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Old 15-10-2013, 17:52   #1
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Fall protection

I am wondering what people are using as backup when climbing the mast.
The thing that puzzles me the most is what to do if the main climbing system fails and you are caught by the backup system. My googling brought up a number of backup devices but all of them seem to only be concerned with arresting the fall. That is of course the most important part but if you are alone and are hanging on the backup line, how do you get down? The fall arresters just clamp onto the line when a fall happens and there you are, hanging like a wet noodle stuck at 40 or 50 feet.
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Old 15-10-2013, 18:02   #2
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pirate Re: Fall protection

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Originally Posted by Jd1 View Post
I am wondering what people are using as backup when climbing the mast.
The thing that puzzles me the most is what to do if the main climbing system fails and you are caught by the backup system. My googling brought up a number of backup devices but all of them seem to only be concerned with arresting the fall. That is of course the most important part but if you are alone and are hanging on the backup line, how do you get down? The fall arresters just clamp onto the line when a fall happens and there you are, hanging like a wet noodle stuck at 40 or 50 feet.
If you've any sense the safety line.. eg the spinnaker halyard will be rigged so you can lower yourself to the deck... failing that grab the mast as you swing past... unclip and slide down..
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Old 15-10-2013, 18:04   #3
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Well your hanging out next to a pole. I used to be able to free climb 45 feet. Pretty sure I could get down. Still weird things happen so its a good thought. Some people have had issues with circulation being cut off in climbing rigs and that can cause issues that I don't understand.
Lends some Creedence to mast steps. Not sure if those issues are well reported or factual.
As I age I am thinking mast steps along with my block and tackle.
I can still pull myself up the mast but I think about it like I did not 10 years ago. I think the gravity force is growing stronger.
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Old 15-10-2013, 18:04   #4
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Re: Fall protection

Use 3 line ascenders on two halyards. The halyard that you are climbing has two ascenders on it. The safety has just one on its halyard. As you go up the main line you slide the safety along it's halyard. In the event of a failure you will be hanging by your safety, now transfer your main ascender to the remaining halyard and head on down. Nothing to it other than cleaning out your dirty under shorts caused by the unexpected but hopefully very short fall.
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Old 15-10-2013, 18:06   #5
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Re: Fall protection

Life Insurance?
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Old 15-10-2013, 18:34   #6
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Re: Fall protection

I never finished this editing this post, but here it is anyway; a list of ways folks have made (or nearly) the Darwin list climbing the mast. No, none of these are my mistakes and I always have a back-up line and descending gear. Even when getting stuck is not deadly, it's embarrassing... because it could have been deadly and you got lucky.

Sail Delmarva: Falling From the Masthead: a Catalog of Methods

If you know of other good real-life examples, please add to the thread.
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Old 15-10-2013, 18:52   #7
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I really am thinking that tackle and mast steps is a good redundant system. Not for everyone surely. I can free climb to the first spreaders. Probably the second with a break. So I'm reasonable in my trust that I can manage with my rig and its setup. I am not a climber so I give way to those that are. Just saying that a good 3 to one block rig works pretty well and I guess the failure rate is low. Mast steps with the tackle would be an admission of my age and lack of desire to get new gear, the lack of understanding of stair climbers and some of the finer climbing gear. Not encouraging or advising anyone to use my ideas. When I am working aloft I am trying to focus on simple tasks. I am too dumb to deal with to many lines. I want easy choices and things I really trust. You might maybe talk me out of this point of view .
Depends how comfortable you are up at the top.
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Old 15-10-2013, 22:35   #8
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Re: Fall protection

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I never finished this editing this post, but here it is anyway; a list of ways folks have made (or nearly) the Darwin list climbing the mast. No, none of these are my mistakes and I always have a back-up line and descending gear. Even when getting stuck is not deadly, it's embarrassing... because it could have been deadly and you got lucky.

Sail Delmarva: Falling From the Masthead: a Catalog of Methods
From your catalog of methods: Rope jammed, could not lower .... that is exactly what I am worried about. If I am by myself and have an issue with the primary climbing system then I want a backup. If the backup prevents me falling that is great but if I hang up there for an hour or so before somebody sees me in trouble then I will have other issues.

I should add that my primary means to go up is a 5:1 ratcheting pulley system so no spare parts to transfer to the backup line nor am I likely to be able to transfer anything even if I had it because I would most likely be frozen from panic (I am not a climber). I am also not in a physical condition to lift all of my 250 lbs ... even with the adrenalin going. The only thing that I see as practical would be some device that allows belaying after it arrests the fall but I have not seen such a device yet.
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Old 15-10-2013, 22:59   #9
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Re: Fall protection

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From your catalog of methods: Rope jammed, could not lower .... that is exactly what I am worried about. If I am by myself and have an issue with the primary climbing system then I want a backup. If the backup prevents me falling that is great but if I hang up there for an hour or so before somebody sees me in trouble then I will have other issues.

I should add that my primary means to go up is a 5:1 ratcheting pulley system so no spare parts to transfer to the backup line nor am I likely to be able to transfer anything even if I had it because I would most likely be frozen from panic (I am not a climber). I am also not in a physical condition to lift all of my 250 lbs ... even with the adrenalin going. The only thing that I see as practical would be some device that allows belaying after it arrests the fall but I have not seen such a device yet.
Such a device is a Petzl Grigri, it can be slid up the second safety halyard as you go up, will lock on a fall, or if you need a rest or to work etc, and can be used for a controlled descent. To descend, the locking cam is freed by a lever, and descent is controlled by friction of the halyard around the device. Some people misuse the device by using the lever to control friction. Read the instructions carefully.

The device can be made more safe from operator error by use of a Petzl Freino carabiner to connect the grigri to your harness. This carabiner is designed to team up with the grigri and other Petzl devices. Instructions for all these devices are on the petzl site.

I think use of a second halyard as backup safety is excellent, even if someone else is there to winch you up. I also favour a harness over a bosuns chair. While relatively expensive, a proper industrial harness is designed to support you all day, without discomfort.

Lee
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Old 15-10-2013, 23:12   #10
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Re: Fall protection

Thanks Lee, I will look into the two Petzl devices you mentioned!
I had planned on getting a climbing harness rather than a bosuns chair or an industrial harness.

Edit: had a look-see and the grigri, the way I understand it's operation (and I am not a climber so I may very well be wrong), is not suitable for fall arresting. It is strictly a belay device and requires two hands for operation. Not something that you can just hook to a second halyard and ignore until brown stuff hits the fan. A normal fall arrestor will travel with you on the second line and requires no tending at all and locking up only when there is a fall. The Petzl I'D S might be the right thing but I have insufficient knowlidge to ascertain this for sure.
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Old 15-10-2013, 23:33   #11
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Re: Fall protection

+1 on the Grigri. Much more elegant descending than with two ascenders.
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Old 15-10-2013, 23:35   #12
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Re: Fall protection

A few further thoughts. A climbing harness is lighter and cheaper than a fully padded industrial harness, but generally will not be as comfortable for long periods of suspension. Whatever you get, make sure it fits, that your thigh and waist measurements are preferably in the mid range of adjustment of the harness that you buy. Harnesses are mostly sold in size ranges, not one size fits all, as in the old days.

The GriGri is designed for a specific rope size, 9-13mm from recollection. suggest check the instructions and your halyard size for compatability before purchase.

Ebay stores mostly sell this gear at a significant discount.

Lee
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Old 15-10-2013, 23:56   #13
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Re: Fall protection

Just read your edit.

In climbing terms, a fall means something significant. Here we are talking a bit of a slip.The trick is to keep your tether between harness and grigri as short as possible, so that if you do fall it will only be a foot or so, before the grigri grips.. The grigri will handle that no problem.

If you want the rolls royce system, use one of the locking devices you mention on your backup halyard, and have a grigri clipped to your harness to use for descent. You will find the technique described and illustrated on the Petzl site under something like "solo two rope ascent".

Oh, and your tethers should be climbing grade tape, with appropriate knots. don't ruin a good setup with a weak link.

Lee

Edit...I have just gone back and read the manual, always useful. It is designed to take a significant fall. One of its uses is in belaying a lead climber....if he takes a fall the force is transmitted to the grigri. I also checked the rope dimensions, its 9-11mm not 9-13 as I recalled above.
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Old 16-10-2013, 01:27   #14
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A few further thoughts. A climbing harness is lighter and cheaper than a fully padded industrial harness, but generally will not be as comfortable for long periods of suspension. Whatever you get, make sure it fits, that your thigh and waist measurements are preferably in the mid range of adjustment of the harness that you buy. Harnesses are mostly sold in size ranges, not one size fits all, as in the old days. The GriGri is designed for a specific rope size, 9-13mm from recollection. suggest check the instructions and your halyard size for compatability before purchase. Ebay stores mostly sell this gear at a significant discount. Lee
There are many different styles of climbing harness. If you just go get one of the fingertip clawing sport harness, then it will be uncomfortable. But if you go get a nice big wall climbing harness, it's padded and very comfy. When it's multiple days on the climb, comfort is king...

Industrial harnesses are terrible. We just upgraded ours at work to CMC's latest and greatest, and I'd take my Swami wall harness every time (if OSHA would let me). Coincidentally I just finished a week long training (on Friday) that had us in them more often than not, and suspended for "extended periods of time" so the pinchy feelings are fresh in my mind.

Just throw a prusik on a spare halyard and call it good. Two if you want an easy alternate way to descend. Cheaper than any mechanical device and easier to use.

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Old 16-10-2013, 03:00   #15
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Re: Fall protection

On your safety Halyard tie a climbers knot. It is a modified Purrsit ? I would describe it but not very good at doing such. Have used this knot for 40 plus yrs never a problem. Can't jam and wont slip when wet.
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