Climbing Her Way to the Top

1 decade 3 years 1 week ago Monday, July 23 2007 Jul 23, 2007 Monday, July 23, 2007 5:27:37 PM CDT July 23, 2007 in News

"I try to do this about every evening," said tree climber Ann Koenig.

In about the amount of time it takes you to tie your shoes, Koenig can shimmy up a rope more than 40 ft.

"When I first tried, I couldn't believe in that amount of time that I could be so worn out," she said. "Forty-five seconds, and I'm about to die."

Ann is the only female competitive tree climber in the Midwest.

"There are none. I've been the only one for the last two years," Koenig said. "It took me a couple years to get a little equipment. I didn't know what to get. I was thinking, 'gosh, my friends should try this. My friends should try this.' I was thinking about all these men, you know, and then I thought, 'wait a second, I should try this.'"

To her kids, Koenig is a super hero. "The best compliment I ever got from my kid was 'Mom, you look like Spiderwoman. Can you do that for my birthday party?' I was like...'ha ha, oh great.'"

Koenig essentially weaved her own web. The urban forester for the Missouri Conservation Department attended training and taught herself how to climb. At first, her neighbors thought she was a little squirrelly.

"I use all of this safety equipment all the time and at first, I'd be very low in the tree I'd be maybe five feet off the ground with a helmet and a harness and this big rope and my neighbors are like....you know it's an odd thing to see," Koenig said. "My goal really was to get to the international level."

Ann needed 85 points to advance to the International Tree Climbing Competition. She received 144 and is now headed to Hawaii to compete for the international title.

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