Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Chris Sharma Free-Climbs California’s Redwoods

Taking a break from projecting rock, Chris Sharma returned to his home state to try climbing some of the oldest and largest trees in the United States: California’s Redwoods.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Chris Sharma finds a new line on a 600-year0old Redwood. [Photo: Screenshot from video below]Taking a break from projecting rock, Chris Sharma returned to his home state to try climbing some of the oldest and largest trees in the United States: California’s Redwoods.

“Growing up in Santa Cruz, even before I started rock climbing, I always played on trees,” Sharma says in the video below. “I always come back between my travels to the Redwood forest and walk around, and I’ve started looking up and seeing more than just trees, but actually seeing lines that would be amazing to climb on.”

Sharma joined forces with the UC Berkeley tree biologist Anthony Ambrose to take samples of the tree’s leaves to determine its water-stress levels.

The tree chosen for the climb is a 600-year-old Sequoia sempervirens, a cousin of the Giant Sequoias found farther inland in California. The bark on the tree’s lower trunk was fire-hardened and did not support lichens or mosses that would be at risk of damage from climbing.

“Chris’ entire climb was incredibly low-impact and on solid outer bark well below the branch level that might host fragile ecosystems,” says Ambrose.

Sharma and the rest of the UC Berkley team discourage illegal climbing in the Redwood forest, as the old-growth canopies are extremely sensitive. Legal climbing in the Redwood forest and tours of the canopy are offered through several private companies and guide services, such as Tree Climbing Planet, Sonoma Canopy Tours and Redwood Canopy Tours.


Chris Sharma Climbing in California’s Redwoods: