum except
the spike . Still the railroad spikes work perfectly they are free and
so easy to sharpen . I spent a fair amount of time on tree spurs but
never got past the feeling of riding my face all the way to the ground .
To hard on the knees and kidneys anymore so I try not get roped into it
these days .
I believe the original poster is speaking of "pole steps" which are
large, "L" shaped rods with a rough thread on the end which enters the
pole. Typically driven in with a small sledge hammer, then turned a
few times to "seat" the threaded part and end up with the short leg of
the "L" pointing up so your foot doesn't slip off when climbing up
them. As for the replaceable gaffs on the climbers, the not all are
made that way, but some manufacturers have made them replaceable
because the same leg irons can have either tree gaffs or pole gaffs
installed, depending on what is needed. Cheaper units are made as you
mention with the gaff sort of "riveted" into the leg iron, and are in
fact not replaceable. The replaceable type are installed with a
countersunk, flat-headed socket head screw, typically two places, but
the gaff itself has a pin or two which fit into the leg iron so the
screws are not taking all the shear forces.
Ken (who has more hours strapped into climbers than I really want to
remember, but who also still uses an old set for climbing trees while
getting firewood for the winter)
Would a suitable substitute be the screw-in steps that deer hunters
use for getting into tree stands? Available most anywhere they hunt
deer. Wrong season now, but you might be able to promote some by mail
order. Do a search for deer stands, the same outfits should have the
steps. They've got a better shape than those old utility pole steps
I haven't seen those pole steps since Eisenhower days. Most utilities
are underground around here and those that aren't are serviced from
bucket trucks. Haven't seen guys actually climbing poles for decades.
The pegs the hunters use was one of the first things I looked at.Had my
doubts on their strength based on the shortness of the screw part.I am
not a lightweight and don't want to be in any more hospitals.Last time
the bill was over 200k.and it took over 3 years to pay my part of the
They all moved here.
In fact during a heavy storm, or after it that is, men come from all over.
I love the flatlander that never had to contend with a 4' diameter tree across
a telephone trunk line or using half inch cable between trees to hold up the
until a new pole is put in.
The crew that was working on my place - I have 3 easements - were all smiles.
Never had they had so much fun and experience is a short time.
And putting the hot-dip galvanized steel step bolts (meant to be put
in a dead and creosoted telephone pole) into a living tree isn't going
to do the tree much good... Either through the zinc or rust,
introducing diseases and crap to the inner layers of the tree from
driving them in, or the wide open hole you leave when you remove them.
(The Phone & Power Companies pound treated dowels into the abandoned
holes in poles to plug them when steps, bolts, and other hardware is
removed - most hunters aren't going to think about that, and a living
tree is going to be far more sensitive to injuries like that than a
You could call Cinch or whoever makes them for phone poles and see
if they could run a batch in Stainless for you to use in trees, but I
already know the answer - either "No Way!" or "Pay us lots of money
and we will make anything you want."
If you're going to be climbing different trees, and the same tree
more than once only occasionally, just get a set of climbers (gaffs)
and have someone teach you the right and safe way to climb with them.
Make sure you use tree gaffs on trees (pointy part that sticks into
tree), they are about twice as long as the ones for poles.
If you are repeatedly climbing the same tree, get a ladder. ;-)
Oh, and there is a BIG liability to putting in permanent steps - if
they go all the way down to the ground it creates an "Attractive
nuisance" for passing children (and fools) to climb them without
taking the appropriate safety measures, and then fall from the tree or
pole... You need to use step sockets (lag nails with special slotted
heads) and backing plates, and removable steps for the first 8 feet up
In Michigan it is illegal to use climbing aids or treestands the 'injure
the cambium layer' of trees on the 4 million acres of State Forest land.
This means no spikes, screw ins or permanent attachments.
There are many folks teaching tree climbing for non-professionals these
days. Get the right equipment and a little knowledge and preserve the
resource. After all, there are few trees that people would want to go up
into, and it won't take long for those few to be destroyed by carelessness
Karl Pearson - recreational tree climber
My whole purpose was to bring down fast growing "garbage trees".They are
a hazard from fall season on.Winds and ice build-up cause them to snap
off.Don't want to be at odds with the neighbors over these trees.
Roger that. I still like a tied in ladder and a harness (almost any one
will provide safety for this) and ropes around strong limbs. Don't know
about you, but I'd be sure to spike myself somehow with gaffs - if only
when I tried to take them off.