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Old 16-01-2012, 21:48   #16
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

again, a rope ladder with an ascender attached to a halyard and clipped to a harness would be much simpler than rigging a rope ascending system. Either way, it would seem difficult to free your hands to do any work anyway.
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Old 16-01-2012, 21:56   #17
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

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Originally Posted by shorebird View Post
again, a rope ladder with an ascender attached to a halyard and clipped to a harness would be much simpler than rigging a rope ascending system. Either way, it would seem difficult to free your hands to do any work anyway.
Problem is you need both hands on the twisting rope ladder to stay on, and a third hand to run the ascender up the halyard, and maybe a fourth hand to hold the halyard down to allow the ascender to slide up (or weigh the end of rope down). Not really as easy as claimed.
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Old 16-01-2012, 22:02   #18
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

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Originally Posted by TheScarab View Post
no offense guys. i know there's lots of ways to get up and down. some more sophisticated than others.

i'm just wondering if anyone has ever hoisted a ladder of some sort and walked up.

seems like a simple thing to do. just want to know if there's any downside to it i haven't thought of.
Since most sailboat mast range from 30 feet to over 60 feet - try this -
Take a home extension ladder outside and extend it fully and then put it up against a light pole (street light - the small diameter round ones) or a telephone/utility pole. Climb that ladder to the top and most likely the ladder will be wiggling/twisting left and right and probably slide off the pole as you move around on it. Even tying the top of the ladder to the pole will not stop it from twisting and turning as you move around up there.
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Old 16-01-2012, 22:10   #19
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

I am with the Top Climber crew and very happy to be independant of assistance.I take a backup haliyard with me and use a slip knot as a backup.
The feet support of the Top Climber means you can get above the masthead to replace/service wind instruments.
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Old 16-01-2012, 22:20   #20
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

The Top Climber is pretty much same thing as climbers use, but with bosuns chair in place of climbing harness, and two foot loops instead of one. I agree, a good and safe way to go.
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Old 16-01-2012, 22:36   #21
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

I'm too fat and old to be climbing masts. I pay someone better suited to do it.
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Old 16-01-2012, 23:12   #22
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

the best way to get to the top of a mast alone would be an "asender" with special webbing step for that purpose
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Old 16-01-2012, 23:25   #23
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

I've seen this Mast Mate mentioned on this site before:

Mast Mate Home
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Old 16-01-2012, 23:33   #24
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

For the whole ladder needing a third hand thing, they do have solo climbing self belay devices. I personally would use a texas prussic system, as ascenders can chew up ropes and are expensive. There are pre sewn steps to attatch to ascenders, that are not particularly expensive.
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Old 17-01-2012, 00:22   #25
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Haven't figured out how to back up the "down" yet.
I have a spare external halyard for the main with one purchase so half the weight to pull up or to let down. As you climb you secure the pull halyard to a step and so on, if fall you only fall that distance. Make sure you donít let the pull halyard to entangle itself or it become more difficult to come down.

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Originally Posted by TheScarab View Post
just want to know if there's any downside to it i haven't thought of.
I used to have some sort of rope ladder not the best when the boat heel. The best is to integrate the rung with the stays, look at an old ships.
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Old 17-01-2012, 01:00   #26
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Re: Climbing a Mast - Alone

As a former caver I used a prussik system to go up my 47ft mast a few years ago. It damn near wore out this aging body and once on top realized I had to go step by step back down - which was only slighhtly less effort. I recalled that the last time I did it was in my 20's - and even then reacted by installing aluminum rungs.

Last year I borrowed the Mast Mate system and went up several times. It was tiring, but I am not young anymore. Still, I did it several times in one week. The one thing I would wish changed is for the "rungs" to be 2-3 inches closer together. These old knees did not like bending far enough step to step. You have your full weight stretching one loop down while the other, made of fabric and with no load, is far above. But I managed, with effort and an occaisional tug on my toes to fit foot in loop.
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Old 17-01-2012, 18:07   #27
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Re: Climbing a Mast - Alone

I like the mast mate, it looks simple, reliable, and safe. When I do go up for the first time, I will likely opt to prussik up the main halyard, belayed by my second halyard with a couple wraps around the winch and my wife taking up the slack. When I come down, my wife will use the winch to lower me, while I slide the prussik down. The prussik will allow me to climb the mast, with the belay as my backup, then on descent, the belay will be my lowering device, while the prussik becomes the safety backup. I may still find it akward to work at the top, however, and I may buy the Mast-mate with the sound of "I told you to buy one of these in the first place didn't I?" ringing in my ears... (;-)
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Old 17-01-2012, 18:17   #28
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Re: Climbing a Mast - Alone

Here is a Spinlock harness. Would make a good beginning for a do it yourself ascender outfit. Probably not as comfortable as the Mast Climber.

Spinlock Deckware Mast Harness...Use as Bosun's Chair | eBay

Don't think you'll be happy with the Mast Mate especially coming down and trying to get your foot in those strap rungs. You seem hung up something that works like a ladder, though.
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Old 17-01-2012, 21:42   #29
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Re: Climbing a Mast - Alone

Another vote for the ATN Top Climber. I go up the mast day or night solo. Mostly to install antennas and anti-bird monofilament. (OK, so I've olyy come down at night, Haven't acended at night yet.)

I sometimes put a "safety line" on the spinnaker halyard (with a "sliding" knot) and loop it around my torso AND tie it to the Top Climber Chair's chair shackle. If the device broke (both cams at once is not likely), I'd be hanging by the armpits, but I wouldn't go "ahhh...thud". And I set it up so I can reach the sliding knot in that uncomfortable position, if the seat's shackle breaks.

If I don't use a spare halyard, I'll tie that same rope to the mast with a couple of wraps. It's similar protection except for the moment I'm retying after passing the spreaders. Lately I've been doing that instead of using the spi halyard.

So ignoring for a moment the additional protection that makes me more comfortable, the Top Climber is a very safe and easy method to climb the mast AND (big and) you can stand up on the straps to work over the top of the mast.

Regards,
Brad

P.S. I figured out a way to climb the mast without using any halyards. That's for a typical person who is not an acrobat.
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Old 18-01-2012, 02:00   #30
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Re: climbing a mast, alone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
i'm going to make a ladder.

i'll tell you how it goes - if you care.

How to Make a Rope Ladder | eHow.com

In my opinion a rope ladder is a dangerous way to get to the top of the mast. Rope ladders are very unstable, and ending up hanging by your foot (or worse) are not uncommon results. Climbing a rope with ascenders (or jumars) mountain climber style is a much safer method. Hard to explain without seeing it done, but with some training it is pretty easy and safe.

When I was a professional ski patroller, we would practice a week on chair lift rescue with ropes every season. We found from experimentation that rope ladders were not a real option, much to dangerous.

An example:

Don't forget you need to get back down. Can use same method to climb down, or use a belay device.

These techniques have the disadvantage that really need to have someone experienced teach you how. But climbing up a tall mast is something to take seriously. Be careful.[/QUOTE]


2 weeks ago we set up our webbing to use 2 ascenders for climbing a rope, one attached to our feet and one attached to a climbing harness I had . We used our marina neighbor's Top Climber to get the length about right. Then Saturday we were sailing and when taking the sails down one of our battons hooked the port lazyjack line and the bitter end ended half way up the mast at the pully, I got our gear out and within 15 min I was down and the jackline was cleated again and I'm 62 in a month with arthertis . It was very stable with both hands to work with it is like standing up from a chair going up and setting down in a chair going down our harness setup has 2 foot loops with one loop around the climbing rope like the Top Climber, I am looking foward to going up to the top of the mast when the breeze is calmer. My wife is a better climber than me with her own harness from when she taught climbing and rope course. We have no fears of climbing the mast anymore
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