It's already too hot in Houston. I started climbing the mast at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and for every inch of progress I made, I was sweatily sliding back down two inches. It was evident I was not going to make it up without help.
I tied a loop in a second halyard for my foot. I then slowly made my way up the mast by standing in the loop, having my belayer take up the slack in my harness line, then sitting in my harness while she raised the line for my foot. I'd then stand back up in the raised halyard, and the whole system would repeat. This is pretty much the way you'd climb a single rope with prusik knots or ascenders, but by using two halyards there was no additional equipment necessary.
By the time I made it to the top, the sweat was burning so thick in my eyes, I could barely see, but I set to work dremeling the last screw off the anchor light fixture. Then it was quite the task to get the old bulb out of the fixture. It had corroded into place as well.
I had bought LED bulbs for the mast lights hoping they would last longer, but when I tested the anchor light I found one of the LEDs was already dead, so I pulled it back out and went with another regular bulb.
I also remembered to put some cheap line in the empty halyard and topping lift blocks, so that when I can afford the new halyards, I'll just have to tie them on and pull them up instead of making another climb.
Let's hope it's the last time up the mast for at least another year.