Professional tree climbing competitions are held around the world to provide a platform for arborists to learn about the latest in climbing techniques and innovations in equipment. They showcase the highest level of professional skills and safety, providing a competitive learning environment for those working in the industry.

The competitions simulate working conditions of arborists in the field. Male and female competitors perform five different events during preliminary rounds. Each event tests a competitor's ability to professionally, and safely maneuver in a tree while performing work-related tree-care tasks in a timely manner.

Competitive tree climbing also introduces the public to the skills professional tree climbing arborists must use for safe, professional tree work. [https://www.itcc-isa.com/about]

The event is supervised by International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and in accordance with the rules of International Tree Climbing Championships (ITCC). You can find more information here: https://www.itcc-isa.com/

Baltic States Tree Climbing Championship BSTCC is jointly organized by 3 Baltic states Eesti (Estonia), Latvija (Latvia) and Lietuva (Lithuania) since 2012 and is open to all arborists. Lithuania is honored to host BSTCC for the third time. BSTCC 2023 is organized by Lithuanian Arborists Association in cooperation with Samogitian Art Museum, association ISAAKK, Estonian Arboricultural Society and Latvian Arborists Association. The championship will take place on June 8-10, in historical Oginskis Manor Park, Plungė.



The Work Climb Event tests the competitor’s ability to move about the tree using a climbing line and harness. The event setup is the same for both male and female competitors. Each competitor starts from a staging area in the tree and is required to visit five work stations throughout the tree, performing a specified task at each station. Each station in the tree is equipped with a bell (or horn); the competitor shall ring the bell (or sound the horn) before continuing to the next station.  

Competitors earn objective points for successfully completing the task at each station and ringing the bell (or sounding the horn) with either a handsaw, pole pruner, or hand, as indicated. At certain stations, a competitor can earn points for completing the additional tasks. Competitors can also lose points for failing to properly complete certain other tasks. 

Competitors earn subjective points based on safety, control, style, poise, and creativity at the discretion of the judges. Finally, a competitor can be penalized for unsafe or uncontrolled acts at the discretion of the Event Head Judge. A second  unsafe or uncontrolled act could result in disqualification. 

The time limit for this event is 5 minutes.


There will be either three or five Work Climb judges. When five judges are available, the high and low scores are thrown out, and the remaining three scores are averaged to provide the official score. Points for this event are based on two categories: judges’ scoring and time. 

Fifty potential points can be earned including scoring points and judges’ discretionary points. No scoring points are awarded for any task not completed correctly. To receive scoring points at any of the work stations, competitors shall complete all tasks. Penalty points are levied for various infractions, including failure to use a lanyard correctly, failure to call a warning, failure to use the working end of the pole, failure to use two hands on the pole pruner, and failure to re-hang the pole properly. Points are earned for fair, good, or exceptional performance. No points are earned for unsafe or below average performance. 

The event is also timed with up to 30 potential Time Points. The competitor with the fastest time earns 30 points. Other competitors receive a 1-point deduction from the 30-point total for every 10 seconds their time exceeds the fastest time. If a competitor reaches the time limit and has not finished the event, or has not rung the bell at each work station, s/he will not receive any Time Points for the event. 

In case of a tie, the competitor with the fastest time wins.


The Speed Climb Event tests the competitor’s ability to climb a predetermined route from the ground to about 18 meters (60 ft) up a tree with a belayed climbing system for safety. The event is timed, and the competitor who reaches and rings the final bell of the course in the least amount of time wins. There could be more than one bell placed in the tree to determine the route; in such an event, the climber shall ring all the bells to complete the event. 

Each competitor shall be equipped with, and use, (an):

• approved climbing-style helmet,

• approved eye protection,

• approved tree-climbing harness, and

• appropriate clothing and footwear.

Competitors shall be tied in with an approved climbing line and friction hitch or device at all times. An impartial belayer provides belay for the competitor during the climb.


There  will  be  either  three  or  five  Belayed  Speed  Climb  timers.  When  five  timers  are  available,  the  high  and  low  times  are  thrown  out,  and  the  remaining  three  times  are  averaged  to  provide  the  official  time.

The event is based purely on time. The fastest competitor to the top is the winner and receives 15 points. The remaining competitors’ scores are calculated by subtracting the fastest competitor’s time (in seconds) from the times of each of the other competitors. For  every  2-second  difference  in  time  between  those  scores,  1  point  (of  the 15 possible points) is deducted from the competitor’s score.

Mandatory Penalty

The following infraction will result in a 1-point penalty: Touching branch beyond tape.


The Ascent Event tests the competitor’s ability to efficiently and safely use their Selected and approved ascent system. The event assesses the competitor’s efficiency in attaching the ascent system to the ascent line(s), ascending to the bell, and transferring into a descent system. The actual descent is not part of the event.

Points are earned for speed as well as for meeting predetermined safety objectives. Event Setup: The height can be set from 12 to 25 meters (39 ft, 4.5 in to 82 ft, 0.25 in). The finishing bell shall be installed at a distance of 38 centimeters (15 in) horizontally from the competitor’s line. 

Three sets of times will be recorded:

 Setup Time (attachment of ascending system to ascent line(s) and on-rope rest), Ascent Time (climb from ground to predetermined height), and Changeover Time (conversion from ascent to descent system). Motorized ascent systems may not be used during the event.


The maximum possible score is 25 points. For each section recorded, three stopwatches are used. Time is recorded to the hundredth of a second. For the Setup and Changeover times, up to 3 Time Points can be awarded.

Based on completion time. Time Points are awarded as follows:

• 3 points – completed in 9.99 seconds or less

• 2 points – completed in 10.00 to 24.99 seconds

• 1 point – completed in 25.00 to 44.99 seconds

• 0 points – completed in 45.00 to 89.99 seconds.

A competitor who fails to finish within the time limit in any of the three sections of the event will be called to the ground and will receive only those points accumulated within that time. The time limit for each section of the event is 90 seconds.


The Throwline Event is a timed event that tests the competitor’s ability to accurately place a throwline and/or climbing line in a tree. Competitors attempt to toss a throwline or climbing line through two of eight targets. Targets can be located in a single tree, four on each side; or in multiple trees as long as there are two distinct sets of four targets. Each competitor is allowed unlimited throws within 6 minutes, but a competitor can score in only one target on each side of the tree. A single throw may be used to score a target on each side of the tree, as long as both targets can be completely isolated. 


The maximum possible score is 30 points. The lines may be manipulated in the tree. This includes attaching more than one throwline or climbing line together to perform manipulation techniques. Additional lines used for manipulation techniques shall be removed from the tree prior to the stoppage of time or the competitor will be assessed a 1-point penalty for each additional non-scoring line left in the tree. Additional points may be earned for installing a climbing line on each side of the tree. The value of these additional points depends on the difficulty of the  target.

Competitors may also earn Time Points for efficiency. The competitor needs to score in each set of targets to be eligible for Time Points. For a breakdown of the Time Points. The  highest  (or  most  difficult)  target  scores  9,  the  middle  targets  score 7 and 5 respectively, and the lowest (or easiest) target scores 3. 

Additional points can be scored for installing a climbing line over one target in each set. Installing a climbing line in a 9-point throw is worth 4 points, a 7-point throw is worth 3 points, a 5-point throw is worth 2 points, and a 3-point throw is worth 1 point. 

A competitor can score a maximum of 18 points for hitting the targets (9 points on each side of the tree) and an additional maximum of 8 points (4 points on each side of the tree) for installing climbing lines. A competitor can also score a maximum of 4 points for completing the event in 3:00.00 minutes or less.

A  competitor’s  final  placing  is  based  on  score,  with  the  highest  point total determining the winner.


The Aerial Rescue event is a timed event that tests the climber's ability to climb to and safely lower an injured climber who is unable to descend without assistance. Competitors are provided with details of the rescue scenario, and they are required to assess the situation and plan a rescue. 

This event simulates a job-site emergency. Injuries can occur and as the first person onsite it may be up to the trained tree worker to apply his/her knowledge and technical skills to rescue an injured person in a safe and efficient manner so they can receive medical attention.

The event format is as follows: 

• The victim is installed in the tree 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) above the ground. 

• The incident has just occurred, and the contestant, as first responder, will assume control of the site, take control of all relevant safety issues, and will contact local emergency services. 

• The contestant must enter the tree using a previously installed line located approximately 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 meters) from the victim. 

• While the contestant is entering the tree, the emergency medical technician (EMT) arrives. The EMT, unable to perform the aerial rescue his/herself, informs the contestant that the victim must be lowered safely to the ground so that the EMT can perform an assessment. 


The Aerial Rescue Event is worth up to 50 points. Forty-five (45) points are awarded for each of the six scoring sections listed below, and 5 additional efficiency points can be awarded based on completion time. 


The Masters’ Challenge is the championship round of the competition. The top men and top women finishers from the preliminary round advance to the Masters’ Challenge to compete for the title. The Masters’ Challenge is designed to judge the competitors’ overall productivity and skill with a rope and harness in the tree. Competitors are judged and scored on their knowledge and their ability  to demonstrate mastery of different climbing techniques, use of equipment, poise in the tree, and safe working practices.

At the Event Head Judge’s signal, “Go,” a competitor enters the designated work area. The competitor shall perform a visual tree assessment, install any necessary climbing equipment, and then enter the tree. The competitor proceeds to three work stations in the tree. Each competitor may choose the route and order in which to approach the work stations. At each work station, a competitor should demonstrate the ability to work freely with both hands.

At each of the stations, the competitor shall ring a bell with a handsaw before continuing to the next station. One of the stations is equipped with a graduated plumb bob suspended from the limb. If a competitor generates excessive movement of the limb, causing the plumb bob to move and touch a marker, 42 fewer points are earned for completing the activity. Another station is equipped with limbs in a bucket and a target on the ground. A competitor is tested on his/her ability to toss limbs to a designated area. A competitor can make three attempts to land a limb into a target. A maximum time to complete the event is specified in advance. The climb is timed to assess overall productivity, but the Masters’ Challenge is not a speed event.


The maximum possible score is 300 points. There will be either three or five Masters’ Challenge judges. When five judges are available, the high and low scores are thrown out, and the remaining three scores are averaged to provide the official score. The judges score a competitor’s movements from the time the official time begins until the competitor finishes all the work stations, returns to the ground, and successfully removes all equipment installed during the event; runs out of time; or is disqualified. 

A competitor receives points only for tasks that were completed within the time limit. If the competitor times out, s/he should receive points in any of the scoring sections even if all of the tasks pertinent to that section have not been completed. The overall winner of the competition will be the competitor with the highest point total in the Masters’ Challenge.