Mast climbing should be carefully performed with an utmost emphasis on safety! Each component of your gear should be looked over with scrutiny to make sure everything is in perfect working order. If anything is questionable, don't hang your life on it.
While climbing the mast on the Islander 36 that I am converting to synthetic standing rigging, I noticed that the main halyard is not properly spliced. Instead, the halyard is looped back and stitched together with whipping twine. I was not about to hang my entire life on a questionable halyard termination, so instead I eliminated the weak link from the equation.
I removed the shackle from the halyard and tied the whole halyard through the gantline block with a secure bowline. This will ensure that the strength of the connection is as strong as a good condition New England Ropes Sta-Set rope, rather than as strong as a whipping twine.
Once back on the deck, the halyard was untied and the shackle replaced into the halyard. This way, nothing was altered on the clients yacht and my personal safety was never hanging by a whipping twine.
Going up a mast carries inherent risks, most due to falling. By carefully inspecting every part of your gear before you climb, you can make the climb and controlled descent as safe as possible. Be sure to inspect everything each time, as your own gear will break down over time and catching any weak links early is critical to your longevity.