Salmon Jammin’ Evening,,,

A Salmon Ladder is an obstacle. It looks a bit like you cut a ladder down the center of the rungs and turned the two sides out and placed them about 3 feet apart. You climb the ladder by hanging from a bar across the rungs and jump yourself up.

The first time I saw a Salmon Ladder I knew I wanted to build one. It has taken a few years but I finally have at least the beginning of one and after trying it I have a whole new respect for Salmon.

Salmon Ladder Fall A


BTW, the “L” is silent in salmon. It ryhmes with: Ammon, famine, gamin, gammon, mammon (what’s a mammon?)
It’s not the raggae pronunciation “Hey Sal Mon“.

Also Slalom skiing is not pronounced Salmon skiing.

Last weekend I was dropped off at the local building supply warehouse with my little wheelie rig I’d made to haul my kayak and windsurfer down to the beach. It’s a handy little thing and I thought I’d load up a couple 4X4s and some pipe and walk it back home. It’s a bit less than two miles. I have a Durango that would have made the job easier but the tags are expired and I only use it to pull the boat in out out of the lake in my backyard.

wheelie cart

If you’re in the mind set that workouts are part of your lifestyle, then a little exercise is welcome.

I realized as I left the Lowe’s parking lot with my load of (2) 16 foot 4X4s and (2) 10 foot pipes that maybe it wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had. The last ¾ mile I would count off 50 steps and then stop, change hands and go again.

Anyway, back to the Salmon Ladder.
I set the 4X4s in place with about 2 ½ feet spacing between the inside edges. In a perfect world I would have gone 3 feet apart but I was adding onto my obstacle contraption in the backyard and this was the best fit. My wife lovingly calls the contraption the “Death Wall”.  It should be called “banged knee and sprained ankle wall”. It is almost 12 foot tall wall and was built to train for Tough Mudder and general nonsense.

Wall Front view

I purchased (6) 8″ X ½” lag bolts for around $4 each. (that seems high for lag bolts, guess I haven’t bought any in quite  awhile.) I couldn’t  find a reference for vertical spacing of the bolts, so I’ve went with 1 foot vertical spacing. My base set is about 6’ 10″ off the ground. I am 6’ tall.

lag bolt attach

Ladder View

I drilled the starting holes and eyeballed about a 30 degree angle for the bolts. I ended up with 3 bolts close to 30 degrees and the 4th bolt about a 45 degree. I think it makes it look tougher.

Setting up for first attempt.

Everything looks so much easier on TV and Online. I’ve been very focused on pull up training for over a year now with the Spartan Workout and figured the Salmon Ladder would be a breeze.
I learned on my first attempt that you should have a safety line connected to your bar. Especially if your bar is metal and could crack your head open.

Salmon Ladder Fall B
I huffed and puffed and threw myself up, only to bailout, lose the bar and crash to the ground. Luckily the bar did not hit me.

I found some cord and tied a safety restraint to the bar before trying a second attempt.

Second Attempt


Normally I would google to find a how-to clip but I was in a hurry and excited to try again, so I hung from the bar, swung a few times, thought about kipping up but that felt uncomfortable. I prepped a couple pulls and then pulled up and pushed the bar up and over the next set of spikes.


It was a good feeling to know I could do it but also very daunting to realize I will have to train extra if I want to become decent at it. Jumping up just 1 foot was tough and some guys on American Ninja going up multiple rungs make it look easy.

There is a lot to learn and I as I progress I will add more posts.

Go Horns High

and watch out for falling old guys

The title to this blog is a nod to Ray and Big Red who are no longer with us. They would sing in their own humorous style “Sam and Janet Evening” to the tune “Some Enchanted Evening”. 

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