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Picture of Rope ladder
We do geocaching with family and friends and sometimes it's really hard to get someone somewhere high or low and rope ladder comes quite handy. This instructable is about our first one made only from two ropes as we had plenty of ropes around ;)

Safety first, so adult person with common sense should be involved during usage of this ladder. Placing this kind of ladder against sharp edges or hot objects could cause serious injuries as a result of fall from destroyed ladder. Please stay safe and consider backup belay.

(Quality of photos is really poor. It's because my digital camera was always somewhere else than I was. Sorry for that.)

Step 1: Ideas and expectations

Picture of Ideas and expectations
This ladder should have:
- eye at the top for hanging
- two tails at the bottom for tactical usage
- width for one foot
- height as long as possible :) lets say 7 meters 
- reasonable weight
- eye is crucial and needs protection (rope thimble)
- rungs are made from rope
- knots are under rungs only

GrissleFist6 years ago
This is really cool but I have one question. If you use it to climb a tree, how do you get it in the tree in the first place?
Now A days, You can buy a leader for climb a tree
rinkishimo (author)  GrissleFist6 years ago

thanks for good question ;) in fact it's simple. all you need is thin cord, static rope and tennis ball (or short stick). tie ball to the end of thin cord and throw it over high and huge branch. then tie ends of cord and rope together and pull cord in order to get rope over branch. tie the end of rope to the eye of ladder (use eight-figure knot) and use rope to get ladder high. finally wind rope around the tree trunk (at least five times) and tie knot to fix it on place.

i usually add small pulley to the rope/eye connection for standard 'top rope' belay.
vincent75206 years ago
Nice !
But you climb it the wrong way. Nothing to worry about as long as you wear the shoes with strong heels that will prevent your foot to sleep from the rung.
Nonetheless beware ! If you ever climb with sneakers or this kind of low heel shoes they may well slip from the rung leaving you in a precarious situation.
Watch how trapeze artists, other gymnasts, mountain climbers and speleologists climb up the same type of ladder : they do it sideways, the ladder running between their legs, one foot on one side (end of foot) the other via the heel. This has great advantages : 1) it is safe, 2) it is very stable as the weight is distributed on either side of the ladder at all time, 3) hence it is not tiring : you do not have to hold on the ladder with you arms as you do when climbing the ladder facing you since the weight of your body makes the ladder swing off from your feet. I guess that your heel first would be an answer tho the latter problem, however it involves a lot of twist an unnatural posture that may well lead to mishap. Of course the tree prevents you from swinging that much, thus making it a safer climb (or so I guess) but not that safe !…
Try the "trapeze style climbing" : I learned it when I practiced trapeze a long time ago … Since then I would never climb an other way. And each time I watch people climbing the "wrong" way I see them progressing very slowly and panting their lungs out after three meters !…

Happy tree climbing (spring is here !…)
Be safe.

And thank you agains for posting : very nice instructable about the ladder !
rinkishimo (author)  vincent75206 years ago
hi vincent7520,

many thanks for your comment. my 'technique' was based on three words which friend of my friend told him: 'use your heels!' :D i've never seen somebody around use this kind of ladder without getting feet over head, so it was quite good advise as i was able to climb. now i've checked your trapez artists method and if you mean something like

then it seems a lot better. really appreciate your advise and next time i give it a try ;)
Yep !… that's the one !…
Try it and you'll never go back to another way of climbing !!…
Have fun !…
rf vincent75206 years ago
Do you think your technique will work okay with the ladder against a tree?
vincent7520 rf6 years ago
Ah ! That's a good question !… I would give it a try anyway.
Maybe you should offset it a little bit.
Anyway you'll always have to adapt in a changing situation.
rinkishimo (author)  vincent75206 years ago
i gave it a try during the last weekend and it worked 8D
maybe i had a little strange feeling at the beginning, but after a while it was ok.
thanks ;)
I'm glad I helped !…
I made many comments on inst' but never had a chance to post anything that I found worth it. So it's great my comment helped you : albeit minimal it is a contribution.
Have fun !…
rinkishimo (author)  rf6 years ago
hi rf,

i'm not sure what exactly do you mean. if it is about my climbing technique than as vincent7520 said it's definitelly wrong :D see his post for more info...
rf rinkishimo6 years ago
My mistake. I meant to say that Vincent's technique may not work against the tree. All of the examples of his technique that I could find show free-standing rope ladders, with nothing in the way ... like the tree.
that's the way ninjas do it too.
Sure is a better endorsement than mine !!! ;))
dsweitzer6 years ago
Beautiful project….
To be cheaper & faster (& uglier) I wonder how practical it would be to use lengths of old garden hose for the outer layer of the rungs instead of winding rope around rope? (So the weight would still be on 4 horizontal ropes, but run them through strips of hose and tie off the ends).
rinkishimo (author)  dsweitzer6 years ago
hi dsweitzer,

thanks for comment. garden hose was one of considered alternatives (still on our whiteboard ;)), but in my opinion it has more cons: 1) knot of four horizontal ropes must be outside of hose or they must be sew together 2) ends of hose are too weak, they spread and rung will go over supporting knot 3) old garden hose gets brittle 4) it's uggly :D. another alternative was polypropylene pipes, but they are fragile if cold and also they are rough to main ropes...
This is really helpful and Professionally you explained.
fillon12 years ago

Good tutorial. Do you think I could make one with paracords?

rinkishimo (author)  fillon12 years ago
hi fillon,
although paracord is strong enough, i think there would be some other issues using it. 1) paracord is elastic with elongation of 30%. 2) paracord is only 3-4 mm in diameter, so weaving rungs would need maybe twice more paracord than reep rope and i'm not sure rungs will be stiff enough. i don't use paracord as i have plenty of reep and static ropes around. maybe you could do some tests before doing whole ladder. try to hang paracord loop and step into it. you will see how elasticity works. also weaving of one rung can give you good example if it works. good luck and please let us know how it works with paracord.
Tank you very much rinkishimo for your reply. I might try it or just use the ropes you suggested. It's true paracord is thin and rather elastic. I hadn't thought of that. Thanks again. :)
edvanntta6 years ago
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georion6 years ago
why are your feet on the "wrong" side of the ladder in the picture(you just posing and not climbing,,seems awkward and dangerous to me. what am i missing ???
rinkishimo (author)  georion6 years ago
hi georion,
you just can't climb rope ladder (without fixed bottom) way you climb standard ladder. my technique is not ideal, but usable. right technique is described in vincent7520's posts. you can see it here:
eUser99996 years ago
Excellent instructable. I like the jig you created for tying the rungs. I've tied a few rope ladders from one strand of rope using this method (see image). If you do a google image search on "rope ladder" eventually you'll find this... but I've always had trouble getting the rungs to be uniform, I'll definitely use your jig method to make it better. Cheers!
kkreitman6 years ago
there is a way to do this with one piece of rope and no ring, as illustrated in this video:
rinkishimo (author)  kkreitman6 years ago
hi kkreitman,

thanks for pointing this video out. i've seen this one-rope ladder (and few others ;)) before i started. particular this tying technique is really rope consuming (i tried it) and replacing damaged/chafed rung is complicated. not saying that broken/torn rung means broken ladder in this case. i tried to develope ladder that is makeable from rope pieces i had around. for example for rungs you don't need one long rope and you can use left overs like i did - see two colors of rungs (as light golden rope was enough for 5 meter ladder only). anyway this one-rope ladder is nice piece of work and if i'd go for shorter ladder, this instructable wouldn't exist ;)
vincent75206 years ago

Pictures quality if not excellent, but good enough for a good instructable !!!…