Company DirectorJames started climbing trees as a teenager growing up in the New Forest where he also developed a passion for wildlife photography and filming. James set up CAL in 1998 to help others explore and enjoy the forest canopy safely: providing safety support and training for filmmakers, scientists and students. “I’ve been extremely lucky to have combined my life’s passions within my chosen career and have spent most of the last 20 years filming in various jungles for the wildlife film industry.” Regular clients include the BBC and National Geographic. He has been awarded an EMMY for his camerawork and been BAFTA and RTS nominated several times. He is also an award winning radio presenter for BBC R4. He lives in Somerset.
Chief InstructorWaldo has a passion for climbing big trees and for technical rope work. He has completed numerous expeditions to tropical rainforests both for work and for fun: “Climbing such wild and unexplored trees demands much from my access techniques. Not only is efficiency and practicality important but being in such remote locations, where outside help is not always at hand, the rescue protocols have to be well thought out and a high standard of safety is paramount.” When he isn’t in the trees Waldo also flirts with the dark side and ventures out on rock. He recently climbed Yosemite’s El Capitan in 14hrs and has completed several mountain rope rescue courses in the USA.
Waldo lives in Dorset when not travelling.
Ropes InstructorAlex spent much of his childhood playing in the woods in Dorset. When his friend Waldo took him out to try climbing with ropes he became immediately hooked: “I love the exhilaration of being aloft as well as the three-dimensionality that tree climbing uniquely offers. I am also attracted by the physical and mental challenges it presents; I suppose that for me tree climbing strikes the perfect balance between brains and brawn.” He is also passionate about languages and studied translating and interpreting at university. He is fluent in German, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian. His Malay isn’t bad either. Alex is IRATA, BCAP and ACAP trained and has led several Op Wall climbing seasons for CAL. He currently lives in Austria.
Ropes InstructorIan is a West Dorset based tree climber, arborist and IRATA technician. He joined CAL in 2012 and since then the ropes have taken him to places such as Chile, Morocco and Honduras. He has also climbed and measured several UK champion trees for the Tree Register of Britain and Ireland. “My background is in conservation as a reserves warden for the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Tree climbing has always been a hobby, but over the last few years it’s evolved naturally into an exciting and diverse career.” Ian lives on a family run farm and is currently building his own small tree surgery business. Ian is a keen cyclist having cycled LEJOG, Dorset to Croatia return and the USA coast to coast.
Media SupportZak Bentley is filmmaker and climber from Dorset. He loves nothing more than being behind the lens, the more challenging the situation the better. He has traveled far and wide to climb trees and capture the experience on camera. “There is something that feels inherently right about being at the top of a tree. I love exploring and there is a whole world of unexplored tree canopy’s.” He is IRATA L2 and BCAP qualified. He is finishing up a film about the Alerce tree in Chile and is in the planning stages of his next film in the canopy of Borneo.
Zak lives in Cornwall
Rope InstructorJames began climbing trees professionally whilst studying Arboriculture at the University of Brighton. Aftergraduating, he has worked as a commercial arborist and currently as an IRATA Rope Access technician. ‘I have a passion for rigging, knots and working at height, luckily through the work I undertake in the UK and abroad I get to combine this with a love of travel’. James joined CAL in 2012 and has since worked on expeditions to Indonesia and Honduras and assisted in BCAP training sessions throughout the UK.