Tree climbing venture offers canopy views for the intrepid

There’s a new way to get high at Deception Pass State Park. High up, that is, where the eagle-eye view peeks in at people peering down from Deception Pass bridge.

A new adventure sport called canopy tree climbing offered by the Seattle-based company AdventureTerra leads guided tours up towering trees using harnesses, ropes and a hand pulley system.

“It’s a very new novelty and activity,” company founder and owner Leo Fischer said. “We’re one of the largest canopy tree climbing businesses in the nation.”

The cost is $149 per person.

Appointments are made online. A guide meets clients at one of two Douglas firs within the boundary of the state park. Climbers must be at least 7 years old, be reasonably fit, and be ready for a mental and physical challenge that simultaneously thrills, scares and dares them to greater heights.

Participants typically ascend 150 to 200 feet to reach the top, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

Each climb begins with a safety discussion and equipment demonstration. Guides then lead the climbers up about 30 feet and then teach them the reverse, how to safely go down before aiming for the tippy top.

Upper-arm strength isn’t a requirement. Coordination does help.

“It’s all in the legs. You don’t need massive arms,” explained tree climbing guide Shaun Mellor on a recent Sunday afternoon after taking a couple up and down the climbing tree right near the North Beach parking lot, a popular spot for day tourists.

The other tree used is in a more secluded area, requiring a 15-minute walk in the woods.

Mellor answered a few questions from curious on-lookers as they watched him zip up a tree with super-hero finesse and flair.

“The motion is, you stand up on the foot strap, push the blue handle up, pull up the bottom handle, take another step and push up again,” he said, deftly demonstrating.

“Want to try it? Want to climb a tree?” he…

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