How to Make a Bachar Ladder


A Bachar ladder is a training aid for rock climbers named for the late John Bachar. The Bachar ladder is basically a rope ladder using wooden rungs. The ladder is suspended from a tree or other support. The lower end of the ladder is anchored out away from the top, giving it an arc, and the ladder is then climbed from the underside. Training regimens might include climbing the ladder without using the feet and skipping rungs to practice high reaches. Bachar ladders are often made from retired climbing ropes, although static line works better. A rope diameter of 9mm to 11mm is best.

Cut the dowels into 14- to 16-inch long sections.

Drill a hole one inch in from each end of the dowel, perpendicular to its length. The holes on each end of the dowel should be in the same plane.


rock climbing image by Steve Lovegrove from

Find the middle of the rope. Eighteen inches from the rope’s middle, on each side, tie an overhand knot.

Sliding the rope ends through the holes in a dowel, slide the dowel all the way onto the rope, until it butts against the overhand knots.

Tie a second set of knots, parallel to each other, approximately 16 inches above the first knots. The distance between knots is personal preference; taller people might prefer more distance, and those seeking less of a challenge should space the knots closer.

Slide another rung onto the rope in the same manner as the first. Continue tying knots and attaching rungs in this manner.


rock climbing image by Steve Lovegrove from

Tie a figure eight knot on each end, two feet above the final rung. The figure eight loops will be used to anchor the Bachar ladder at the top.


Leave the rungs in a raw, unfinished state. Painting or otherwise finishing the rungs will make them slippery.

1½- inch PVC or ABS pipe can be substituted for the wooden dowels.

Always have a spotter when training with a Bachar ladder. Having a crash pad below is a good idea as well.