I'm a chicken. I use the steps but also wear a harness and have the wife handle a halyard. I have the halyard on a clutch
so going up she just takes the slack out. Coming down she has to use the winch. Before installing the clutch
she used the winch. A little hair raising getting her to do it right because I could not stand there to show her. But I had her ride in the harness for a bit with me holding it so that she could get a sense of what I was feeling.
I also take a tether up and use that as yet an additional measure. The tether is useful to take the load off your legs while working and to help stabilize yourself. Kinda like a lineman climbing a wood pole on spikes, you lay back into the strap pushing a bit against the pole while working with your hands rather than standing straight up and down which could encourage a cut out (and many, many splinters.)
If alone I still use harness with a tether/strap. But if the Wife is around....well misery loves company.
BTW, what spacing are you using??? Some one recommended 24" to me and I feel that is really too much. I can handle it and it reduces the number of steps but 18" or 20" would probably have been better.
Finally, consider putting two steps at the upmost point, so you can share the load on your feet at the top of the mast.