Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current | View This Issue
TIIE SUNDAY OREGOXIAX, PORTLAND, NOVEMBER 13, 1921
Acq of Woods Flirls Wiih Doatk
High Climber Is Industrial Forlorn Hope. He
Labors Alone, and Encounters Numerous Dangers
BY DeWITT HARRY.
HE high climber Is the act of th.
woods. . v
His lift and llmbi are In lm-
Inent peril all the time he ii work
in?. Necess.rlly he must labor alone
Like the diver and the steeple-jack.
Ms Job Js an Industrial "forlorn
hope." Like them. too. he has to be
an all-around master of the require
ments of his work. He has to et
the ponderous and complicated tackle
and guy ropes with which the -spa
tree Is fitted to enable it to stand
and to drag to the loading point the
reluctant heavy logs In Its tributary
territory. This part of the woi k
alone is well nigh , a trade In itself,
and having; to do It while clinging,
buglike, at masthead height by no
means eases the task.
Blaster of Ax and Saw.
The exertion He has to make s ex
hausting In the extreme. Burdened
with ax. saw and wedges, limbs
i weighted with heavy leg Irons, carry
ing the climbing spurs, he jerks and
lifts himself hundreds of feet under
a strain that would probably bring
collapse to a record-breaking college
Then, too, the high climber has to
toe past-master of saw and ax. When
the lofty tree bows its proud head to
him one may be sure that the ex
ecutioner's work has been done with
the fewest possible strokes. In high
est form he must also possess the
craft of the ground faller. He must
accurately gauge the "lean" of the
tree and the direction and pressure
of the wind.
On the ground a faller can run It
the "lean" or a change of wind de
flects the falling giant from the un
dercut always made to direct the
fall snd intervening trees may
check the crashing doom, but up at
Ms lonely elevation the high climber
has only his eye and hand, sixth
sense and quick wit. to save himself
from almost Inevitable death should
his arboreal victim fall amuck. In
any event, when the top falls the
"stump" sways and weaves with
great violence and the climber must
hold with tooth and spur, "and this
experience anywhere from 150 to 280
feet above ground is racking In the
extreme. Not infrequently the climb
er is badly nauseated and cases of
unconsciousness have occurred occa
sionally during the shaking period
while the tree is In its death shudder.
Beat of Treen for Lead.
The high climber Is a specialist In
every way. His profession Is one
created by the exigencies of logging
tinder the peculiar conditions en
countered In the Taclfic northwest.
Here the stand of timber Is excep
tionally dense, the trees of huge girth
and lofty height. These forest giants
literally weigh tons, and when they
are felled the problem Is to handle
tbem on the ground. This Is where
the high climber comes in. The lead
trees are particular ones selected only
after careful Inspection of the tract to
be logged. They must be of firm
foundation, strong enough to stand
terrific strain, and tall enough to
handle all of the logs In a large
This tree once selected, generally In
the center of the tract, all of the rest
of die logs are "yarded" to It; that Is,
It is the central point and the sections
of the fallen trees, after being
trimmed and out for the sawmills, are
hauled there, assembled, and then sent
on the next stage of their Journey
which is only completed when they
re sawn and built Into the structures
cf which they become an integral part.
Thus the lead tree may be the Initial
stage on the trip o( the log to Europe
during wheh time It undergoes a num
ber of manufacturing processes, much
handling and thousands of miles of
Knights of Woods Dare Death.
The falters working on the ground
are generally paired off, the teams
taking their trees in turn and sending
them crashing to earth. In this skilled
labor they first undercut the great
tree and then by means of wedges
can usually direct its fall and get
clear in time. This only serves to ac
centuate the danger of the climber'!
work, for he has no chance to take
advantage of the artificial aids pos
sible when working on the ground.
Harry Veness tells of trying a
climb at one time when he visited one
of the Sunset camps at Sutlco near
Raymond, Wash. Veness went there
In the course of his work as a field
man for the Loyal Legion of Loggers
and Lumbermen and found Ed Ken
dall employed as climber. Kendall. It
might be noted. Is a college man and
one of the outstanding figures in the
woods, and most of the high climbers
will be found to bo men of marked in
telligence. Veness donned the heavy
and complicated tackle. and, though he
Is quite an athlete and was in perfect
trim, could not get up" more than a ber , .XCeptionslly heavy. This
few feet. The resultant racking of takes with mm an ax. a saw ana a necessitated the perfection of the
bone and muscle left a memento of water bag. He la. equipped, with hRh ead y.tem wlth an auxlary
pain for hours following his attempt spurs somewhat like those worn by d,very to tha streams by means of
that he afterwards characterized as linemen, but they are longer and loggin railways, huge motor truck
Insignificant. sharper, for they must penetrate the or caterpUjap tractors
bark and hold firmly in the green
Human Squirrel Scales Trunk. WOoi underneath. He also uses a Tarlila Common In Climber's Work.
The exceptional pictures shown rope to assist in his climb, long .,, .... .,. . , .... ,v.
with this article were made near enough to throw around the trunk After the pllot block 18 et the
Knappa. Or., at tho camp of the Big of the tree. In this case it was about climber Ja hauled up and down by
Creek Logging company, and show 20 feet long. With hls rope about a donkey engine and the Insouciant
Axel Hallgren In action. The tree the trunk and his spurs set in the manner with which they soar and
that Hallgren scaled that day must wood, he sticks on the side far from descend Is unforgettable. The neces-
have been about 300 feet high, for it the ground like a" woodpecker and sary. nerv6 ja not due to obtuseness.
Is 240 feet from the ground to the lopa off the limbs. Occasionally a , .., K. .. ... fc
, . . t . , . . , as the work cannot be done except by
point where he Is shown cutting off limb is missed or does not fall com-
the top. It was six feet In diameter pletely away. One limb can be no- man of mOT thao boillT
10 feet from the ground. This tree ticed on Hallgren's tree clinging onto " mental development. Injuries In
was an unusually high one, for the the side far below the insect-like fig- the calling are, of course, common
top is usually cut off these high lead ure of the climber. and death all too frequently takes
trees at from 160 to 200 feet from In doing this Job It took Hallgren Place.
tho ground. In his work the high about one and a half hours to climb In one case the climber lost his
cllmbej- starts at the bottom, climbs the tree, cut the top off and 8"et back spur grip In some unaccountable man
. - n
t r- v . I.i',- a. .- .v. - 5 . . I , a l,
(s - . I M'-ft ..' 3-:3" 1 til- - . ; , r ) - Si ,A
J- L- 0imPm : . v-:-x 1 'Mi k- ?
lit-," - '.'"wfrii. . i . 1 r I
viT -J-A-i. "lf,iA; i, - ' Ksr-r : v k
'.'!i "Ar i !! iV - i ' a ' - y - a r j
- J , . v
. ' . .J
belt, is expanded by the awful weight would have to first free It and for
of the falling tree top.
In the case In question the climber
saw the split start. Luckily he was
this there was no time. Its position,
however, did give him opportunity
for a wide axe swing, mo, lean
ing fuw hack urlth IITa anrt wife and
using a hemp climbing rope. .Instant- chiIa,.en , tne mlh,y ,troke. he cut
ly he dropped, but the split pursued, through the rope and also sank the
Then he cut his rope and, desperately axe so deeply Into the tree that with
clinging by knees and spur, with one one hand on Its handle and the other
hand he coolly dropped into the wld- on the top of the stump he was able
ening fissure his axe and wedges, to hold against the vibrations of the
with the other hand holding to the tree. Then he climbed on to the
broken edge of the split. When the stump, spliced his rope and descended
top finally broke and the huge sliver to the ground. The only comment he
sprung back to place. -the tools kept made was an eloquent remark in re-
The author wishes to thank
Harry E. Yeneaa of the Loyal '
Leatnn of Loggers and Lum
bermen, I). H. Stewart, mu
ser of the Bin Creek LonEinK
comwany and George M. Wela
ter. the photographer, for their
Invaluable aMlalance In prepar
ing; the following article.
for dangerous breaks of a falling treer it open and the man thrust one arm gard to losing his pipe, which waa
i..,i t,. .o- .,-... if and leg through the opening, and, shaken loose by the swinging tree.
In the middle west, around the Great his work, and had followed
T.aLr.i nnH in tha RncTnnH atntea several vears.
mus supported, noncnaiunuy awmieu
ice in the wlnter'and then haul them tor's coolness and presence of mind an , , h or relief - ' OT,.h ,lm
on runners or drive them out on the saves his life and the unprecedented Still more moving is another slm
. e,..v,,. r of th. work occasion, manv treak in the grain of the wood iIar episode an exhibition of pres
In eastern Oregon In the yellow pines Instances of setf-preservation that " au3e -he " to fall before the ence of mind that would be hard to retrieve them. On the second trip
they use what is called the "big are consummately thrilling. One of cut has reached the calculated break- overmatch. Again the tree started to General Dawes himself could hava
wheel" system of logging, picking these took place when, at a height ing point. Up high the result is split. The climber was hanging In taken a lesson
id the loir, in hunch c and haulinir of 200 feet, the tree commenced to easily predicted. As the split de- such fashion that his rope circled up- -But anyway,
ih.n wv hv hor. hut none f sDlit downward.- In either ground or scends it opens and the climber s, en- ward as in the illustration accom
these methods would do here.. This lofty felling this Is one of the most 'circling rope, attached to hla broad panylng this article. To drop he man, my son!"
section is damp, rough and the tlnr.- ""
other cases of death at ages between Alexander Graham Bell states that.
Humorous Incidents also arise.
Once a climber dropped successively
his axe and saw, being compelled each
time to make an ISO-foot descent to
to be a climber, at
Kipling remarks, you "have to be
MANUEL DE VALLE, 176 YEARS
OLD, CHIEF OF METHUSELAHS
Most Ancient Man of Authentic Longevity has Good Proof of Date of
Birth Against Other Contenders.
147 and 172 years.
out of 8797 persons included In the
A still more authentic case Is that statistics, the age at death Is stated
of Drakenberg of Norway, born -in In only 296S cases. Out of this num-
1626 and dying in 1772. at the age of ber. seven are recorded as having
146 years. He was a sailor for 91 reached the age of 5 years or more,
years and held captive by African pi- three dying at the age of S5. two at
rates for IS years. Thomas Par. a
poor Shropshire peasant, died In Lon-
don at the age of 152 years and i
one at 97, none at 88 and one at
And then again, It Is claimed that
the oldest pereon In the world Is a
OW old was Ann?" - birth. H's birth certificate, it IS
No puzsle of the years has stated, signed by the chief magls-
created more speculation trate, gives the date of his debut Into rare and are not known from the rec
than the age of this spinster, and she the cold, hard world as November 24, ords of the last two centuries. The sion and food allowance from the
1745 which makes him 176 veara old ii3iance oi iwo people oying at ine rrencn government. loran siaie-
Cases of human beings reaching the Kurd named Torah who asserts ho
age of 150 are regarded as extremely has lived for more than 150 years.
He may soon receive a special pen
is still an enigma unless she has con
, . . . ..... . . ,. i It has been found In ffeneral re.
ciuoea to noooie to .ne po.ia ... -Centenarl.n. that the t the ages of 142 and 145 year. ar. out
cast a vote. average age Is about 102 1-5 years, accepted by Metchnikoff only with a more than 70 years old who declare
But that waa many moons ago, and . Jare. tn, averatr m good deal of reserve. However, cases that when they were mere young-
sne may oeiore in.s ue running a 102 1-& tyears, respective ages of 108 e aurauon oi ine irom iuu 10 Biers
"hoss race" with Osier's has-beens, to 100 years. The average age for fe- ljla Tear are not very rare, as sia
Too bad Sir William has gone to his males is about 102 1-6 years, the re- tlstics show.
t th. rirt limb anil cut. it off with to earth. It is an interesting- stcht ner and becoming reversed In his reward without a passing notice to spectlve ages ranging from 108 to -in w. j. i nomas numan iong-
iw or x. iieDendimr on the size of to watch a climber come down one of belt hung head downward at a lck- the record-breaker for age under 100 years. In many cases veriflca- evity. Its Facts and Fictions" (1873)
h limh and then climb on to the these trees. In this case Hallarren enlng height. No other man in the modern chronology. tion has been made by baptismal cer- the authpr has established beyond
next one. and so on up the trunk, resembled nothing more than a red camp being able to climb, a fellow- From the mass of speculation that tificates or other records.
Thiia it I. aun that tha ! anuirret an4 it wan estimated that It worker In a near-hv camn was aent attache, to longevity: from the my- Elle Metchnikoff records the ex
of the Job depends on the number took htm less than a minute from top for. But .woods communication Is riad nostrums that were hottled at treme old age reached by man as Thomas Parr (14S-1635), and 'the have followed recent history closely.
and slse of the limbs. to bottom. This particular tree was slow at best and when the newcomer Ponce de Leon's spring of eternal being 1S5 years In "The Prolongation Countess of Desmond (140 year, old)
Axel Hallgren is such a man as you used as a high lead for six weeks and finally reached the sufferer exhaus- youth; from the life that is so pre- of Life." Kentlgem. the founder of the three typical Instances of abnor-
often read about In fiction. He has about 60 acres logged to It. When tlon had done Its work and he was clous and so squandered In this rest- tho Cathedral of Glasgow. Scotland, mal longevity constantly cited,
followed the woods for most of his the tree Is stripped a Pilot block is beyond aid. less age of thrift and pleasure, how known by the name of St. Mungo, The duration of life and the condi-
life and is about 30 years of age. He set on the top and the tackle strung Just last April Jack Olson, high Illuminating are -the data gleaned died at the age of 185 years on Janu- tiofls associated with longevity have will. He then proceeded to pocket
meicrha ISO nounriji and atanda sliaht- from here to all Doints In the area climber for the Saginaw Timber com- from medical press by the Interna- ary 5. 600. Interested the mass of people for small sums of mney with which to
i .ix feet tall n la im of it la to handle. The loc-. are then suit at their camn near Vesta. Wash tional Medical and Surgical Survey. Another astonishing case of long- ages. Trick mathematical problems buy
th. hiarheat nalrl men in tha emnlov draaaed in over the rough ground, near Aberdeen, lost his grip oa his Manuel de Valle of Menlo Park, a evity Is that of an Hungarian agri- have been given much consideration,
beginning of the nineteenth century ment as to his advanced age Is borne
by numerous persons who are
In knee breeches. Torah
aged, gray and bent.
The recent world war scattered hit
friends. He Is now penniless and de
pendent qn charity. Although his
mind 1. considerably hazv regarding
doubt the mythical character of the events of the eighteenth and nine-
age of Henry Jenkins (1501-1670), teenth centuries, he Is reported to
By declaring to the French officers
in Constantinople that he always
prophesied a French victory, he Im
mediately won their hearts and good
month's supply of split peas
fruit and "Turkish delight." the on!)
of his company and his only duty Is Thi. method of logging ha. been per- safety line and fell 80 feet to the suburb of San Francisco, is reported culturlst. Pierre Zortay, born in 1539. but the whys and wherefores of old food he has eaten since he passed
fected In the western Pacific- slope ground, dying an hour later. Olson to be the oldest man who has satis- who died in 1724. Hungarian recorda age prompt greater speculation.
the century mark. Incidentally. To-
Oa ht trip -up the tree the climber, a Ji most efficient. la tat) caajpa saa ii year ft age, a sklUed, suu at factory nroqt or tha exact data of his ot the, eighueatj. century;. oataia la ft atudjr J tha Bydo genealogy, rah then stopped wa.hiog himself.