Two weeks ago I had the incredible opportunity to once again team up with members of the Arboreal Collective to ascend Big Lonely Doug, Canada’s second largest Douglas-fir tree! Working with climbers Matthew Beatty, Aaron Kinvig, Elliot Wright, and James Frystak, we managed to capture some awesome images and incredible drone footage of the climb. Photographers Martin Gregus Jr & Sr from the One 50 Canada Society were also present to shoot photos for a future book publication of theirs.
In order to get the first rope in place, the climbers use a 12-foot slingshot to launch a weighted line precisely over one of the top branches. Then, using techniques that allow you to climb the rope itself instead of the tree, they ascend skyward without impacting the tree. The experience is both exhilarating and humbling (and a lot of hard work). Definitely stands out as a highlight of my life!
Big Lonely Doug measures 66 m (216 ft) tall, 4 m (13 ft) wide, and 12 m (39 ft) around the base. It stands alone in a 2012 clearcut in Port Renfrew in Tree Farm Licence 46 held by the logging company Teal-Jones, in the unceded traditional territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation band. Big Lonely Doug is a clear example of both the incredible grandeur and terrible destruction of BC’s endangered old-growth forests. Click here for maps and stats on how little old-growth remains.