Mini Jacob's Ladder

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A physical team working activity, originally designed to be at height but done at a low level in the park to reduce risk of falling and the need for personal fall protection equipment.


2-3 Spars
4-6 Lashings of a good length
A tree with a strong branch approx 6ft from the ground
Leaders to spot for potential slips or falls


Setting up the ladder using 2 spars running parallel to the ground . The first spar is approximately 6 inches from the ground so that it can sway. The second spar is between 4-5ft above this and suspended from the branch above. Ideally the upper spar is 3-4ft from the branch, but you have to work with what you get. we used 2No Round-Turn and two half hitches to secure the top spar in a loop over the branch, at either end and then another RT and 2 HH for the bottom spar.

The challenge for the explorers was to work in teams of three to get onto the upper spar. They start from a sitting position on the bottom spar and one of them is supported to stand up and rach the upper spar. they then help each other to stand up.

It is worth noting that the explorers cannot use the ropes for support, only each other.

They then help one of them to climb onto the upper spar and then stand up to reach the branch, the then can support the next explorer from below and above and finally the upper two explorers help the last one onto the upper spar.

Allow them to climb down using the ropes and one at a time.

The leaders supervisions shouldn't be giving too much suggestion of what to do, instead focusing on the safety of the explorer who is moving from the lower spar to the upper, and it is important to encourage the explorers to think about how they are going to do this. the task is impossible if they do not work together.


  • challenge
  • ladder
  • Physical activity
  • small groups
  • spars
  • teamwork

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