DIY Bachar Ladder

Female climbing on DIY Bachar Ladder on sunny day in backyard.

DIY Bachar Ladder

Female climbing on DIY Bachar Ladder on sunny day in backyard.
Makeshift Bachar Ladder
John Bachar climbing shirtless outdoors on his Bachar Ladder.
The original Bachar Ladder

Created by climbing legend John Bachar, the Bachar Ladder is a rope ladder hung at a 20° – 45° angle and is used to increase upper body strength. The Bachar Ladder is similar to a campus board as it is typically used without the use of feet and relies solely on upper body power. With this being said, the ladder also benefits core and stability training because of the dynamic nature of the loose rungs. 

Materials needed:

Making the Ladder:

1) Cut the PVC pipe into nine 9-inch pieces. These will become the rungs for the ladder. They may be a tad longer if you’d like, but make sure they are all the same length.

Six PVC rungs on table next to sandpaper for DIY Bachar Ladder.

2) Sand the entirety of the new PVC pieces with medium grit sandpaper. Sanding the ends of the pipes removes the sharp edges and sanding the body of the pipe makes it easier to grip as the pipe will then accept chalk from your hand.

3) Measure 5/8 of an inch from the end of one of the pipes and make a mark with the sharpie. At this mark, drill a 1/2 inch hole through the pipe. Do this on both ends of the piece of PVC pipe. To be sure the holes at either end of the pipe are in line with one another, use a straight edge to determine the exact location of the second hole. Repeat on all rungs.

PVC rung with marked measurement depicting where to drill hole for DIY Bachar Ladder.

4) Find the middle of the rope and make a figure 8 on a bight at the mid-way point to create a small loop (big enough for two carabiners). Place this loop on an anchor of some sort so that you may pull it taut for the upcoming steps. Use a weighted stool or chair, a nut in a fence post, a tree anchor… get creative.

Figure eight on a bight underneath a chair leg
Figure eight on a bight on a carabiner clipped to a nut set in a fence.
Figure eight on a bight on a tree anchor

5) Slide the first PVC pipe (we will now call these rungs) onto the rope via the drilled holes. Place the rung 12 inches away from the figure eight on a bight and tie a figure 8 (or your preferred knot) below the rung on both sides so that the rung rests on the knots.

6) Repeat with all 9 rungs with a 12 inch space between each rung.


Mark both strands of rope with sharpie 12 inches from previous rung to insure knots are even.

7) Once all rungs are mounted onto the ladder, connect the ends of the rope that will be closest to the ground with your preferred full strength knot (figure 8/overhand on bight, bowline, etc.).

8) The ladder should hang at a 20° – 45° angle. See photos for example. Hang the ladder safely from a tree at an appropriate height or on some other weight bearing structure.  

Tell Us How Your Bachar Ladder Went!

Hopefully you have your own homemade DIY Bachar Ladder. Did you do anything differently that seemed to work? Share your (kind) thoughts below. Happy training!

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