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Climbing a Coconut Tree

In Kerala, even though almost every house has coconut trees, it is very difficult to find

coconut tree climbers. These are specialists who charge a flat fee per tree and are so much

in demand that they need to be booked in advance.

It does seem plausible for one of the able bodied men in the house to make an attempt to

do the job. Nevertheless, it is tough as the soft skins on the palm of our hands and the

soles of our feet get mercilessly scraped. A brave uncle of ours once managed to climb up

in swift jumps. However, having reached the top, he didn’t know how to come down. His

desperate attempts made him go round and round without any downward movement. It

took a lot of time and patience before he managed to touch the ground with bruises all


According to experts, there are two basic techniques to climb a coconut tree. The front

foot technique is similar to rock climbing. You put your hands close to each other on the

back of the trunk and walk up alternately moving your feet and hands. The frog technique

is more suited to almost vertical trees. Your legs should be flexed on each side of the tree


with the sole of your feet applied around the trunk. You place one hand up and behind the

tree and the other hand at your chest level on the front side of the tree. In this way, you

apply pressure from both sides, lifting you up while pushing up with your legs.

There is only one technique to go down. You lower your hands one by one behind the

trunk and just let the sole of your feet drag against the tree.

If you don’t fancy climbing up tall coconut palms, there is another alternative. You can

hire a person from the ‘Coconut tree climbing institute’ in Kerala. Using a machine made

of iron rods and steel ropes, they train people to climb a coconut tree more easily than by

the traditional ways. Normally, it is difficult to climb coconut trees after 10 a.m as the

trunk gets heated up. The machine also eliminates this problem and enables the trained

climber to earn more money.