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Old 25-07-2017, 18:30   #1
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Masthead Access Methods

Has anyone used a good Climbing Harness? Like this Black Diamond Momentus Harness https://www.rei.com/product/880933/b...g-harness-mens ??

If I am up at the top for 30 minutes working on the masthead light, is it going to get intolerably uncomfortable?

The climbers harness has the belay D rings much lower and tighter than a bosun's chair, so that the solo Single Rope Technique ascent/descent using Prusik cords and Carabiners to make two Bachmann knots
Ascenders: Ascending devices for caving, climbing and industrial use will work better.

One carabiner for the climbing harnass Bachmann Hitch and one for the Bachmann Hitch for the leg straps (so I can use my legs in a standup / sit down sequence to work my way up to the top of the mast).

I will also use a separate prusik knot tied to the spinnaker halyard and the climbing harness belay loop to provide a fully separate safety.

The closest I have found for this technique to ascend masts is on L36.com
Mast Climbing See the configuration and setup at the bottom. I would be using the Bachmann's in lieu of the $80 + $60 Petzl micro ascender and basic ascender.

I figure I need this equipment.
- Black Diamond Momentus Climbing Harness $54
- 11mm x 50' climbing rope to tie with bowline to main halyard. ( I may use 40' of 1/2" (14mm) low stretch New England double braid.
- 2 Round D-type Locking Carabiners for the two Bachmann Hitches.
- 1 Oval Locking Carabiner for the belay point on the harness.
- 1 extra Oval locking Carabiner for a Munster hitch descent, tied below the two Bachmanns.
- 10'-12' Strapping or light line for the leg straps.
- 15' Prusik Nylon Line 7mm for two Bachmann Hitches
- Extra 7mm Prusik Nylon line for additional convenience ties.

Does anyone with good climbing experience have some suggestions?
I have ascended & descended the mast twice with a 3 part pulley and prusik knots with a borrowed bosun's chair. I found it to be a lot of work tying off to be safe and hauling, so I think this setup will be safer. I hope it will be easier due to using my legs.

The question I have is about buying the climbing harness which will make the hitch and pulling setup better (the bosun's chair D ring is too high for a good configuration unless I modify it somehow.)

Perhaps I could just stick a seat board in the climbing harness somehow?

Thanks
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Old 25-07-2017, 19:03   #2
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

I spent six years operating a high ropes course. Spent so many hours in the harness.

My advice would get something designed for the challenge course technology. I liked my petzl a lot.

All looks good other wise. A grigri would be helpful. With a Prussik as backup. Use a water knot for tying two ropes together.
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Old 25-07-2017, 19:11   #3
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

I've used a similar Black Diamond harness for a few years. I don't remember the model name, but it looks very similar and the cost at REI was in the same ballpark. It's reasonably comfortable, although the longest I've spent at the masthead was maybe 15 min.

I augment it with an old REI chest harness, which gives me some back support.

I climb the mast using two prussik knots on two independent halyards. it's slow, but I'm too cheap to buy ascenders. When my wife is on board she helps with a one halyard around a winch, while I use a sling tied to a prussik to step up (she's not strong enough to winch me up directly).

Hope this helps.
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Old 25-07-2017, 19:43   #4
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Go to an REI with a good harness selection & a climbing wall. Try on a bunch of big wall type harnesses with padded leg loops. Both while wearing regular pants, & in your foulie bibs & a couple of layers. Then take the top 3-5 candidates, & hang in them for 1/2hr (take a book). That way you'll know that your harness fits you well.


As to going aloft, there are dozens of threads on it. I wrote several long posts in one all of 24hrs ago. So a search will yield you what you need.
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Old 26-07-2017, 11:27   #5
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Uncivilized, thanks for the suggestion. Did a search on your posts, was unsuccessful but found a good thread on ropes you are active in. Also searched on "aloft"

hobopacket - Your suggestion for the grigri, which I also considered always ends up with me reading up on a half dozen other ascenders and trying to decide what is best for our application, with no experience in use, yet they cost 60-$100. -So I am going cheap to start, two Bachmann
Carabiner Knot: Bachmann Knot
which are Semi-mechanical Carabiner Knots
Semi-mechanical Ascenders
rather than a Prusik
Ascenders: Ascending devices for caving, climbing and industrial use.

Ziggy & hobopacket, your experience gives me encouragement. What is Challenge course technology? I like the "augment it with an old REI chest harness [and carabiner], which gives me some back support." because it would also move the attach point up a bit so that leg operation & body position is more upright rather than against the mast as in tree technology.

I also like the idea of using your wife hoisting a boom sling alongside via winch to step on. I think also the two prusiks and a safety prusik to a separate halyard would work.

Guess I just have to go to REI for awhile, with a book.
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Old 26-07-2017, 11:39   #6
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Plan for Ascending Mast

Search on "mast climb"
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rchid=15934539

Search on "mast head"
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rchid=15934549

Search on "mast ascent"
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rchid=15934525
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Old 26-07-2017, 17:48   #7
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Skip the climbing rope--it's too springy. I use 3/8 Sta-set as my mast climbing line. The harness will be far more comfortable if you stand in some stirrups (I think you talked about them). A grigri is really fantastic--you can use it going up (one prusik and the grigri), and going down. The beauty is that on the way down you can stop anywhere, hands free, to to whatever, and then keep descending. I'm a big grigri fan for mast work.
If I'm going to be aloft for a long time, I have a little swing seat I made out of a piece of carbon fiber plank. I can slip into or out of it with ease, or stand on it to reach higher, but am always tied in to my Black Diamond harness.
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Old 26-07-2017, 22:11   #8
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Search on "mast climbing" = 4 pages of choices
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rchid=15936503
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Old 27-07-2017, 05:22   #9
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Challenge courses are high ropes course. The professionals in the industry spend a ton of time in harnesses. Yeah grigri's are the way to go. Spend the money. Simple to operate and can ascend and descend. Ascend with help from one other choice. Prussiks in small line (rope) get annoying though. As you put you weight on the get tight and you have to fiddle with them to ascend more. Work great as a backup for the decend though.
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Old 28-07-2017, 09:20   #10
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

I'm feeling better about these choices. Thanks guys.

I will make a small light seat.
I'll test climb harnasses at rei.
Should I make a rope or strap chest harnass?
Does anyone have experience with Bachman hitches?
Otherwise I'll get one grigri and use Bachmann or Prussik for the other two.

Thanks so much.
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Old 28-07-2017, 19:15   #11
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Should I make a rope or strap chest harnass?
I think a rope chest harness would be quite uncomfortable. If you have a sewing machine, make one from webbing (1.25" or 1.5" wide)
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Old 29-07-2017, 05:11   #12
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Thanks Ziggy, I'll do that. Should I be careful about the grigri digging up my Staset halyard? It's probably 1/2" dia and the grigri states "8.9 to 10.5 mm (or11mm) diameter ropes"
Perhaps I should hoist a spare smaller 3/8" sta set line just tied to the main halyard?
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Old 29-07-2017, 18:35   #13
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgleason View Post
Thanks Ziggy, I'll do that. Should I be careful about the grigri digging up my Staset halyard? It's probably 1/2" dia and the grigri states "8.9 to 10.5 mm (or11mm) diameter ropes"
Perhaps I should hoist a spare smaller 3/8" sta set line just tied to the main halyard?
Definitely get a dedicated 3/8" line: 1/2" is way too fat for the grigri and won't work smoothly. I wouldn't bother with a chest harness unless you're super fat around the middle and could fall out of a sit harness if capsized.
Never heard of a Bachmann hitch, but Prusiks are pretty tried-and-true.
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Old 18-08-2017, 10:47   #14
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Re: One Approach

I'm going to summarize what I used, some good instructions, what I did and observations from the first climb.

List
Black Diamond Momentum Climbing Harness
Good Old Larikis Chest Harness with 2 D rings.
7mm x 30' of Nylon line for Prusik & Bachmann knots
1" x 30' of Climbing Tubular Strapping
(3) Screw locking Carabiners

The most helpful instructions that I followed are
TRR Skill: Purcell Prussik Building | Swiftwater Rescue
Which gives dimensions based on height for making the two foot strap/prusiks and provides drawings for how it works.

What I did was fit the climbing harness and put on the Larikis chest harness, then tie a close figure eight (see photo) through the climbing harness leg strap loop and the belt loop with a short length of 7mm line. Then using the end of the line I tied a tight bowline and two half hitches through the two D rings in the chest harness and capturing the Carabiner that I screwed closed around the two chest harness D rings.

For the foot climbing gear I made up two Prusik loops of 7mm. Initially the foot strap loop was tied with a simple overhand knot that is followed from the other side and adjusted to the right length before setting it at the end. After the strap loop is made I tied a prusik knot as per instructions for my foot and then attached to the prusik loop with a clove hitch. I checked everything for height. The long foot strap should end at your sternum and the short one at your hip bone (without a prusik knot tied in the loop).

To prep the halyards I brought each halyard down to the vang bail on the mast and tied a bowline. Then I cleated the uphaul side of the halyards and brought the tail down to the vang bail on the mast and tied that tight with a bowline for safety. This was done for the two "foot" halyards. (topping lift and main halyard). The bottom of the stationary climbing line should be tightly secured at the base as this helps to stabilize your legs while ascending (climbers call it single line SLT).

To climb the mast what I used was the boat's 5/8" staset main halyard and the 1/2" staset topping lift, one leg + bachmann tie for each line (see photo). Then I had a short prusik loop clipped into my chest harness carabiner with the prusik knot tied on the 5/8" main halyard, this was intended as my "safety". I kept that pushed up with every step up, so that if I slipped for some reason there would be a safety.

Then as an extra safety I tied the spinaker halyard to my chest Carabiner with a bowline (don't use the shackle). My wife then pulled this up as I ascended with it wrapped 5 times around the mast winch. Sometimes she cleated it.

My Experience
This was an effective way to climb the mast, but it was work, and there are some considerations which I was not aware of. As you ascend if you are not careful your legs can splay out, this is a little scary, as if the chest safety prusik is not pulled up enough or does not catch on the halyard for some reason, you could end up upside down held by your feet, or worse with the foot loops releasing if they are not tight. This is why it is best to have the chest prusik and the spinnaker halyard as safeties (at least two). If my wife were not below tightening/belaying the spinnaker halyard, I would have to have two chest prusik loops and knots, one to the fixed spinaker halyard.

The next climb should be easier if I slide the chest safety prusik up and then sit in the harnass, adjust one leg bachmann tie upwards and then stand up then stand up in that loop. Then pull the chest prusik up and sit in the climbing harness and do the same with the other leg. What I did was simply go from leg to leg sliding the chest prusik up while stabilizing myself by grabbing the mast. Also I found that it was easiest to clamp my legs to the mast and make my weight as close to directly on top of the weight bearing foot as possible, otherwise your foot will wave around and you could loose your footing so to speak. This is why it is helpful to have the halyards you are climbing with, tied down at the bottom tight as possible.

Once I got past the spreaders, taking a brief rest, and up to the top, I had a 10' length of line that I threw over the top of the mast and used to hoist myself that last 5" through my chest carabiner. I tied it and was up there balanced with the climbing harness and two foot straps for about half an hour removing the masthead light and testing the wiring. I was reasonably comfortable and would shift weight, but my arms got tired because the light bolts had allen wrench sockets that I did not anticipate. I should have had allen wrenches.

Take a long light line with you to let the light or gear or tools down or up and/or have a good bag for this stuff.

Next time I go up, I will remember to sit in the climbing harnass before taking another step.
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Old 18-08-2017, 11:01   #15
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Re: Masthead Access Methods

Here are a few more photos. I would not use the two prusik technique for safety reasons, but it gives some idea of the process. Note: Using the chest harness carabiner is safer because if you slip or start to fall you at least end up right side up!

Climbing trees is more akin to mast climbing, but tree climbers are horizontal with legs against the tree. Mountain climbing tends to have more various conditions, vertical and sloped.
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