Although not a guide or climbing expert, I am an active climber (mostly ice climbing). A few thoughts:
- I have never seen professional mast climbers, but if they are bringing a few hundred feet of rope and pulleys, etc, it is just to make it quciker / easier for them, and perhaps so they don't rely as much on the clients halyards to ascend the mast.
- static (low stretch) vs dynamic ropes. You can't say one is better that the other. they are for different applications. Dynamic ropes are used for most rock / ice climbing, as there is a possiblilty (all of the time when lead climbing) of introducing many feet of slack in the rope, which is intended to catch the climber if he falls. You want a soft catch, which doesn't put too much force on you, your harness or your gear that is placed in the rock or ice (to hold the fall). Static rope would be very bad for that type of climbing!! However, for aid climbers, or cavers, who are not using the rope to catch falls with lots of slack - instead they mechanically ascend the ropes, never allowing more than a couple of inches of slack, the static ropes can be preferable, as they don't bounce each time you try to ascend upwards.
That said - I would recommend for you to not buy any rope at all, if your halyards are in good shape , or just buy one dynamic climbing rope, to be hoisted up on a good halyard, and used as a safety line. I personally just use a spare halyard as a safety line. It is NOT dynamic - however, I am careful not to allow more than a foot or so of slack in the line.
I would 1st recommend you visit, or call a reputable climbing store, such as Mountain equipment coop (MEC) in Canada, or similar in the States. Ask to tak to a climber sales rep. Better if you can go in person.
There was another thread a couple weeks ago, about using ladders to climb, where I posted a few comments as well.
What I do :
- I use a climbing harness (combined withs a ad'hoc chest harness made from a few loops of climbing slings / sewn webbing.
- I attach a mechanical ascender through my harness and chest harness to hold my weight to the main halyard.
- I attach a loop of smaller diameter line (approx 3-4 ft, when doubled / tied together with a tripple fisherman's knot) to the main halyard, with a Kliemheist knot, just below where the harness ascender is attached. You can also use another ascender here, but the knot is cheaper!! Put your foot in the end of the loop!
- I tie another short loop of line to a spare halyard, with a prussik knot, that also attaches to my harness - this is the saftey that will catch me, if something happens to the main halyard or ascender.
- Stand up on the foot loop, as you steady your body (keep vertical) by holding one hand high on the main halyard.
- Slide harness ascender up as high as possible.
- Sit / put weight on harness acender.
- Slide safety line / prussik knot up the spare halyard.
- repeat above steps, and you will ascend, about a foot or two at a time.
When I get to the top, I attach another saftey tether to something strong at tope of mast. Compete the work I am there for.
- personally, I am used to rapelling, so I switch to rappel, on one of the lines / hayards, but rapelling ,or changing from climbing to rapelling is one of the most dangerous apsects of climbing, so..
I would suggest instead, to just decend on the fixed line, similar to the way you came up., ie
- Take off Kleimheist knot and attach above ascender (it was below ascender).
- Slide safety line / prussik knot down 1 ft.
- Use foot loop, and one hand high on mast / halyard to stand up, taking weight off of harness ascender.
- move harness ascender down 1ft.
- sit / put weight on ascender.
- move foot loop / Kleimheist knot down 1 ft
- repeat, and you will desend 1 ft at a time.
Of course, seeking professional climbing instruction would be prudent. You should then practise this hanging from a rafter in garage, or swingset / tree limb, etc, until you are confortable ascending 5 ft or so, then coming back down.
Same at boat, ascend a few feet, then switch and decend back down.
Always use a safety line.
Have another person attach yet another halyard to you, and another saftey line, and have them do three /founr warps around a winch, and loosely around a cleat. They pull in line as you go up, and slowly pay line out as you decend.
Ask climbing store which asenders are best / safest / easiest to use for both ascending and then desending ropes.
Perhaps there is a caver or aid climber amongst the group who can recommend specific ascenders. my gear is older and not purchased specifially for mast climbing, but I use it as it works fine.
Hope that helps. here's a few links to different style asenders.
go to youtubem, and search for asend rope, climbing rope, etc. there are a few videos, that at least show the process.
Black Diamond nForce Ascender - Mountain Equipment Co-op
Petzl Shunt Rope Clamp - Mountain Equipment Co-op
Petzl Mini Traxion Pulley - Mountain Equipment Co-op
Petzl Croll Ascender - Mountain Equipment Co-op