I rely on an Petzl ASAP fall arrest device on a back up rope
as my main protection, but with a few extra things I also have solo climb and descend gear
. This is what I do:
For back up ropes I use two halyards to pull up a 60m long mountaineering rope
doubled with the centre fold secured to the deck
. One rope serves as the ascending rope and the other to descend. I use two lengths as transferring from the ascenders to the descender is extremely hard when the rope is tight, such as when you are hanging off it.
When working with help and using the bosun's chair, I use just one of the back up ropes to run a fall arrest device on (and hoist one end only). When working solo, I use both ends of the mountaineering rope. One to climb and the other to descend. I run the fall arrest device on the descend rope when climbing and when descending I switch the fall arrest device to the ascend rope and fit the descender onto the descend rope.
Kit list includes. An ASAP fall arrest device with shock bungee. A handle grip rope ascender and a Croll chest ascender with a shoulder strap. A Petzl I'D S descender. Petzl foot straps. Multiple caribiners and slings. One sling is used to support my back around the mast
when working for a long time at the top.
The ASAP works really well. It slides nicely up and down and you can forget it is there. The problem with a prussic is you will constantly have to adjust it. There are other devices out there too, which look better and cheaper. I just bought the brand. No regrets.
A mountaineering dynamic rope of the correct thickness ideally should be used as it is designed for the job. I used a Mammut semi-static 10.5mm rope. A dynamic might be better though. It also needs to be chosen to grip the fall arrest device and the ascender correctly so be the correct thickness and construction. None of my halyards were the correct spec.
For a harness I started with a mountaineering harness, but stopped using it as it hurt too much. They are designed to just hold you in emergency
. If working in your harness or climbing then you need more support and I got a spinlock harness. Still not comfortable enough, so the next step us is probably an arborists harness or rope access work/rope work harness. A full body harness seems best.
If you don't plan to climb or descend and just to use the back up rope with a fall arrest device on then I would just get a cheap
mountaineering harness to supplement the bosun's chair. That way there is complete redundancy at all points of failure.
It's hard work to climb up alone, but if fall protection is the priority it is the way to go as it eliminates a major failure mode of the guy on the winch
. Though that does assume you don't make mistakes