Published July 17, 1990 By DAN SHINE
Tree-climbing champion scales to great heights in Texas contest.
Rosalindo Ruiz Carlos is going nowhere but up.
His colleagues call him a climber.
And judges with the Texas chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture call him the champion.
Mr. Carlos, 21, won the Texas tree-climbing title in Austin in June at the society's jamboree. On August 12, he will compete in Toronto at the ISA International Jamboree with contestants from around the world.
The key to being a successful tree climber, Mr. Carlos said, is knowing no fear while hanging 70 feet off the ground, risking life and limb.
"I'm not scared," he said Monday. "I'm not scared of anything."
Tree sport champ is lord of the limbs.
In a jamboree, contestants are judged on four events. The speed climb, the ball throw and the aerial rescue each count 10 percent of the total score. The work climb counts 70 percent.
The speed climb is a timed event in which the arborist climbs a rope as fast as possible to ring a bell 40 feet off the ground. The ball throw competition tests an arborist's ability to throw a rubber ball attached to a rope through targets placed in the tree 30, 40, 50 and 60 fee high.
In the aerial rescue, a dummy is placed in the tree and contestants are judged on their skills and their speed in reaching and rescuing the "injured worker."
The work climb combines coordination and ability. Three or four "work stations" are positioned in a 100-foot-tall tree, and a bell is placed on a branch at each station. A rope is hung from each of the branches. At the end of each rope, a ball is attached so it hangs only 10 inches off the ground.
The contestant must maneuver along each branch and ring the bell without making the ball below touch the ground.
At the Texas jamboree, Mr. Carlos placed first in the work climb and second in the speed climb and aerial rescue. His total points earned him the 1990 state title.
Since he came to Dallas from his native Mexico five years ago, Mr. Carlos has worked for Arborilogical Service, Inc., a tree care company based in Wylie. The service prunes, cares for and fells trees in the Dallas area.
Smiling as he effortlessly moves from branch to branch, Mr. Carlos seems as comfortable in a 70-foot red oak as he does on the ground.
Feeling safe in a tree "is the first thing a climber has to learn," said Steve Houser, general manager of Arborilogical Services. "These guys are as used to being up in a tree as they are on ground," he said.
The tree company does not use a "cherry picker" or ladders when trimming trees, and its climbers do not use spiked climbing boots, which damage trees.
When climbing a tree to cut branches, Mr. Carlos throws a rope over a high branch and attached it to a harness, or "saddle." He then either walks up the tree trunk, pulling as he goes, or hangs from the branch, lying flat out and then throwing his hips skyward as he pulls on the rope. The motion looks kind of like a flopping fish out of water.
He goes up and down a tree so quickly he looks as if he were riding in an elevator.
Arborilogical Services employees Mr. Houser, Kevin Bassett and Onecimo Carlos, Rosalindo's uncle, helped train Rosalindo.
"Kevin and I were astounded at how well he picked everything up," Mr. Houser said. "He is one of the better climbers I've ever seen in my 12 years in the business."
Mr. Bassett, who in 1985 placed second at the state jamboree and 15th in the international jamboree, will attend this year's international with Mr. Carlos because he knows the "ins and outs" of the event, Mr. Houser said. Until then, his uncle, Onecimo, will tutor him, and Mr. Carlos will practice as he works.
Onecimo Carlos, 35, placed fourth in the 1986 state jamboree and said he is proud of his nephew.
"I have experience and when someone needs teaching, I help," he said. "He is a better climber than me. He is...younger. I'm too old now."
Mr. Carlos is a shy young man with an engaging smile. He is taking English classes and working to attain his citizenship.
"He is a quiet guy and doesn't brag about his success," Mr. Houser said. "All the guys have been encouraging him, and we're excited for him even if he doesn't show it. We're all real proud of him."