Join Date: Jun 2007
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Re: Opinions: What do YOU think is the best method of climbing your mast
I researched this multiple times and finally settled on tree climbing equipment and techniques. I reasoned that tree climbers really know climbing and a mast is more like a tree than a rock (wall) or cave.
Arborist's saddle (New Tribe has nice ones for fair prices) with a bag, appropriate length of arborist climbing rope (I chose Tachyon), a suitable semi-automatic belaying device (I'm getting an Edelrid Eddy), a hand ascender (I like the Heightec Pulsar), a micro-pully (I bought a CMI), some carabiners (I like DMM Ultra-O Locksafe), a Petlz CARITOOL (for hanging misc stuff off of) and a few feet of any old double-braid with which to make a pair of foot loops. Learn Single Rope Technique (SRT) for tree climbing.
I've been practicing on trees using the doubled rope technique (DRT) with a Blake's hitch and a Prussik hitch. That's a lot of work, tho. I'm not going to try to go up the mast until I get my belay device and hand ascender. Then I'll use Single Rope Technique (SRT) by hauling my climbing rope up the mast with the main halyard.
I'll be able to do it single-handed, if need be, but normally I'll have somebody manning a safety line. (One of the jib halyards.)
Even if you want to do the somebody-grinding-you-up-the-mast route, I'd still go with an arborist's saddle over a traditional bosun's chair. Much more secure. I would not recommend most rock harnesses. Arborist's saddles are much more comfortable for long hang times.
Btw: With arborist's SRT you can do a "hybrid" kind of a thing. E.g.: You can either climb or be cranked up. You can either descend on the belaying device or be lowered.