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Yates Speed Wall Ladder Review

One of the best ladders we have used
Yates Speed Wall Ladder
Photo: Yatesgear.com
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $50 List
Pros:  comfortable, intuitive to use, durable
Cons:  heavy, bulky
Manufacturer:   Yates
By Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief  ⋅  Nov 24, 2009
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87
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 9
  • Comfort - 35% 9
  • Ease of Walking up - 35% 9
  • Ease of free Climbing - 10% 6
  • Top stepping - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Yates Speedwall Ladder is a lighter and thinner version of the our Editors' Choice winner, the Yates Big Wall Ladder. The steps are 1" wide compared to the Big Wall Ladder's 1.75" steps. That means this aider is not as comfortable to stand in for hours but is lighter when clipped to the side of your harness. While the Big Wall Ladder comes in a 6-step and a 7-step length, the Speed Wall Ladder only comes in a 6-step length (67"). This is the aider Ammon McNeely uses to set El Cap speed records.

Overall we prefer the Yates Big Wall Ladder to Speed Wall Ladder because it is more comfortable and is only a little heavier. But it's personal preference. McNeely prefers the Speed Wall because he likes a lighter aider. Chris Mac prefers to take a heavy, comfortable aider for the aid-intensive walls and a light aider like the Petzl Wall Step Etrier for free-intensive walls. But if you only want one aider that is versatile, it is hard to go wrong with the Speed Wall Ladder. It's comfy, durable, and not too clunky when free climbing. Another ladder to consider is the Metolius 8-Step Ladder Aider, which is even lighter but lacks a spreader bar.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
Price $50 List$60 List$34.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$29.95 at Amazon$35 List
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Pros comfortable, intuitive to use, durableComfortable, intuitive to use, durableGreat top-stepping, comfortable, good valueSurprisingly comfortable webbing width, low bulk, good valuegreat value, light, very durable
Cons heavy, bulkyHeavy, bulkyNot as durableBottom step flips inside outno sub top step
Bottom Line One of the best ladders we have usedThe best big wall aiders we have usedThe best value we know in an aider
Rating Categories Yates Speed Wall La... Yates Big Wall Ladder Metolius 5 Step Aider Metolius Alpine Aider Fish Smart Aider
Comfort (35%)
9.0
10.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Ease Of Walking Up (35%)
9.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Ease Of Free Climbing (10%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
8.0
7.0
Top Stepping (10%)
9.0
9.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
Durability (10%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
10.0
Specs Yates Speed Wall La... Yates Big Wall Ladder Metolius 5 Step Aider Metolius Alpine Aider Fish Smart Aider
Style Ladder Ladder Etrier Etrier Etrier
Weight 13.6 oz 15.6 oz 11.2 oz 6.8 oz 9.0 oz
Step Width 1" 1.75" 1" 0.8" 1"
Length 67" 67" 75" 60" 72"
Warranty 1 year 1 year 1 year 1 year unknown

Our Analysis and Test Results

Likes


The Speed Wall has the same great spreader bar as the Yates Big Wall Ladder. This sturdy plastic pipe keeps all the steps more open and eases the pressure on the sides of your foot.

The steps are relatively close together which allows you to rest on two feet (one foot in a lower rung). This is a good position to search for gear and organize. Then, when its time to place the next piece, you move onto just the top foot for maximum reach.

Dislikes


These aiders are heavy and bulky. They also get caught in cracks. They are not ideal for a free intensive wall like The Nose. Yes, they are lighter than the Big Wall Ladder, but not by that much.

Best Application


These are ideal for more aid-intensive walls like Zodiac if you don't want the bulk of the Yates Big Wall Ladder.

Value


This aider is a pretty good deal only a little more expensive than the Metolius Aider and Aid Ladder.

Chris McNamara