Cornell Tree Climbing Institute


Youth Recreational Tree Climbing - Youth Groups, Birthday Parties

$45 / per Participant

Youth Recreational Tree Climbing is designed to help kids ages 8 to 18 learn how to climb trees safely. Participants will learn the basics of getting ropes into trees, ascending a fixed line up, and rappelling back down to the ground. All gear is provided, and no experience is necessary- a great beginning lesson for a scout group, youth club, or birthday party expedition. Minimum of three hours. (For kids under age 8 we recommend Private Instruction. See the listing below.)

Recreational Tree Climbing — Private Instruction for Everyone

One participant $288
Two, Three, or Four Participants $164/person
More than Four Participants Call 607-254-2798

Recreational Tree Climbing is a comprehensive course for individuals or small groups wishing to learn how to climb trees safely. Taught by our senior tree staff, this class covers all the basic skills of tree hazard assessment, line placement, ascending, descending and moving around in the canopy. All equipment is included. No experience is necessary. Three classes of four hours each.

Canopy Researcher Training - Scientists and Professionals

One participant $388
Two, three, or four participants $212/person
More than four participants Call 607-254-2798

This course is aimed at researchers who need to access and move around in canopies. This course covers SRT and DRT techniques in four sessions of four hours each, or two sessions of eight hours. We put special emphasis on low impact canopy movement and gear organization. Several of our senior staff have extensive experience climbing in the tropical rain forest and will be able to assist you not only with climbing, but also safety issues specific to tropical climbing environments.

Educator's Recreational Tree Climbing - People wanting to learn to Teach Tree Climbing

One participant $388
Two, three, or four participants $212/person
More than four participants Call 607-254-2798

In four sessions of four hours, or two sessions of eight hours, this course employs basic climbing systems to explore teaching progressions and procedures for managing groups in the treetops. In addition to the standard recreational tree climbing curriculum, this course covers rigging for rescue and supervision of participants in a treetop overnight. Experience with basic climbing and lowering skills is suggested. All gear is included.

Custom Courses


If you are interested in designing a custom course, below is a sample list of lessons that we could incorporate in a course.

  • Tree hazard identification
  • Line insertion
  • Hauling
  • Single rope techniques
  • Double rope techniques
  • Alternative climbing styles (direct aid, unicender, etc.)
  • Rappelling
  • Tree to tree traverse
  • Managing students in trees
  • High Angle Rescue


PE Credit Tree Climbing - Cornell Students and Community

Students $295
Staff / Faculty $325
Community and the Public $370

Our PE credit courses are offered three times per semester in Ithaca, New York, and once a year in Costa Rica. Taught in a group setting, these courses cover the basics of tree hazard assessment, line placement, ascending, descending and moving around in the canopy. We visit several locations around the areas, sampling a few different environments and tree species. A much anticipated highlight of our local and international courses is the tree overnight. We have the option of camping out on our tree platforms or sleeping suspended in hammocks between branches of the same tree! All equipment is included in the course fee. For more information see our PE climbing courses page.

Redwoods Tree Climbing

Join Cornell Tree Climbing Institute staff for the experience of a lifetime - climbing some of the largest trees on the planet! In late May we will travel to the western slope of the High Seirra mountains of California. We'll spend the week assisting the UC Berkeley Department of Forest Ecology with Giant Sequoia restoration and ecology research.

You will learn the basics of roped tree climbing, including ascending, moving around in the canopy, rappelling - even moving from tree to tree without returning to the ground. We will stay in a rustic mountain house with electricty, running water, and hot showers. All gear, instruction, food and lodging, and on-ground transportation is included in the course fee.

For more information check out the details on the web or contact Mark Holton at or 607-254-2798.


Costa Rica Tree Climbing

Big tropical trees. Howler Monkeys. Exotic bryophytes. The rainforest canopy is home to many arboreal animals: rare frogs, toucans, monkeys, orchids and in January, to Cornell students! If you're itching for a new cultural experience and excited to explore the rainforest first hand, this is it.

Costa Rica Tree Partcipant
The tropical rainforest is the source of the richest biodiversity in the world. Yet even after great public alarm and dismay over the loss of tropical forest, only minor attempts have been made to plant native trees and develop sustainable forestry systems in the tropics. Come visit the rainforest up close and personal, and draw your own conclusions about the preciousness of the rainforest and best means to sustain it.

We will spend ten days in Costa Rica, traveling to the Rio Guabo valley to explore the canopy of a lowland tropical rainforest. You will learn how to use ropes and technical gear to get into the canopy of any tree, to move around, even to climb from one tree to another, 100 feet in the air, without coming back to the ground.

Costa Rica Tree Scene
We will also learn some local ecology and experience the culture of a Spanish-speaking rural community. We will stay in a tiny village and eat the typical cuisine prepared by local people. All equipment is included in the course fee. No climbing experience necessary. Students must provide their own transportation to and from San Jose, Costa Rica.

Equipment List
Additional Course Information