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Looking for Lighter Ladder


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As I am rapidly approaching 70, after 25 years of hauling and climbing heavy ladders, I am looking for a lighter alternative. I am currently using a 34 lb. Gorilla multi-ladder for roofs. What I need is something long enough and light enough to get into attics where the builder was too cheap to install a pull-down attic stair unit or the owner was too lazy to maintain it. I have looked at several alternatives like the Little Giant Helium (out of stock everywhere) and collapsible ladders. Since I cannot find the one I am tempted to look into the other. That said, I have never owned a collapsible anything other than a camping coffee cup. Whatever, I need for it to fit in the back of a Chrysler Pacifica van. Should I attempt to foist my 225 lbs onto something named collapsible, or does someone have a better idea?
 

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23 minutes ago, aaronm said:

As I am rapidly approaching 70, after 25 years of hauling and climbing heavy ladders, I am looking for a lighter alternative. I am currently using a 34 lb. Gorilla multi-ladder for roofs. What I need is something long enough and light enough to get into attics where the builder was too cheap to install a pull-down attic stair unit or the owner was too lazy to maintain it. I have looked at several alternatives like the Little Giant Helium (out of stock everywhere) and collapsible ladders. Since I cannot find the one I am tempted to look into the other. That said, I have never owned a collapsible anything other than a camping coffee cup. Whatever, I need for it to fit in the back of a Chrysler Pacifica van. Should I attempt to foist my 225 lbs onto something named collapsible, or does someone have a better idea?
 

What's the maximum length that will fit into the Pacifica?

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Would you consider a roof rack?  I've an aluminum 16' extension ladder that I've used for over 10 years. Retracted, it fits into the 8' bed of my pickup, weighs about 17 lbs but rated only for 200 lb loads.  HD has one rated for 250 lb loads that weighs 26 lbs.

I will not mount a collapsible. I wouldn't trust it with my life, much less my coffee.

Edited by Marc
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I use a grade II - 6' step ladder. It should get your head and shoulders in just about any attic. You will need some arm strength if you want to crawl the attic. A Little Giant would be my back-up if I needed it.  I don't like LG's because they are too heavy and I would be more likely to smash something in the house. Like Marc, I carry a 16' grade II extension - very light - but rarely bring that into a house if I can help it. I don't often run into pull down stairs for attics around here. 

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I use a grade II - 6' aluminum step ladder. It should get your head and shoulders in just about any attic. You will need some arm strength if you want to crawl the attic. A Little Giant would be my back-up if I needed it.  I don't like LG's because they are too heavy and I would be more likely to smash something in the house. Like Marc, I carry a 16' grade II extension - very light - but rarely bring that into a house if I can help it. I don't often run into pull down stairs for attics around here. 

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For years I used 16 & 24 foot extension ladders. It was killing my knees, was getting tired of crawling in and out of truck bed every time. Now all my ladders fit in my short bed truck, no more strapping to ladder racks for me.  

For my primary ladder I use a compact 3 section 16 foot extension ladder (Werner). This gets me to majority of roofs. It reduces down to just 6 feet, has a nice carry handle, weighs 26.5 lbs. I have a the same 22 foot Gorilla multi ladder, I rarely have to use it.

I am buying drone to do taller roofs and try to avoid using the Gorilla, plan on getting the new DJI Mavic mini, $499 for the combo package. One of my main competitors fell off a roof last year and broke his arm, he was out for several weeks. Since that, I have been more cautious.   

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I just don't trust collapsible ladders.  Too many times, too many people have been injured by them collapsing.  User error or failure, doesn't really matter.  I won't get on one.

For years and years, I've used the one linked below.  I also still carry an LG 17 but nowadays it's use is pretty much limited to getting into high attic accesses in garages.  Neither one of them are too heavy for me and both of them have good weight ratings.

Low slopes, I still get on.  High or steep, out comes the drone.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Cosco-13-Multi-Position-Ladder-System/dp/B00820N1VU

RIMG5119.JPG

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See if you can find a Jaws ladder. I think Werner ladders use the Jaws ststem of tapered joints with locknuts. They are lighter and have stronger knuckle joints than the LG's, so the ladder is stiff when set up. I like removing the upper end of my 24 footer, slides off, so that it has 3 six foot sections and that removes 1/4 of the weight.

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23 hours ago, John Kogel said:

See if you can find a Jaws ladder. I think Werner ladders use the Jaws ststem of tapered joints with locknuts. They are lighter and have stronger knuckle joints than the LG's, so the ladder is stiff when set up. I like removing the upper end of my 24 footer, slides off, so that it has 3 six foot sections and that removes 1/4 of the weight.

I still can't find a US retailer for the Jaws Ladder. They might not be sold in the states. The only US inspector I know who used one got it in BC. 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I have been using telescopic ladders for a quite a few years now and won't be going back to hauling anything else through the house to get into the attic. Works well for most bungalows as well. My back, arms, shoulders, have never complained about my decision.

My first one had a single release that allowed the whole thing to collapse back down... I did get nervous about that one and replaced it with one where I have to release every rung separately. I carry a JAWS for two storey homes where I can't straddle the ridge of a lower roof to get up to the second storey.

I'm 6'2" and 225 and have never felt like it was unsafe. I do replace it every three years because the paranoia here eats at me a little and that is how I placate it.

On a side note: I rented a 40' extension ladder for one inspection of a three storey home and that thing wiggled and bucked so much I couldn't believe that it was ever "safety-rated" by anyone.

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I have a 12.5' telescopic that I've used extensively for over 20 years - mostly indoors for attics and getting above ceilings in commercial buildings.  The brand is Extend-n-Climb and never had any issue.  I know many others that have used other telescopic brands that suffered some pretty severe injuries.

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we use mostly Extend and Climb 12.5" and 16'.  been using them since 2004.  They last about 1 1/2 yrs for the chunky guys and couple years for the healthy guys.  

We keep a 32' at the office for hazardous duty. 

 

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I have been using the collapsible (to 36") Extend&Climb  Pro15.5' for a couple years with good results and confidence. Once in a while I need to clean the stanchions and every time I use it I take the time to look for the green indicators to be assured it's locked on each step level. It's narrow enough at the top end to get into those attic hatches that are minimum or under sized, unlike the Little Giant, which I had used previously. http://xtendandclimb.com/products/telescoping-ladders/pro-series/785p.html

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