The idea of installing a ladder near to the summit of Everest was in the news earlier this year: not such an odd idea when you consider some of the other mountains and peaks which feature ladders and other aids for climbers. The Drakensburg Mountains in South Africa, Carpathian Mountains in Europe and the Acadia National Park in America all feature ladders of some sort as an aid for climbers and hikers.

Ladders For Hiking

The Drakensburg Mountains are in Royal Natal National Park in South Africa and the most famous part of this range is the Amphitheatre. This natural rock feature is over three miles long and cliff faces, some of which rise more than four thousand feet, sit along the length of the valley. The world's second tallest waterfall, the Tugela Falls, is part of the Amphitheatre's charm. Because the area is so rocky, with virtually sheer cliff faces and breathtaking scenery, it is popular with hikers and climbers, but some of the trails are not for the faint hearted. There are three metal chain ladders forming parts of the hiking trail here. Two of the chain ladders are found on the trail to the summit of Mont-Aux-Sources, the highest point in the Amphitheatre (11,000 feet above sea level) and are situated on bare rock faces. Gloves are a good idea on this trail, to protect your hands from the hot metal and your knuckles from scraping on the rock in front. These ladders have two sections, totaling 60 metres of vertical ladder climbing. Not as far as the ladder climb in the Burj Khalifa, but still a very long way on a simple chain ladder! The last chain ladder is situated on the trail to the foot of the Tugela Falls, and forms the last part of the trail. From there, the view is of the Tugela Falls flowing down into the Amphitheatre over five different cascades.

Why Have One Ladder When You Can Have Seven?

The Carpathian Mountains in Romania features Seven Ladder Canyon, a gorge carved through limestone by seven waterfalls and containing a trail made up of steel ladders and platforms for access through the canyon, which is 160 metres long. The ladders vary between six and thirty five metres long and one is situated very close to a waterfall, meaning you can feel the spray as you climb past it. The platforms between the ladders, which are wedged into the crevasses between cliff faces, are made from steel and wood and are definitely not for the faint hearted. Gaps in the wooden platforms expose the water rushing beneath you and the haphazard-looking way the platforms are fixed into and supported by the rock faces does not inspire confidence. The views in this location, of rocky outcrops, evergreen forests and lush meadows are very European and are reminiscent of The Sound of Music or perhaps Dracula, the Transylvanian legend. Bran Castle is not far from the trail and is one of the more well known locations that invoke thoughts of medieval vampires and mysteries.

The Acadia National Park Ladders

In the Acadia National Park, Maine, USA, there are four hiking trails that incorporate ladders or other vertical aids for hikers, cutting down the trail time needed to reach the peaks. Beech Cliff, Beehive, Penobscot and Precipice are the four trails in question. On the Beech Cliff trail, you start from a car park, from even ground onto stone steps and then onto iron ladders until the summit, less than a mile from the start of the trail. The views of mountains and lakes are stunning and the return trip southwards (missing out the ladders) makes the whole trip under two miles, but with some breathtaking scenery as a reward for all the climbing. The Beehive Mountain ladder trail is also less than a mile long, but ascends over 500 feet in that distance over ledges and up ladders. It is a popular trail, as the work involved climbing is worth the investment in the scenery again, as well as a cool mountain pond just past the summit, which is a good place to cool down and refuel before starting back down the mountain. The trail up Penobscot Mountain is the longest of the vertical hikes in Acadia at four miles, as the summit is 1,194 feet up. Although there are many routes up to the peak, the one which features the most climbing aids is the Jordan Cliffs trail which, as the name suggests, features a lot of cliffs, ridges and therefore climbing aids. There are stone and wooden steps, railings along ledges, bridges and iron hand holds fixed into the rocks. Although there are no 'ladders' as such, this is still a gruelling vertical trail, and not one for the inexperienced hiker. The last of the trails, and perhaps one of the better-known ones, is the Precipice trail. Even the name sounds scary, and it is, because this is the one trail in Acadia where you are advised to check whether the trail is open due to nesting peregrine falcons. They are not a bird you want to be dealing with when you are gripping onto a ladder with a sheer drop below you. There are warning signs on the trail, as people have lost their lives here and it is not a good climb when it’s wet or when there is poor visibility. Although the trail to the summit is only 0.9 miles, it can take an hour and a half with all the climbing, and figuring out the best way to navigate the ladders and hand holds. So, if you fancy a holiday but also want the thrill of climbing some of the world’s most dangerous ladders, then these destinations are definitely for you! Check the seasonal weather to make sure the trails will be open and not dangerous to climb and always have the appropriate equipment with you, including hiking boots, ropes and protective clothing. But, if you're just in the market for a boring straightforward ladder, step or tower come on over to the main Midland Ladders Website!