I have been up the mast 4-5 times in the last year, with another planned ascent in the works. I go solo, using mountain climbing gear similar tot he ATN Topclimber. I wear a climbing harness and have that connected to a Gibbs ascender. I also have two loops of slightly different lengths of webbing attached to a separate ascender, below the first one. I use this set up to climb my main halyard, while using a third ascender attached to me with nylon webbing on the headsail halyard. This is my safety line. I also have a sling that runs around the mast to hold me in and to stop a rapid fall from above the spreaders. Although I am alone when doing this, my wife knows to call and check on me once in a while. I also have my cell phone with me ready to call 911 if I can still dial after falling. Lastly, I leave all my tools on the deck in a cloth carryall attached to a line that is also attached to my harness. Once I get aloft, I bring up the tools and parts. Before decending I send them back down.
I'm not too sure of the cost of my equipment since I got the ascenders for free. Probably several hundred dollars.
Be safe up there, Bill
Odyssey, '79 CSY 44 Cutter
Channel Islands, CA
"There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage."