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Yates Ladders Big Wall vs. Speed Wall

Original Post
Bob Johnson · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 121

Getting in to big wall stuff and looking to buy some aiders... Any thoughts on the Yates Big Wall vs. Speed Wall ladders? I'm a total newb at aid climbing and it sounds like the Big Wall version may be a little more user friendly. Does anyone have any recommendations one way or the other?

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 5

I would agree with your assessment, though I have never used the speed wall aiders. I have used the Big Wall ladders extensively and they perform great, really durable, comfortable to stand in for a while, while you mess with tricky placements. I would heartily recommend them to anyone that's looking to get into aid climbing. 

Matt Kuehl · · Las Vegas · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 1,570

Can't go wrong with either, they are both great. The Big Wall ones just have a little wider step surface, which is really just a wide nylon strip sewn into the same design. Speeds are just more streamlined but function the exact same. 

WadeM · · Golden, Co · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 325

Basically what Matt said.

Used both, both function the same. If you're doing a super aid-intensive route just go ahead and buy the bigwall. It's the small things that count up there

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 420

I've stood in both the Yates Speed Ladders and the Yates Bigwall Ladders for literally thousands of hours each (Bigwall and aid cragging is what I do every weekend). 

There's no effective benefit to the Yates Bigwall Ladders over the Speeds as I've seen absolutely no difference in the support they provide your feet or longevity of the product over many many walls each.


  • The Bigwalls are heavier (It's the small things that count up there)
  • Bigwalls are noticeably more bulky when you clip them into a ball before moving to free (even aid-intensive route will normally have free moves to top out of makeit onto a ledge)
  • Their "wider" steps on the Bigwalls are actually more of a wing on either side of the main step support rather than a true wider step (meaning the support is coming from the same 1" as the Speed has)
  • That extra width provided by those wings tends to get caught on the wall as you're pulling/dragging them up with you. 

That said, get the set that are currently cheapest for you since you're just starting out and either one is going to be more than you'll need. My notes above are more nitpicky and something that's not going to be an issue for anyone unless they basically live in their ladders every weekend and vacation. 

Bob Johnson · · Philadelphia, PA · Joined May 2014 · Points: 121

Cool! Thanks for all the thoughtful responses! Thanks for the details, Kevin!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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