Tree Climbing Spikes / Spurs

Tree Climbing Spurs (also called Tree Climbing Spikes and other names) are useful in tree removal and spar work. WesSpur stocks a huge selection of tree climbing spikes and full range of replacement climber gaffs, straps, and accessories. Browse by category, or see or most popular tree climbing spikes below.

Spur Climbers Extended Guide

WesSpur's Dave Stice goes over spur climbers materials, climber pads, and gaff lengths for tree work. The 2024 update video covers Distel, Notch, and newer spur climbers at WesSpur.

Spur Climbers

Tree climbing spikes, hooks, climbers, irons - all these are names for a pair of climbing spurs. “Gaff” refers to the spike of the spur only. Spurs are useful in removals, especially spar work. Spur climbing damages trees, piercing their protective layers and opening pathways for disease and insects to further damage the tree. Spurs should be reserved for tree removals.

Choosing Your Climbers

You have more choices in selecting your next pair of tree climbing spikes than ever before. Here are some factors to consider.

Spur Body

Spur climber body impacts the overall weight of your climbing spurs and the comfort of the climbing experience. The angle of the climber body, gaff position, and width of the stirrup will all affect climbing ergonomics. The spur body material will affect the weight and cost of your climbers.

  • Steel climbers are durable, affordable, and sometimes heavier
  • Aluminum climbers are likewise durable, and often lighter
  • Titanium is very lightweight, but an expensive material
  • Carbon fiber makes an extremely lightweight climber

Spur Pad Selection

Many spur climbers come with integrated pads and cuffs - for instance, Distel, Talon, or Notch climbers. These brands use proprietary cuffs with internal padding, and offer good support and fit, but limit you to the pads they come with. You can also build a set of climbing spikes with your preferred spur brand, material, and pads of choice. Building your own tree climbing spikes takes a little more research, but gives you the most options.

We break down spur climber pads into Rigid Pads and Soft Pads. Rigid pads include a metal insert that provides increased support and protection from the spur shank digging into the leg, at the cost of a little extra weight. This is a good trade off for the increased comfort and support. Soft pads give less protection, but are generally lighter and cheaper. No matter the type of pad, a larger surface area distributes weight better & tends to be more comfortable. Pads that use 2 straps or a wide hook & loop closure are popular.

Gaff Length - Tree, Pole, or Hybrid?

‘Gaff’ is the actual spike on your tree climbers. The length of the gaff varies by manufacturer, but are generally offered in tree, pole, or hybrid.

Tree gaffs are long - usually 2 3/4” or longer. The extra length in a tree gaff penetrates the thicker bark in trees like firs, Ponderosas, and redwoods to get purchase in the trunk wood.

Pole gaffs are shorter - usually 1 1/2” to 1 3/4”. These shorter spikes get their name from their use in climbing utility poles. Pole gaffs are also good for use on thin-barked trees, like many hardwoods and palm trees.

Hybrid gaffs are mid-length spikes - usually about 2 1/4” long. These are a good choice for flexibility, giving good performance on a wide range of trees. WesSpur puts Buck Hybrid gaffs in our tree climber kits.

What else do I need to climb on spurs?

You will need a climbing harness with hip D rings for attaching a flipline, climbing rope and system, helmet, and other PPE. Safety regulations require two points of attachment in the tree when cutting, which usually means a climbing rope system. Our tree climber starter kits give you climbing spurs, harness, flipline, and other gear selected to work together.