There is a ladder made from webbing which is manufactured both in the UK and the USA. It is hoisted up the mainsail track and can be supplied with slides to match most masts. It is a simple matter to hoist this ladder then climb it. I have used one often, but prefer to have the back up of a harness attached to a halliard as well.
Perhaps someone could post the web addresses for those sites.
I bought a clever little gismo from a climbing shop which you can attatch to the bosuns chair or a harness. You tie off a halyard tight from top to bottom and this gismo slides up the rope manually but if you fall it jams. You could use it to climb with but I use a flexible mast ladder and this thing is my back up.
From the replies one might think that one is on the wrong forum. But seriously there is a gadget that uses climbing type sliders. Perhaps you could get one made for yourself. It is a project I intend to try. Look at www.atninc.com/topclimber.html. Makes things look easy.
Going aloft on a simple bosuns chair is no easy task and is best done with a triple block and tackle with the blocks in tandem. However the last bit, the mast top, which is often the objective is often unatainable. This gadget gets there [so they say].
As someone's already said, there are US and UK suppliers of webbing ladders. I bought mine in the UK from Hurst Marine (01245 258420) who were very helpful and tailored a ladder to my requirements. It's reassuringly strong, easy to use, and much less daunting than these funny climbers' devices which keep getting mentioned. Ideally, it should always be used with a safety line to a harness.
Westaway Sails Erme Bridge Ivybridge Devon PL21 9DU Tel: 01752 892560 do an Easy-Climb. Fitted with slides to suit mainsail luff groove and hoisted on main halyard. 30ft £116.32 to 45 ft £155.10 or special order.
I've only got a fairly short (6m) mast, but successfully climbed it by tying loops about every foot into a long length of rope, hoisting this to the masthead with the foot secured to the deck so it can be pulled taught and then climbing the loops. You need firm soled shoes to avoid the rope loops hurting your feet. I also used a prussic knot on a second halyard in case I slipped - does the same job as the climbers gadgets that have been mentioned.
I have a 15m mast, and climb it on my own using my caving gear. This kit is identical to that used in commercial vertical access work (or rather they use kit designed originally for caving). The techniques are bit different to those used by climbers (ie much better).
It is a safe and relatively painless approach, but requires a little bit of practice hanging from a tree beforehand. A basic set of gear would cost approx 120 quid. Rather than try and elaborate, I suggest you bought a book on SRT (Single Rope Technique), or try:
Greetings; Two products available in the States, but probably to you as well in this net-small world are the Mast Climber( http://atn.inc), and the Mastlift ( www.swiss-tech.com). I own the ATN gear. Terrific! Good luck. Michael( on the Delaware at Riverton, NJ)
IMichael Please could you confirm the web address for the mast climber I cannot get through. The Mastlift looks great but is a bit pricey and I would like to see info
on the Mast Climber. Thanks