10 Best Climbing Sticks for Tree Stands and Saddle Hunting (2023)

Are you looking for the best climbing sticks to quickly and safely access your tree stand or tree saddle? We have tested 10 sets of the top climbing sticks and found the XOP Climbing sticks to be the best climbing sticks for tree stand and saddle hunting.

Below you will find in-depth reviews of all 10 sets of tree climbing sticks that our staff uses during the hunting season.

Who Are We?

We are a team made up of real deer hunters. We are outdoor writers, contributors, field testers and pro staff that have used each of these climbing sticks to access our hang on tree stands and tree saddles. We then rate and review them based on our findings.

If you have done a google search for the best climbing sticks, then you have seen numerous pages that were clearly not written by deer hunters. Some of these pages don’t even make sense!

They are written by internet marketers trying to sell you on the climbing stick that they make the most money from.

Don’t be fooled!

We are real hunters with many years of hunting experience and actually use all of the products that we rate and review.

Below you will find our reviews of the top 10 climbing sticks that we have tested so that you can determine which climbing sticks are best for you.

You may have seen others online recommending Tethrd One Climbing Sticks. We tried them last year and were not impressed. It also came as no surprise to us that they were recalled last year!

You can see the recall here: Tethrd One Recall

List Of The Best Climbing Sticks 

10 Best Climbing Sticks Reviews

Best Overall: XOP Extreme Outdoor Products Climbing Sticks

XOP Climbing Sticks

XOP climbing sticks and tree stands are very similar to Lone Wolf hunting products and here's why.

XOP stands for Extreme Outdoor Products and the company was started by the original founder of Lone Wolf Products. He sold Lone Wolf and when the patents were up and the non compete period was over, he founded XOP and began making similar products.

The big difference?

Lone Wolf climbing sticks and treestands are made in the USA and XOP products are made in China.

XOP has designed some really awesome products, but we prefer products made in the USA when we can get them.

Now you know the back story. Let's take a look at the XOP climbing sticks set.

XOP climbing sticks are constructed from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum with heat treated steel fast strap buttons that make hanging them quick, effortless and safe.

They also have a pivoting bracket system that follows the natural contour of the tree and a patented arch step technology that forms to your boot for secure tree climbing.

The v brackets have a deep stand off for more room between your boot and the tree. If you have ever used a climbing stick with a short standoff, you know how hard it is to comfortably climb when your toes are hitting the tree with each step.

The pivoting steps are also reversible with relative ease.

They also have a patented self locking mechanism that locks the sticks together making them easy to carry without the need for a separate strap to hold them together.

Key Features:

  • Aircraft grade aluminum construction
  • Single tube design
  • 350 pound capacity
  • Stick is 34 inches long
  • There is 15 inches between each step
  • Each stick weighs 3.2 pounds
  • Reversible steps

What We Like

  • These sticks nest together without the need for a strap and attach to all of the best hang on treestands.
  • 350 pound weight limit is great for big guys.
  • Deep stand off brackets put your foot perfectly on the step for easier tree climbing.
  • The pivoting v brackets can be hung on almost any tree and are noiseless thanks to washers which prevent metal to metal contact.
  • Rock solid once set.
  • There is also an XOP short climbing stick available for the hunters that prefer a shorter design.

What We Don't Like

  • They are on the heavier side.
  • Made in China.

Here's a great video taking an in depth look at the XOP climbing stick.

Best Climbing Sticks For Saddle Hunting: Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks

Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks

The Hawk Helium climbing sticks are a solid stick built from aircraft grade aluminum at price anyone can afford, making them our choice for best value climbing stick.

Each stick is 30 inches long and utilizes cutouts to bring the weight down to 2.9 pounds.

It consists of three anti slip steps, but this stick has all three steps on both sides of the stick making it easy to stand with both feet at the same level.

These sticks attach to each other with a suction cup design formula that has failed numerous times and is almost useless. You will need to strap these together, but the price is right.

The silent use versa button and strap system is noiseless when attaching to the tree and the tree digger teeth really bite into the tree bark for a solid connection to the tree.

Key Features:

  • Quality aluminum construction
  • TreeDigger™ teeth 
  • Suction cup attachment system
  • 300 pound capacity
  • Stick is 30 inches long
  • There is 10 inches between each step
  • Each stick weighs 2.9 pounds
  • Dual steps
  • Locking pegs

What We Like

  • The price. The Hawk Helium climbing sticks are very low priced for a high quality climbing stick
  • We like the 10 inches between steps. Makes it much easier to climb.
  • The versa button and strap are literally silent when attaching these sticks to the tree.
  • We love the double steps, so that you can stand with both feet on one step.
  • Lightweight materials and compact design.

What We Don't Like

  • The silent lock suction cups that are supposed to hold multiple sticks together break.

Here's a great video showing the key features and value of the Hawk Helium Climbing Stick.

Best Lightweight Climbing Sticks: Novix Mini Sticks

novix mini climbing sticks

The Novix mini sticks are a must have for the mobile hunter. Weighing in at just 1.4 pounds apiece, these sticks are the ultimate in portability.

Each stick is 17 inches long and carries a weight rating of 300 pounds.

It features reversible steps and a pivoting bracket similar to the XOP sticks that enable you to use it in just about any tree.

If you are the type of hunter that is mobile and looking for the best portable climbing stick to take deep into the woods, you need to check out the Novix Minis.

Key Features:

  • Single tube design
  • Lightweight aluminum construction
  • Easy to install
  • 300 pound limit
  • Stick is 17 inches long
  • There is 15 inches between each step
  • Each stick weighs 1.4 pounds, 5.8 pounds for 4 sticks
  • Pivoting V-bracket
  • Reversible steps

What We Like

  • They nest together beautifully for a compact size for the best portable option.
  • Super lightweight yet durable at the same time.
  • Can hang in most trees due to the pivoting bracket.
  • The 15 inch step distance is perfect for climbing comfortably.
  • We love the quiet set up process.
  • Made In The USA.

What We Don't Like

  • Four sticks will only get you about 15 feet high. May need five sections or more.

Here's a video showing the key features of the Novix Mini Sticks.

Best Value Climbing Sticks: Rivers Edge Big Foot Grip Stick

Rivers Edge Big Foot Climbing Sticks

The Rivers Edge Grip Stick is a solid stick and our choice for the best cheap climbing sticks.

This is a no frills climbing stick with a very simple design that flat out works.

As you can see in the photo, it is a welded design with no bolts or parts of any kind that can loosen or fail and make noise.

Each step is 11 inches across, which is plenty of room to have both feet on one step and is covered with a non slip coating for a secure grip.

Each stick is 32 inches long with 15 inches between steps and carries a weight rating of 300 pounds.

The welded design is nice, but it does limit your tree selection to different trees that are fairly straight.

They are also heavy at 4 pounds each, but they do nest together nicely.

Key Features:

  • Double step design
  • Rated for 300 lbs 
  • Stick is 32 inches long
  • There is 15 inches between each step
  • Each stick weighs 4 pounds
  • Non slip powder coated finish
  • Quiet looped strap attachment

What We Like

  • We like the solid welded design.
  • We really like the looped strap attachment so there is no metal on metal contact and less noise when setting them up.
  • The double step system gives you enough space for both feet on the same level.
  • We liked the grip that our boots got on the anti slip coating.
  • Really solid once set on the tree.
  • We love the price. It is perfect for the seasoned hunter that doesn't want  more expensive climbing sticks.

What We Don't Like

  • They are heavy and tough to transport long distances.They are loud if you bang them together.
  • They have a shallow standoff. Most hunters prefer more space between the steps and the tree.

Here's a video showing the features of the Rivers Edge Stick.

Best Climbing Sticks For The Money: Muddy Pro Sticks

Muddy Pro Sticks

The Muddy Pro Sticks are our top pick for the best lightweight climbing stick available today.

These sticks have gotten a bad rap because they were recalled back in 2012, but these are new models significant improvement and are deemed safe.

We really like these sticks because they are super light weight aluminum at only 2.5 pounds each and the specially designed rope cam system is really easy and quiet to use with Silent Lock technology.

Muddy pro sticks rope and cam attachment system

The aluminum bark biters give you a really solid attachment to the tree and the steps have built in teeth for easy gripping with your boots in all weather conditions.

Each stick is 20 inches long with 10 inches between steps and carries a weight rating of 300 pounds.

The sticks pack together nicely and are compatible with most lock on treestands.

Key Features:

  • Dual step design
  • Silent Lock technology
  • Easy to install
  • Steps have built in contraction teeth for extra grip
  • Rated for 300 pounds 
  • Each stick is 20 inches long
  • There is 10 inches between each step
  • Each stick weighs 2.5 pounds
  • Fiberguard powdercoat for a non slip grip
  • Quiet rope cam system attachment hardware

What We Like

  • We like the double step design for keeping both feet on the same step.
  • We really like rope cam system for super quiet installation. It is an ingenious design.
  • Lightweight aluminum construction.
  • Works on straight or crooked trees.

What We Don't Like

  • a four pack of sticks will only get you about 13 feet off the ground. Really need at least 6.

Here is a video showing you some of the key features of the Muddy Pro Sticks.

Best Climbing Stick Ladder: Millennium Treestands M210 Stick Climber

Millennium M210 Stick Climber

The difference between this type of climbing stick and the others that we have reviewed so far is that these sections all attach and make one stick that its 20 feet long.

Some guys like this style of climbing stick and some don't. It all depend on your individual preference.

This one has a foot ground stabilizer to keep it from going into the ground and a double top step for standing on or gripping with your hands when stepping in or out of your treestand for maximum stability.

It also comes with 7 foot cam buckle straps which gives you a super tight grip on very large trees without the need for extension straps.

It is a bit heavy at 17 pounds with SteelTough construction and finished with a heavy duty coating. Maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds.

Key Features:

  • Dual top step 
  • Extra long 7 foot cam buckle strap for big trees
  • Light weight SteelTough construction
  • Non slip powder coat finish to prevent rust
  • Deep standoff for easy climbing without toes hitting the tree
  • Boot gripping steps have raised ends so your foot doesn't slide off

What We Like

  • Some of our guys on staff prefer this style of stick.
  • It is easy to assemble and then stand up against the tree.
  • We love the extra long tree straps with cam buckles.
  • We like the extended tree brace that provides the deep standoff for easy climbing with big feet.
  •  We like the price. It is much cheaper than the single style sticks.

What We Don't Like

  • Can only be used on straight trees.
  • It is loud to set up.

Runner Up Best Stick Ladder: Muddy Ascender Climbing System

Muddy Ascender Climbing System

The Muddy Ascender is another example of the stick ladder. It consists of 5, 48 inch sections that connect together to make it 20 feet tall. Each section has its own cam lock straps.

They use plastic caps and nylon washers throughout to eliminate metal to metal contact and make it as quiet as possible.

It is constructed of steel DX tubing which is really strong and durable, but also really heavy at 33 pounds.

It utilizes double steps which measure 11 inches overall and have a non slip finish.

The Ascender also has a 8 inch standoff between the steps and the tree which makes it much easier to climb when you are wearing large boots.

Muddy 8 inch standoff

Key Features:

  • Nylon washers and plastic caps for noiseless use
  • Rated for 300 lbs
  • Strong steel DX tubing construction
  • Easy to assemble
  • 8 inch standoff provides extra space between the tree and the steps
  • Non slip powder coat finish

What We Like

  • We really like the 8 inch deep standoff.
  • Quick one piece set up after assembly.
  • We like the double steps.
  • Really solid, sturdy construction.

What We Don't Like

  • It is heavy.
  • Tools required for assembly.

Here is a video showing the features of the Muddy Ascender.

Best Climbing Stick Technology: Primal Grip Stick with Jaw System

Primal Grip Stick

The Primal Stick is a similar tree climbing stick to the ladder styles above but with a technological twist. It utilizes a patented jaw system to stabilize the top of the climbing stick while you connect the rest to the tree.

Some guys like this and some guys don't think it is worth the extra weight that it adds to the ladder.

The Primal Stick consists of 5, 48 inch sections for a total of 20 feet once it is assembled.

It does have the double top step that can act as a handrail for added security and when you are entering or exiting your stand.

It has a double step design and is really heavy, weighing in at 32.5 pounds with a 300 pound weight limit.

Key Features:

  • Dual step design
  • 300 pound weight limit
  • Sturdy tubular steel construction
  • Patented Jaw System for better stability
  • Black powder coat finish
  • Easy assembly

What We Like

  • We like the technology, but not sure it is necessary for a climbing stick. 
  • We like the double steps.
  • Really solid, sturdy construction.
  • The added stability is a plus.
  • Price is very reasonable.

What We Don't Like

  • Much heavier than other sticks on our list.

Best Cheap Climbing Sticks: Field and Stream 20 Foot Climbing Stick

Field and Stream Climbing Sticks

The Field and Stream Climbing Stick has been included because it is a great value with the Field and Stream name.

It consists of five 4 foot sections that connect together to form a 20 foot high ladder stick.

It features a double step design and a T handle at the top, which helps when getting in or out of your tree stand.

Heavy duty construction has a 300 pound weight limit while weighing in at only 21 pounds.

Key Features:

  • 20 feet high
  • Sturdy steel construction
  • Heavy duty pins hold sections together
  • Easy to assemble
  • Black powder coat finish
  • Angled steps for safer climbing

What We Like

  • Very light weight for this type of ladder.
  • We like the double steps.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • We like the price.
  • We like the Field and Stream name.

What We Don't Like

  • It is loud to set up and climb.

Staff Favorite: Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks

Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks

Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks have long been the standard by which all other climbing sticks were rated. Their patented technology is second to none.

Unfortunately, Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks have become hard to find since the pandemic. You can still find them on ebay, or just go with the XOP Climbing Sticks, which are almost the same as the Lone Wolf.

We have guys on staff that will only use these sticks with their hang on treestands and their tree saddles.

Let's take a look at why.

Lone Wolf sticks are made of lightweight aluminum and have pivoting v brackets that rest against the tree, so the trees that you can climb do not have to be straight. I have seen some guys get a tree stand into a crooked tree easily, that you wouldn't believe was possible with these sticks.

Each stick comes with a weather resistant strap that fits trees up to 22 inches in diameter and strap extensions are available for different sized trees.

Each stick has three pivoting steps with nice aggressive teeth for a better grip and extra safety when tree climbing. Each step can swivel to be on the right side or the left side depending on your needs in each situation.

Once the strap is tightened and you step on the stick to lock it in place, it is rock solid, silent and safe.

The sticks nest together for a slim profile that is easy to carry and and will mount directly to the assault treestand and many others..

Key Features:

  • Aluminum construction with single tube design
  • Pivoting v brackets provide a firm grip on any tree
  • 300 pound weight capacity
  • Stick is 32 inches long
  • There is 15 inches between each step for a comfortable climb
  • Each stick weighs 2.5 pounds, 10 pounds for 4 sticks
  • Reversible anti slip steps
  • Extension straps available for larger trees

What We Like

  • We love the fact that they nest together so well and can be directly attached to the Assault treestand and Alpha hang on stands.
  • Super lightweight aluminum construction.
  • The most solid, non slip climbing stick that we tested.
  • The pivoting brackets move to match the natural curve of the tree making this climbing stick extremely versatile when it comes to tree selection.
  • Lone Wolf 4 pack goes 20 feet high.
  • Made In The USA.

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than other brands.
  • Sharp edges.

Here's a great video showing how to hang a tree stand using these sticks.

Best Climbing Sticks Comparison Table




Weight Limit


XOP Climbing Sticks

Best Overall - XOP Climbing Sticks

3.2lbs each

20' w/4 sticks


Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks

Best For Saddle Hunting - Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks

2.9lbs each

15' w/3 sticks


Novix Mini Climbing Sticks

Best Lightweight - Novix Mini Sticks

1.4lbs each

15' w/4 sticks


Rivers Edge Big Foot Climbing Sticks

Best Cheap Climbing Sticks - Rivers Edge Bigfoot

4lbs each

15' w/3 sticks


Muddy Pro Sticks

Best For The Money - Muddy Pro Sticks

2.5lbs each

15' w/4 sticks


Millennium M210 Stick Climber

Best Climbing Stick Ladder- 

Millennium M210

17lbs total

20' assembled


Muddy Ascender Climbing System

Runner Up Best Stick Ladder - 

Muddy Ascender


20' assembled


Primal Grip Stick

Best Technology- Primal Grip Stick with Jaw System


20' assembled


Field and Stream Climbing Sticks

Best Value -

Field And Stream Climbing Stick


20' assembled


Lone Wolf 4 Pack Climbing Sticks

Staff favorite -

Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks

2.5lbs each

20' w/4 sticks


Best Climbing Sticks Buyer's Guide

In this section we will teach you all about the different types of climbing sticks, as well as what you should consider when shopping for the best hunting climbing sticks.

We will also go through all of the frequently asked questions so that when you are done reading this article you will possess all of the knowledge necessary to make a well educated and informed decision on which climbing sticks are right for you.

Tree stand climbing sticks are used to access hang on treestands, they are not used with climbing tree stands, ladder stands or 2 man ladder stands.

They are also used with tree saddles depending on your hunting style.

Although here is a deer stand placement tip for guys that like to use climbers:

Some of our guys like to hunt out of climbing stands in multi trunked trees, because it is great camouflage and very easy to hide in the middle of 2 or 3 tree trunks. The problem is that you can't fit a climber around the base of a multi trunked tree because the tree trunk base is huge. So these guys use one or two lone climbing sticks to get five or six feet up and then climb into their climber and up they go.

Types Of Climbing Sticks

There are basically two types of climbing sticks on the market that you will be choosing from. Single climbing sticks and ladder style climbing sticks.

Some say that there are three types and throw tree steps into the mix, but tree steps are not climbing sticks, they are individual metal steps that either strap on or screw into the tree.

Single Climbing Sticks

Single Style Climbing Stick

Single climbing sticks are the top choice for most situations. They are individual sticks with two or three steps on them, which you attach to the tree. You attach as many as you need to achieve the height that you want.

These sticks can be used in almost any tree, whether crooked and gnarly, or straight and are a better alternative for most hunting situations.

Ladder Style Climbing Sticks

Ladder Style Climbing Sticks

Ladder style sticks consist of a metal tube in the center with steps on each side. The ladder sections are pre assembled on the ground and then set against the tree and attached as one unit.

This style of climbing sticks is usually less expensive and can be quite noisy due to the friction where the sections connect.

This style can also only be used on fairly straight trees with no branches or limbs in the way.

Things To Consider When Buying Climbing Sticks

In this section we are going to go through all of the things that you should consider when you are shopping for good climbing sticks.

Hunter Attaching Climbing Sticks


This should be your first consideration when you are buying climbing sticks. How high do you want to be and how many sticks is it going to take to get you that high.

Most climbing sticks are designed to go 20 feet high.

Keep in mind that your tree sticks should extend above your tree stand so that you are stepping down onto the stand. This is a safety factor and the best way to enter your stand. Most tree stand accidents happen when you are entering or exiting your stand. Don't be a statistic.

So if you purchase a 20 foot climbing stick, your treestand should only be about 15 to 16 feet off the ground, which is about as low as you should go in most instances.

If you want to go higher than that, you are going to need the individual climbing sticks and you will have to purchase the correct number of them that you need to reach your height you want. This number varies by manufacturer and model.


Weight is the next major factor to consider when shopping for climbing sticks. As you can see in the reviews above, weight varies dramatically from brand to brand.

Even though heavier weight can meen good quality, you should consider where you are going to be hunting and plan accordingly. If you are going to be trekking miles through thick cover to set up your treestand, you don't want to be lugging any more weight than necessary. You would be much better off with light sticks.

Muddy Climbing Sticks

Weight Capacity

This should go without saying, but we are going to say it anyway. Make sure that you stay under the rated weight limit for the climbing sticks you choose.

Remember, they are not talking about how much you weigh when you step on the scale in your skivvies. They are talking about the actual weight, which is your overall weight, fully dressed and any hunting gear that you will have on your person.


Separate climbing sticks are much more versatile that the one piece stick ladders because they have adjustable standoff brackets that allow you to use them on just about any tree.

I have seen some of our staff put Lone Wolf sticks into some gnarly trees where you wouldn't think you could put a treestand, but the versatility of those tree sticks are incredible.


Hunting from a tree stand is a very stealthy type of hunting and if you are anything like us, you want to get into your stand as quietly as possible.

The ladder stick type of climbing system, where the section all attach to each other are usually much more noisy than the single tree sticks, because of friction where they attach.

If you want the quietest climbing sticks that you can find, stick with the single stick style.


As hunters, we want our hunting gear to last a long time so that we can safely and confidently use it year after year and our climbing sticks are no different.

The best climbing stick that is the most durable are going to be the ones that are made from aluminum.

Aluminum will not rust like steel, so even though you make think that the steel is more sturdy, it will not be as durable in the long run.


Portable Climbing Sticks

Portability is closely related to weight, but it isn't about weight alone. Portability also consists of how easily the tree sticks stack together and attach to your tree stand so you can easily carry them long distances to your hunting spot.

This is the ultimate portable hunt ready system that can be taken almost anywhere. This is a major consideration for many hunters that hunt on public land, where easy portability is a must in case they want to remove their gear every hunt so it doesn't get stolen.

Here's a tip that many of us use when we hunt public land. Use individual tree sticks and take the last two or three out with you every time. That way no one can access your stand unless they have climbing sticks with them. When you want to hunt that stand, you just put two or three climbing sticks back on the tree and you are good to go.

Step Size

The smaller the steps are, the harder it is to climb trees safely and comfortably. We have some guys on staff that insist on the double step design because it makes climbing more comfortable when they can place both feet at the same height.

Make sure that the steps have enough room for your boots and have some kind of teeth for traction and added safety.

This is all about personal preference and you will have to decide what is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are climbing sticks safe?

A: Climbing trees comes with a certain amount of risk, but climbing sticks are safe when used in accordance with the manufacturer's instruction manual and proper tree stand safety protocols are followed. Today's tree sticks have all of the necessary safety features to help you climb securely and prevent accidents. Be sure to wear the best hunting safety harness you can afford for additional safety.

Q: What are the lightest climbing sticks?

A: The lightest climbing sticks are the Novix Mini Climbing Sticks, however they are also the shortest, so you will need more of them to reach your desired height. The lightest climbing sticks that can reach 20 feet high would be the Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks.

Q: How high can you climb with 4 Lone Wolf climbing sticks?

A: You can climb 20 feet with the Lone Wolf 4 pack of Climbing Sticks. Please keep in mind that you should be stepping down onto your tree stand from your tree sticks. This means that your sticks should extend above your tree stand. So if your sticks reach 20 feet, your treestand should be at about 16 feet. If you want to climb higher, you will need more than 4 sticks.

Q: What are the best climbing sticks for saddle hunting?

A: The best climbing sticks for saddle hunting are the Novix Mini Climbing Sticks. We saddle hunters are looking for the lightest and easiest way to climb the tree. The Novix Minis fit that bill perfectly.

Final Thoughts on the Best Climbing Sticks

We hope that we have answered all of your questions about the best climbing sticks available today.

Our staff has tested each of the climbing sticks reviewed above and the XOP Climbing Stick was the clear winner for best climbing sticks for accessing your saddle or hang on tree stand.

We even polled our readers and the overwhelming answer was XOP.

XOP Climbing Sticks

The ultimate choice for the best climbing sticks for saddle hunting are Hawk Helium Climbing Sticks, because of their small size and super light weight, which our saddle hunters preferred.

Whatever your hunting style, we are confident that any of these tree sticks will get you safely up a tree for your next hunting trip.

If you have any questions or maybe you have a favorite set of top rated climbing sticks that we should check out, just leave a comment below and we will be happy to respond.

Hunt high and hunt safe.

Related: Hunting Accident Statistics

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John VanDerLaan

Hi folks! I'm John VanDerLaan and I have a deep passion for the outdoors, and deer hunting in particular. I am what you call a year round deer hunter. I am in the whitetail woods year round preparing for the next years season and I love to share the knowledge that I've gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail! In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am an affiliate for products that I recommend. I will make a commission if you buy through my link. You will not pay more when buying through my link. In fact, oftentimes I have negotiated a lower price (or bonuses) for my readers than you will find anywhere else online. Also, when you buy through my link, it allows me to continue to provide you with tons of FREE valuable information through this website!

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