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Lowell_Skoog

Think climbing takes guts? Try logging!

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I have the privilege of helping Ira Spring's family index his photos for permanent archival. I've found many wonderful pictures of all aspects of the Northwest outdoors during the latter 1900s. But the following shots really knocked me out. They were taken at the Shelton Forest Festival around 1954. Ira's captions say, "Tree topping the hard way." The pictures show loggers topping a tree on a springboard instead of the normal way using boot spikes and a waist strap.

 

Here's a closeup of a man pulling up the lower springboard to place it in the next notch in the tree. The notches spiral up the tree like a staircase. I don't know if they are pre-cut or if the man has to chop them during this event:

 

Spring-010410sp-Shelton-tree-topping-c1954.jpg

 

Here's a man chopping with an axe while standing on a springboard. I've looked at these pictures under magnification and it appears that the loggers are unbelayed. The man dangles a rope to the ground (probably used for descent) but I can see no evidence that this rope is secured to anything on the tree. The man on the ground is holding a saw tied to the rope. He is not providing a belay:

 

Spring-010413sp-Shelton-tree-topping-c1954.jpg

 

Here the logger is using a saw pulled up on the rope. The springboards have short ropes that are tied to the logger's waist. In theory one of these ropes might catch a man if he fell (assuming the springboard doesn't pop out). But I think their main purpose is to enable the man to remove the lower board and pull it up to place in the next higher notch:

 

Spring-010414sp-Shelton-tree-topping-c1954.jpg

 

Finally, the tree is topped. I don't know how the man gets down, but I suspect that they lower him using the rope that he dragged up. I think down-climbing on springboards would be really difficult:

 

Spring-010416sp-Shelton-tree-topping-c1954.jpg

 

 

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Cool. Looks like the rope is a tag line to haul up boards, saws, and a lunch box with smokes. I doubt if it provides any safety measure. This must have been before lawyers were invented.

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Wow, thanks for sharing these Lowell. Makes the current TV shows of loggers look like a bunch of sally's with all of the mechanization.

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Really cool. Thanks for letting us take a look. Any other details on Ira's photos would be great - will there be any publicly accessible archives?

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Really cool. Thanks for letting us take a look. Any other details on Ira's photos would be great - will there be any publicly accessible archives?

 

I'm preparing the collection for donation to an archive that will manage public access to it. I'll provide more details when the process is complete.

 

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i hope it will be like the dwight watson archive housed online at uw....good news!

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