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Thread: ATN Topclimber - Tips and experiences?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Now cruising in the SUN! In Malta.

    Default ATN Topclimber - Tips and experiences?

    I have recently been using my ATN Topclimber a lot for some jobs at the top of my mast. I would be happy to hear of your experiences and some of your tips on using this solo mast climbing piece of equipment.

    Here are some points / tips of mine:

    1) I was not happy with the supplied Topclimber harness, have substituted it for a Helly Hansen bosun chair with shoulder straps, more comfortable seat as well as a side pocket and a tool holder.

    2) I was also not at all happy with the supplied chain on the upper section, it would only allow me to raise myself by 15cm with each stand-up! As the maximum amount you can actually raise yourself on the halyard is the height your legs can produce you want the top chain / strap to be of that length. I am using a double rope adjusted to my situation, resulting in that I can now raise now by 30 - 40cm with every stand-up.

    3) I always wear long trousers - the mast can be dirty and has sharp points. Also make sure you have knee pockets with velcro closure, typically side pockets in your trousers could well be unaccessable in the seat / bosun chair. And don't forget to put a hanky in that knee pocket - I speak of experience!

    4) When I reach the top of my mast and the top rope brake is at its highest position on the halyard I am still too low to reach the top of the mast. I have added another short rope which is affixed to the shackle of the top rope brake and which, after I stand up and attach it securely to my my bosun chain, allows me to raise myself even further.

    5) My cat has two fixed backstays and a topping lift all conversing at the top of the mast. To gain some space up there I swing the boom to one side, another possibility would of course be to loosen the topping lift.

    6) In order not to swing around the mast when climbing / lowering yourself and to stay close to the mast I attach a short line from my bosun chain to the highest of my batten cars and pull it up and down with me.

    7) I am not too happy with the foot loops, they seem to slip off my shoes a lot. Have tried tying them around my ankles with string, changed shoes - still not happy. Climbing boots with a rough sole could be an answer ?!

    8) A WARNING: The Topclimber comes with two rope brake fittings through which one threads the halyard rope. The bottom rope securing bolt of these rope brakes have a bolt which is only pushed into place and is NOT secured by a split pin - I noticed that my bottom rope brake's bolt was loose 5m up the mast!

    I look to the future, because that's where I am going to spend the rest of my life - George Burns

  2. #2

    Default Re: ATN Topclimber - Tips and experiences?

    I have done literally miles using asenders in the mountains. They are all you have climbing a rope, but they are not the best way, IMHO. I agree with the OP's points. I dislike that it does not give a good bracing point for the feet.

    I have a Mast Mate and am happy with it. Much faster, only a minute to the top. I do wish the rungs were a little closer together. Wearing high-grip (Atlas Fit) gloves helps. I use a single assender on a fixed line as a belay.

    I use a climbing harness, but a bosuns chair might be an improvement.
    "When I was a boy, what was so was so, what was not was not. Now I am a man, things have changed a lot. Some things nearly so, some things nearly not. Is a puzzlement."

    The King of Siam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Southern Chesapeake

    Default Re: ATN Topclimber - Tips and experiences?

    Quote Originally Posted by multihullsailor6 View Post
    I have recently been using my ATN Topclimber a lot for some jobs at the top of my mast. I would be happy to hear of your experiences and some of your tips on using this solo mast climbing piece of equipment.

    I have used a Topclimber maybe 4 or 5 years now, and like it quite a bit.

    #2. I'm not sure what chain you are talking about.Mine has none. I can achieve "steps" as far as my legs can reach. Biggest trouble I have in this regard is on descending, if I lower the footstrap ascender too far, I may not be ableto raise my butt enough to take the load off the seat ascender

    #4. Maybe ours are different, but the strap connecting seat to top ascender has a "shortening" hook or carabiner for when youget to the top.

    #6. Good idea. I take a loop around the mast, which of course has to be disconnected and reconnected at each spreader or whatnot, which is inconvenient, but those interruptions would be appreciated if my topclimber failed and I started on a quick trip down!

    #7. Not a problem for me. Maybe you could stitch the loops a little smaller?

    #8. Don't remember this issue. Will check mine to see. BTW I don't use my halyard, but another line raised by the halyard.

    I have read that on someone's TC, cycling during operation unscrewed the shackle pin attaching the strap to the ascender. I think there is a right way and a wrong way to put the shackle on. In other words the shackle had been removed and flipped over before reattaching. Or put on backwards at factory.

    It's important to pay attention to this gear. My attention was sharpened after my previous rig dropped me. Fortunately, I'd gone up only about 3 feet. So I take it seriously. For that reason, I would be very very reluctant to lend my TC to anyone. Both for me and for him.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Great South Bay, Long Island, NY USA

    Default Re: ATN Topclimber - Tips and experiences?


    I purchased a Mast Mate & Work belt this winter, but have not used it yet.

    Do you (are any other forum members) have any tips (or "watch outs") for using it?


    BTW, I should have posted this earlier. I guess because sales are slow in the winter months, Mast Mate sells on eBay. He puts up different sizes at different times--just keep looking. I actually bought one a little longer than I needed, but the price with work belt was around $80-$100 USD less than the list price of the Mast Mate alone and included shipping. No one bid against me.
    "People sail for fun and no one has yet convinced me that it's more fun to go slow than it is to go fast." -- Dick Newick

  5. #5

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