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Fish Aid Ladder/Smart Aiders


Original Post
Chris Reyes · · Montclair, NJ · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 40

Looking to start getting into a bit of Aid climbing (Climbing was too much fun and trying to ruin it with gym training didn't quite work).

I was looking at the fish stuff (http://www.fishproducts.com/catalog/big_wall.html) because it seems cheap and well liked.

Was hoping for some insight as to which would make more sense for entry level aid. I'd lean towards the ladder as they're apparently generally easier to use, but the smart aiders having everything on one side might be easy?

Does it even matter? Lol.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

I have been aid climbing for about 3 years now and I've never used the Smart ladders. I have the Yates version of the Ladder Aiders. I'm a BIG fan of them. One of the hardest things to do at first is just getting a feel for balance and movement in the ladders. The plastic spreader bar makes things SO much easier. Plus they are fairly beefy and can take a good amount of abuse. I hear good things about the Fish stuff, but I can heartily recommend the Yates big wall ladders. They've taken me up some nasty desert towers, moonlight buttress, and the Nose on El Cap. 

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
Chris Reyes wrote:

Looking to start getting into a bit of Aid climbing (Climbing was too much fun and trying to ruin it with gym training didn't quite work).

I was looking at the fish stuff (http://www.fishproducts.com/catalog/big_wall.html) because it seems cheap and well liked.

Was hoping for some insight as to which would make more sense for entry level aid. I'd lean towards the ladder as they're apparently generally easier to use, but the smart aiders having everything on one side might be easy?

Does it even matter? Lol.

I've never used the smarts, but the standard ladders aiders are as easy as it gets as far as aiders go. The alpine aiders with offset steps are more meant to save weight such as on alpine walls where you're only using aid occasionally. For full-on aid walls or walls where you're doing lots of aid, having all the rungs in a column file such as with the ladders are the way to go.

Whatever you get, buy a set of aiders that have a spreader bar at the top. Without it, the top rungs compress under your weight which makes top stepping a real pain in the ass. Yates used to make a set of aiders called the speed walls. They were pretty solid. Metolius makes some too (that's what I use). They are less expensive and lighter than the Yates, but they lack the spreader bar so I added one myself.

If you can, get two different colors and match them to your dasies. It helps keep the clusterfuckness down when you can more easily identify which side if left and which is right. I use one color for left and another color for right. This is less of an issue if you're actually using daisy chains, but I use the Yates speed buckles which will not work if they are twisted so I am required to keep the gear separate from side to side.

AaronP · · colorado springs co · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 45

Speaking of spreader bars...

I have Metolious aiders

Does anyone see anything wrong with getting a 2"x6" piece of pvc pipe cutting an 1/8" slit, sliding that over the top step and sealing it off with duck tape?

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 123
AaronP wrote:

Speaking of spreader bars...

I have Metolious aiders

Does anyone see anything wrong with getting a 2"x6" piece of pvc pipe cutting an 1/8" slit, sliding that over the top step and sealing it off with duck tape?

Not a problem. Just make sure to use a rasp or other tool to round over all the sharp edges created when you cut the pvc. Otherwise those edges will wear through your aiders astonishingly fast.

bernard wolfe · · birmingham, al · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 150

take a file or rasp to the edges of the end profiles of your pipe and get them rounded or softened up a bit so they don't gnaw into your webbing 

AaronP · · colorado springs co · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 45

Good deal. Great point guys. I have a variable speed dremel where I could knock off the edges then hand sand probably go 1000 grit and 2000 grit and finish it with a felt so it's super smoov

Thanks.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

Yep, I have personally done it to my Metolius aiders and it worked great. I don't know that you need to, but I sealed the cut in the pipe with epoxy. 1) so that it was more solid. 2) So that in the odd instance that I happened to grab it on the cut when it was being spread by force, that I don't get pinched. Again, probably a low likelyhood of either, but it made me feel better. 

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 350
20 kN wrote:

I've never used the smarts, but the standard ladders aiders are as easy as it gets as far as aiders go. The alpine aiders with offset steps are more meant to save weight such as on alpine walls where you're only using aid occasionally. For full-on aid walls or walls where you're doing lots of aid, having all the rungs in a column file such as with the ladders are the way to go.

Whatever you get, buy a set of aiders that have a spreader bar at the top. Without it, the top rungs compress under your weight which makes top stepping a real pain in the ass. Yates used to make a set of aiders called the speed walls. They were pretty solid. Metolius makes some too (that's what I use). They are less expensive and lighter than the Yates, but they lack the spreader bar so I added one myself.

If you can, get two different colors and match them to your dasies. It helps keep the clusterfuckness down when you can more easily identify which side if left and which is right. I use one color for left and another color for right. This is less of an issue if you're actually using daisy chains, but I use the Yates speed buckles which will not work if they are twisted so I am required to keep the gear separate from side to side.

This. 

Chris Reyes · · Montclair, NJ · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 40

So ladders, spreader bar - exactly what I was looking for. Thanks guys.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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