What is a Bachar Ladder?
Created by free-soloist John Bachar, a Bachar ladder is a rope ladder that is used for climbing training. Similar to a campus board, a Bachar ladder trains upper body strength, though forces stability training as well because it is only connected via rope, thus is not static.
I made my own Bachar ladder the other day with some direction from previously-made ladders as well as adding my own touch:
- 7 feet of 1′ schedule PVC pipe
- 30 feet used climbing rope, or some sort of rope that can hold a lot of weight.
- medium grit sandpaper
- 1/2 inch drill bit (and electric drill)
- at least 2 (heavy duty) locking carabiners
- measuring tape
- sharpie (or some sort of writing utensil)
1) Cut your PVC pipe into 9 9-inch rungs. They may be a tad bigger if you’d like, but make sure they are all the same length.
2) Using your sandpaper, sand down each PVC rung. This gets a bit tedious, so grab a beer or something to distract you. Sanding down the PVC pipe makes it easier to grip as well as grabs the chalk off your hand.
3) This step is the most difficult: Use your measuring tape to make a dot on your PVC pipe 5/8 of an inch from the end with your sharpie. Drill a 1/2 inch hole through your PVC pipe 5/8 of an inch from the end. Do this on both sides of the pipe, but MAKE SURE they are EVEN. You want the holes to be parallel to one another. Because I do not have an awesome wood/drill shop in my garage, I rigged up a way of holding my PVC pipe still with a wagon and a stiff branch. (See picture below)
4) Fold your rope in half and make a figure-8 knot at the top so it makes a small loop (Big enough for a carabiner or 2). Place it under a stool or chair…or something you have laying around that will hold the end of the rope.
5) You want the rungs to be approximately 12 inches apart (or more if you’re a beast) so go ahead and slip that first PVC pipe onto the rope, each rope in one of the holes you drilled in the pipe. Slide it up all the way to about 1 foot and tie a figure-8 knot below the rung on each sides so that the rung rests on the knots. These are the best knots to use because they are easy to undo.
**This process takes awhile to tighten and loosen both knots to make sure they are EVEN. I marked a dot on the rope 12 inches down so I knew exactly where to put the knot. MAKE SURE THE PVC PIPE IS EVEN AFTER THE KNOTS HAVE BEEN TIGHTENED. Otherwise you are going to have one arm wayyyy stronger than the other.
6) Go ahead and do this with all 9 rungs. You may need another beer.
7) Once you get to the end, you have got to get creative. I tied another figure-eight knot and connected another rope via a locking carabiner.
8) You want the ladder at about a 20 degree angle. If you are putting it in a tree, climb that sucker and wrap it around a branch with a locking carabiner. (Maybe put an old sock or something in between the branch and the rope). At the bottom of your ladder, wrap the rope around the tree and make it nice and tight (as if you are tightening a slack line).
9) If you’re lucky, all these steps will work and you will now have an awesome homemade training ladder! Time to get strong! If not, try out this website, they have a great tutorial. Happy climbing!