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The physiological effect of a 'climb assist' device on vertical ladder climbing.

Barron, Peter James; Burgess, Katherine; Cooper, Kay; Stewart, Arthur D.


Peter James Barron

Arthur D. Stewart


Climb assist systems claim to reduce strain when climbing ladders; however, no research has yet substantiated this. The purpose of this study was to assess the physiological and psychophysical effects of climb assist on 30 m ladder climbing at a minimum acceptable speed. Eight participants (six male and two female) climbed a 30 m ladder at 24 rungs per minute with and without climb assist, and were monitored for heart rate (HR), O2 and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). All three variables decreased significantly (p < 0.05) with climb assist with O2 decreasing by 22.5%, HR by 14.8% and RPE decreasing by a mean of 2.3 units on the 10-point Borg scale. When descending the ladder O2 decreased by a mean of 42% compared to that ascending. At the minimal acceptable climbing speed climb assist decreases the physiological strain on climbers, as demonstrated by reduced O2, HR and perceived exertion.


BARRON, P.J., BURGESS, K., COOPER, K. and STEWART, A.D. 2017. The physiological effect of a 'climb assist' device on vertical ladder climbing. Ergonomics [online], 60(7), pages 1008-1013. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2016
Online Publication Date Oct 15, 2016
Publication Date Jul 31, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 8, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 16, 2017
Journal Ergonomics
Print ISSN 0014-0139
Electronic ISSN 1366-5847
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 60
Issue 7
Pages 1008-1013
Keywords Ladder climbing; Climb assist; Vertical ladders; Climbing physiology
Public URL


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