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Climbing Mast

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Had a minor issue that required a quick trip to the top.  No one around to assist on the winch at the weekend.  So thought need to get a system that I can climb up there on my own.  Does anyone use climbing gear to go up the mast on your own.  If so what equipment.  Saw a few examples on Utube, so thought it would be a simple matter of aquiring the right hardware etc so off to the local outdoor adventure store this morning, but told by the two staff memebrs that they were not allowed to advise me on what equipment I required to ascend a static line or advise on its use???  If I came up with a list of gear I wanted they would sell it to me but not provide help, go figure.  So still stuck at the bottom of the mast.  Any ideas on the correct equipment. And tecnique

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Easy enough. You can buy a couple of ascenders, and use big loops for your feet, or you can do it with prussic loops, which works just as well and you can usually find suitable cordage  on board for free. Easiest of all though is the same climbing harness, one prussic on a taut halyard as a safety line and MAST STEPS! :-)

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Goto the rope centre in Henderson, they do heaps of proper industrial rope access gear and can should be able to give you some good advice.


I just picked up a basic singing rock harness, about 200 bucks.

Agree that the aloft alone kit is pretty good value if you price it all up separately.

It's worth have a good practice before you go up the mast so you are completely familiar with the gear.


Oh, and always use a safety line if you can

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To make it cheap and easy....

Get one hand ascender and one chest ascender.

I like tree climbers harnesses but a bosun chair will do.

The chest ascender attaches to the bosun chair with a carabiner.....Then with a piece of shock cord from the top of the chest ascender to the bottom of the hand ascender. (There is attachment holes to suit)

The hand ascender has a web loop that is long enough to reach your feet in a sitting position.

You need to VERY securely attach a halyard at the winch end, and then also either tie of with a small amount of slack the "sail" end or weight it.

Once all put together you will see how it all works. When you push the hand ascender up and raise your feet, it tensions the shock cord. 

When you then stand up in the web loop, the shock cord pulls the chest ascender up the halyard.

You can "back step" to come back down, or you can (a good idea anyway) have a spare halyard lose along side. When you want to come down, attach a fig 8 abesailing loop ($10) and transfer.

You will have to play with relative lengths of the bits. Dont try and be greedy with your upwards rate. About 200mm each movement is usually about right.


In practice a reasonable degree of fitness helps. I use this system all the time on my boat , solo.


When I am working we just (rock) climb the bloody things....the other person just tails the line so you can pause between each upwards movement. Much faster, ...but getting harder as I get older ....



PS...do check your halyard before you commit your life to it...especially that bit that sits on the mast head sheave..Dont use any of the boats rope to sail metal fittings...use a bowline with a half hitch.

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Went with the Aloft Alone kit, when you add up the equipment list, and compare buying items individually, the kit is excellent value.


The instructions that come with the kit are clear and used in conjuction with the instructional videos are clear to follow. I now have a no hassle way of regularly climbing rig solo and safely.

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One thing you might want to consider is the fact that not a lot of sailing cord has the cover attached to the core. This can mean that a lot more of the load is carried by the cover. Climbing ropes on the otherhand tend to advertise 0% sheath slippage which I assume means the cover is attached to the core. Seems to be the case on my old climbing rope when I cut into it to have a look.

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