Hands-on Gear Review

Metolius 8 Step Ladder Aider Review

Metolius Ladder Aider
By: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Feb 13, 2010
Price:  $50 List  |  $49.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Comfortable steps, easy to walk up, big grab loop.
Cons:  No spreader bar.
Manufacturer:   Metolius

#3 of 9
  • Comfort - 35% 9
  • Ease of Walking up - 35% 8
  • Ease of free Climbing - 10% 6
  • Top stepping - 10% 7
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

The Metolius 8 Step Ladder Aider is a solid big wall aider at a great price. The steps are bomber with their urethane-reinforced steps that make them stay open and not crush the sides of your feet. This aider is relatively light considering how comfortable it is and has a nice generous grab loop. For comparison's sake, it is the same length as the Metolius 5 Step Aider and the Yates 7 Step Big Wall Ladder.

This is a top scoring aid ladder. While it did not score quite as high as the Yates Big Wall Ladder or Yates Speed Wall Ladder, it is still a great aider at a great price. Also, because it is relatively lightweight, it is very versatile and can be used on hard aid or less aid-intensive walls. If you are looking for an aid ladder, I would strongly recommend checking this one out next to the Yates Aid Ladders.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results



The steps on Metolius 8 Step Ladder were the perkiest we tested. They really stayed open, which made it easy to fish your feet in when moving onto a piece. Metolius uses "Biothane Step Stiffeners," which is a rubbery urethane-like material put on top of the steps. It makes the steps more comfortable on the bottom of your foot and keep the aider from squeezing the side of your foot. It is very comfortable, second only to the Yates Big Wall Ladder, and not by much. The ladder style is very intuitive to walk up, especially for beginners. After teaching someone to aid with the Metolius 5 Step Aider, Chris McNamara switched to the Metolius 8 Step Ladder and the person had much more success.

While this ladder aider could be easier to top step in (see below), it does have a generous grab loop, which is nice for balance and sliding your foot in for "super top-stepping." Also, this aider is relatively light, especially if you chop off the bottom step like Chris does (he likes a shorter, less bulky aider unless he is doing hard aid.)


Without a plastic spreader on top (like the Yates has) the upper steps get squished together. This makes it less efficient to walk up the top steps. You have to turn your foot sideways and wiggle it in. This is not a deal breaker, but it does make it a little harder to use. We have not used this aider a ton on walls yet and will report back here after using it more.

Best Application

This is a pretty versatile aider. It works well on hard aid but is also light enough to work on walls with free climbing, such as The Nose (especially if you cut off the bottom steps as Chris does).


This is a great value. It scores up there with the Yates Aid Ladder but will cost you $22 less for a pair.

Other Versions

Metolius 5 Step Aider

Chris McNamara

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews

Most recent review: November 1, 2012
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Average Customer Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
   Nov 1, 2012 - 11:48am
jstrater · Climber · San Francisco, CA

I wanted a lighter set of aid ladders without spreader bars. These do a good job. They're surprisingly comfy to stand in, and the steps stay open really well considering that they don't have a spreader bar.

That said, it is difficult to get your foot into the top few steps when the lower steps are weighted. You have to twist your foot and jam it in. For me there's still more than enough room to get the piece at waist-level without any fuss, but if I'm top-stepping, it's annoying.

I ended up making a pair of spreader bars out of PVC pipe that I can remove when I don't want the extra bulk.

Photo & details

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.

Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...