Tree Climbing Championship


The Ontario Tree Climbing Championship takes place every September at a different venue. The OTCC features 5 preliminary events: a work climb, belayed speed climb, simulated aerial rescue, foot-lock style rope climb and throwline challenge. The top 4 men and top 2 women competitors from the preliminaries advance to the Master’s Challenge, a final event where the Ontario Men’s and Women’s Champion are crowned. These 2 top climbers go on to compete at the International Tree Climbing Championship the following summer. Spectators are welcome to attend this free event. A trade show of arborist equipment is featured and spectators can try climbing like an arborist in the “Climb For All Ages” under the guidance of a professional arborist.  For further information please call 1-888-463-2316 or email

 Photo: 2014 OTCC Competition. Male Champion, Cody Menken (Photo courtesy of Rory Quigley)


                              CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2017 CHAMPIONS,
                                          JOEL DREISE & KRISTA STRATING

  • FINAL Premlinary Scores - Both Men & Women*  HERE  (see note below on scoring)
  • Men's ranking sheet...  HERE
  • Women's ranking sheet... HERE
  • PHOTOS...Competition...HERE
  • PHOTOS...Awards...HERE

* Above, are 3 separate packages for the Preliminary Scoring for the event as the 2 ISA spreadsheets did not have the Secured Footlock in the summary sheet total and the Belayed speed climb value was only at 15 points so we made the changes in the first sheet (Final Preliminary Scores).

The changes were :
        - including the Secured Footlock scores (calculated using the 2016 ISA spreadsheet - Value of 20 Points)
        - Belayed Speed Climb - Value altered from a value of 15 points to a value of 20 points

This removed the issues with the "New Assent Event" which is now valued at 25 points and Belayed Speed at 15 which no one anticipated.

The OTCC Committee is excited to see the recent decision to replace the Secured Footlock event with the Ascent Event at the ITCC. We look forward to implementing this into the Ontario event as soon as possible. Representatives will be in Washington this year to study how the event works and what is necessary to run it in Ontario safely and efficiently. As such we will NOT be having the Ascent Event at the 2017 OTCC, but will aim to have it in place for the 2018 event.

Stihl Limited is the OTCC Official Show Sponsor for three years, beginning with the 2015 competition in the City of Ottawa. On behalf of the OTCC Committee and ISA Ontario, Committee Chair, Julie Tucker would like to thank Stihl Limited (Canada) for this generous sponsorship commitment and continued support.

The OTCC Committee is thrilled that Universal Field Supplies has kindly offered, again, to sponsor a Hospitality Night, Friday September 15th, LOCATION: Boathouse Eatery, 177 King Street, Midland, from 6 - 9pm.  All registered Climbers, Volunteers, Judges and Committee Members are invited to attend and will be issued admission tickets. It promises to be an AWESOME evening, the night before the BIG competition!



Not much changed this year; it rained, AGAIN! That said, we had a great competition – for many reasons!  Over the course of the weekend I had the pleasure of spending time with some of the best volunteers, judges, and competitors in existence. For the 3rd year, in a row, everyone worked doggedly through spitting drizzle, torrential rain, and oddly clear skies, to complete the Preliminaries on Saturday. Thank you to everyone involved; it was a tough day and I don’t think I heard one person complaining. 

Once again, we had a strong women’s contingent: 8 women competing to be the Ontario Champion. The top 2 were Krista Strating and Nicole Vander Schaaf, respectively. A very considerate Nicole, withdrew as she was unable to compete at NATCC, and gave 3rd place competitor, Jennifer Carroll, an opportunity to compete.

We had 26 men all vying to be the Ontario Champion! In a very close competition, the top 4 men, in order of their preliminary wins, were: Cody Menken, Sean Hoondert, Riley Brown, and Mark Gaudet.

Due to terrible weather, we had to postpone the Master’s Competition until Sunday morning.  So come 8am Sunday, with a very relaxed attitude, more hospitable weather, and a cosy group of spectators and volunteers, the 2016 Master’s was underway! It was a rather nice feeling!  If you missed it, sorry, but you missed a lot! Consider that this may have been the first time all 6 Master’s competitors were previous OTCC Champions. This set the stage for some great climbing and close competition amongst all of them; they did not disappoint.  Maybe it escaped some, but it was truly a remarkable thing to witness!  In the end, Krista and Mark were victorious…but it was a VERY close fight!

Special mention to Jennifer Carroll who also took home the ‘Spirit of the Competition Award’, sponsored by Arboriculture Canada.  The ‘Spirit of the Competition Award’ is given for the most sportsmanlike conduct and support of others in the event. With lousy weather, delays in the Master’s competition, and totally soggy gear and people, it’s tough to stay positive… Nice job, Jennifer!    As usual, this event would not have been possible without our tremendous sponsors and vendors who help to make it a success! We truly appreciate all that you do for us!

  •  Men's ranking sheet...  HERE
  • Women's ranking sheet... HERE
  • PHOTOS...Competition...HERE
  • PHOTOS...Awards...HERE


Another Ontario Tree Climbing Championship has come and gone and what a competition it was!  The 27th Annual event went all the way to Ottawa and was held Saturday September 12th at the Dominion Arboretum, hosted in partnership with the City of Ottawa, with Stihl Canada as our Show Sponsor.

Each year this event brings out Ontario`s top tree climbers to compete for the title of Ontario’s champions and the opportunity to compete at the National and International levels.   Twenty-five men and up to 10 women wait all year for the chance to show off their skills in speed, agility, technique and above all else safety; this year was no exception!

The Dominion Arboretum proved to be a beautiful venue with some remarkable trees that certainly did not disappoint our competitors.   The day brought a great competition, guided tours of the arboretum by Kyle McLoughlin, kids (young and old) climbing a massive Oak tree, and somewhat less than perfect weather…  next year we’ve ordered SUN!

The event itself started out a little bit different as we had all the competitors arrive on the Friday for mandatory equipment checks, roll call and orientation in an effort to get right to competing Saturday morning.  This was followed by the 2nd Annual Hospitality Night sponsored by our friends at Universal Field Supplies.  The evening was full of friendly faces, laughs, a few beverages and even a pig roast!  A big thanks goes out the UFS for making this such a memorable evening for everyone!

On competition day, each climber completed 5 different preliminary events; The simulated areal rescue, work climb, foot-lock style rope climb, belayed speed climb and the throw line.  The preliminaries top 4 men and 2 women then advanced to complete in the Masters Challenge where the climbers were required to use their knowledge and skills to climb a tree with multiple challenges.   Each climber was tested on their abilities to ascend and descend a tree as well as move about the canopy visiting 4 different work stations designed to highlight their skills in agility, technique, control, speed and especially safety.

At the end of the day Krista Strating, multi-time champion of the OTCC and past winner of the North American Tree Climbing championship won the title of Women’s Champion and Mark Gaudet took home the title of Men’s Champion for the first time.   Our champions won't be resting for too long however as they will be competing at the North American Tree Climbing Championship in Longmont, Colorado only one week after our competition. 

At the OTCC, it’s not just about the competition, its been a long time tradition to present an award donated by Arboriculture Canada Training & Education Ltd. to the competitor who demonstrates incredible sportsmanship, an upbeat attitude and shows support to their fellow competitors.   This year’s award was presented to Krista Strating as she demonstrated all the attributes that this award represents.

The 2015 event was a particularly special event for ISA Ontario; we understand that for the first time on record, an ISA Chapter has had 10 women competing.  This is an accomplishment that the OTCC Committee is extremely proud of and have put a lot of work into attaining.

The Committee would like to give a special shout out to a couple people who were instrumental in making this happen. Mike Watson and Wenda Li have been instrumental in encouraging the 10 women to compete and were also there to offer advice and support for the women competitors on the day; we could not have done it without you! And let’s not forget to thank the 10 brave, record-breaking women who competed that day!  Let’s keep it up Ontario and make a new goal of having a full roster of women every year!

Some BIG ‘thank-you’s’ go out to the Dominion Arboretum and the City of Ottawa for hosting our event, Stihl Canada for being our show sponsor, our individual event sponsors, the competitors and especially our volunteers! Last but not least I’d like to thank the dedicated members of the OTCC Committee for working all year long to put this event together!  We couldn’t run this event without the combined effort of everyone who takes part.


The day began at an early 7:00 a.m., feeling like the first day of fall, cold and wet.  There were many eyes to the sky and radar screens hoping that the rain would stop and the sun would shine through.  However, the rain continued for the first few hours and the cold settled in for the day.   The competition carried on despite the weather & the competitors, judges, techs, committee & volunteers all persevered, giving it their all and somehow managing to remain on schedule.

This year’s event had thirty (30) men and three (3) women competing for the chance to climb an impressive Red Oak in the Master's Challenge event.  At the end of the day, Krista Strating, the defending and multi-time OTCC Champion and winner of the  2014 North American Tree Climbing Championship, won the title of Women’s Champion, in the Women's Master's Challenge.  In the Men’s Division Master's Challenge, Cody Menken took home the title of the Men’s Champion for his first time.  Both of these competitors will compete in the 2015 International Tree Climbing Championship to be held March 21 – 22, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  

The coveted ‘Spirit of the Competition’ award, is presented to the competitor tha t demonstrates excellent sportsmanship, encourages other competitors and shows great respect for all judges and volunteers throughout the event; it was presented to Jake Prohaska of Hydro One.  The award was generously donated by Arboriculture Canada Training & Education Ltd.      

On behalf of ISA Ontario and the OTCC Organizing Committee, I would like to thank the Show Sponsor, Stihl Canada Ltd for their continuing support.  As well, I would like to thank Universal Field Supplies for sponsoring the first ever, and very successful, Hospitality Night on Friday evening, and all other event sponsors, exhibitors, competitors, judges, technicians and volunteers.  I am a past OTCC competitor, have been on the organizing committee for the last three (3) years, have recently assumed the position of OTCC Chair and also acted as the Local Rep for the event.  It brought me great joy to see the competition carried out so successfully in the city where I live and w ork.  The many local donors, sponsors and full support from the City were contributing factors in making the event such a huge success. The event wo uld not have been possible without them. Thank you St. Thomas!   


The 25th Ontario Tree Climbing Championship, held on Sept. 14 2013, was an exciting day full of thrils!

 Kingston did a wonderful job supporting the event and we all thoroughly enjoyed beautiful Lake Ontario Park. Thanks to all of our sponsors and show sponsor Stihl Canada, the event was a resounding success.

Climbers and spectators always wonder what the weather will bring, but this year was spectacular! A brisk wind off the lake late in the day did add an extra challenge to the Master’s event, but all competitors weathered it with charm and determination.

A full roster of 35 climbers started the day off early at 7 am; 29 men and 6 women. Once through registration and the event walk-around, climbers donned their gear and flew through the trees with speed and agility. The roster was a blend of new and seasoned competitors, and both groups put forward their best efforts.

Once the preliminary events were through, six competitors rose to the top to the Master’s Challenge: Chrissy Blakoe, Krista Strating, Sean Hoondert, Riley Brown, John Ransom and Sheldon Mirco. The Master’s Challenge tree was no small feat, but Krista Strating and Riley Brown proved to the crowd that they were the Champions for the 25th Ontario Tree Climbing Championship. They will go on to represent Ontario at the International Tree Climbing Championship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2014.

The highly coveted Spirit of the Competition award was taken by Mark Gaudet. At the end of the day, all the climbers should be proud of their tremendous efforts. See you all next year in St. Thomas!  
Mens' Scoring Sheet...
Womens' Scoring Sheet...
Final Rankings...
Overall Summary... 

RICK MERCER IN KINGSTON! Rick Mercer was at the 2013 ISAO Tree Climbing Championship in Kingston. The episode aired October 22. For more, visit Rick's Facebook page or the Mercer Report's home page on CBC

Stihl Limited is the OTCC Official Show Sponsor for three years, beginning with the 2012 competition in the City of London. On behalf of the OTCC Committee and ISA Ontario, Committee Chair Paul Kobold would like to thank Stihl Limited for this generous sponsorship commitment. 

What a thrill it was for me to attend the 2012 ISA Conference in Portland, Oregon. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to watch the ITCC event and cheer on Krista Strating and Sean Hoondert as they competed in the preliminary events. The event was held in stunningly beautiful Laurelhurst Park, with its large majestic trees that amply challenged climbers. Krista and Sean both did extremely well throughout the preliminaries. Krista finished in 1st place in the throwline event, with a perfect score, which helped her to win 5th place overall out of 19 female competitors. An awesome job! Sean was on his game and had very good climbs during the preliminary events. Unfortunately, he didn't win any medals, but his consistent performance in the preliminaries placed him in 3rd overall (out of the 42 male climbers), getting him into the Masters Challenge event. Outstanding! Their combined scores placed them 3rd overall for the Chapter Team Award. 

The Masters Challenge was held in a very large and wide red oak. Sean chose to go first, so he could get his climb done and then relax and watch the other competitors. He was admittedly a little nervous prior to the start, but once he got into the tree he just wanted to have some fun and enjoy the experience. The placement of the work stations made the climb very challenging, causing Sean some difficulties which used up his aloted time. He finished in 5th place, but described his experience as "the highlight of my climbing career."   — Paul Kobold

Our mission is to enhance and promote the care and benefit of trees for present and future generations in Ontario through education, research and awareness.