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***IMPORTANT EDIT - in reviewing the answers / comments, none felt safe, so if you come across this post, I'd definitely recommend reading the notes people have made advising against this. The original hope was there's be some manufactured solution which was safe.

Original question below:

How can I join two extension ladders together to form an a-frame ladder? I'm assuming there would need to be some sort of rigid connecting pieces part way from the top and also the top be joined, and that there'd need to be good lateral stability added at the ground level somehow. Also I imagine it may impact the weight rating by doing something that it's not designed for.

I tried to find some parts to do this and haven't had any luck thus far. I saw another brand of extension ladder (Wibe Ladders) which allows for converting itself into an a-frame for ones <=24ft, but I have a Werner which doesn't appear to support that.

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    This sounds a little scary. What is the actual goal? Height, activity, etc. Oct 22, 2021 at 16:31
  • I hate to admit it, but I have experience with this, and it worked well. How high do you need to go? Inside or outside?
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:39
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    Will you have at least one or better a few others to help? It would be better to have a ladder made for this use. It can be done if you bind the top together and have something to keep both from separating(rope/cable 1/3 down). It will not be safe. Changing a light bulb about all I would try, a fast up and down.
    – crip659
    Oct 22, 2021 at 16:52
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    Well, if you screw it up you'll probably find that either it's already voided on the stickers, or you'll be posthumously responsible for adding a new paragraph to the stickers for the next batch of ladders. Kidding, but not really kidding. Purchase or rent staging is generally the safer option for these sorts of things.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 22, 2021 at 17:54
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    Ugh. Plus one to, “just rent something safe or farm it out to someone properly equipped”. While the ideas below are ingenious, they are, to varying degrees, dangerous and possibly stupid. (No offense, guys.) I know people that have been permanently disabled by ladder hijinks, and I can assure you that they wouldn’t make the same decisions they made then, knowing how it’s changed their lives. Oct 23, 2021 at 3:22

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You have come to look for an internet blessing for your hare brained scheme to save a few bucks while risking your health.

Don't do that. use correct access equipment in the way it is intended to be used. or hire a professional who has the correct equipment to perform the task for you.

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    (edited hair to hare) A blonde rabbit perhaps?
    – Jasen
    Oct 23, 2021 at 0:54
  • Haha fair enough. In an ideal world I was hoping there's something officially manufactured for this
    – g491
    Oct 23, 2021 at 1:12
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    @Jasen politically incorrect, but funny ... lol
    – jsotola
    Oct 23, 2021 at 1:42
  • @g491 "Nice product idea - now who's going to insure it for you?" - I've been looking for a much less ambitious "idea ladder" and it's misery - I want a "compact or collapsible/extendable" equal to a basic 10-12 foot a-frame, but which can shrink to ~6 feet for travel. I've seen extant ladders that suggest this tech is available, but it's always just a bit smaller (assembled) than I need when I go shopping...such as the "22 foot" gorilla ladder mentioned in JPhi1618's answer, which is 9.5 feet as a stepladder, really close (but I'd prefer nonconductive, i.e. fiberglass) anyway.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 23, 2021 at 2:11
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I've done this with a single 30' extension ladder and a 22' "Gorilla ladder". One advantage of the multi-position gorilla ladder is that the legs flair out a bit at the bottom for a bit of extra stability. The flair at the top allows the other extension ladder to rest fully inside of it.

Gorilla ladder

The 30' ladder was extended only about 8 feet in order to reach my 20' ceiling. The other ladder was extended to a height of about 16 feet because extending it more made the whole thing hard to set up. So the 30' ladder actually stuck out over the gorilla ladder.

I used a pair of straps to hold the bottoms of the ladders together about 4' up from the ground. This stops the legs from spreading, and the straps are adjustable to fine-tune the height. A pair of straps is nice because they help stop the ladders from rotating.

mega ladder

(click to embiggen)

Obviously, you have to lash the tops of the ladders together securely, but you also have to tie the extensions to stop them from extending. The extension ladder mechanism is made to keep the ladder from collapsing, but in this A-frame arrangement, when you climb one ladder and lean back, it will cause the opposite ladder to extend. Each ladder must be tied so that it can't extend or contract before climbing. This can be a final step if you need to extend or contract the ladder to get it into place.

If using two of the same size extension ladders (not a gorilla ladder), the tops will not nest. They will be offset, and this will make it less stable than my arrangement. The top tie must be very secure to prevent rotation. Rotation will cause the ladders to tip and vice versa.

If you are in an open area, some type of outriggers or support on the legs to prevent tipping should be used. I was in a narrow area, so if the ladder tipped and fell it would have hit a wall rather than falling all the way.

Tipping side to side is the most important concern. I climbed to the top of this, and it felt rock steady the whole way, but the width is narrow compared to an actual A-frame ladder.

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  • Impressive setup though I wouldn't be resting easy up there haha
    – g491
    Oct 23, 2021 at 1:15
  • Heh, yeah, it wasn’t a long term arrangement.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 23, 2021 at 1:16
  • I'm guessing the spousal health & safety officer wasn't on the job site that day. ;) I do have to ask, did it get tippy when you climbed past the top where the two ladders met?
    – FreeMan
    Oct 27, 2021 at 13:27
  • @FreeMan, Actually it was super solid. The extension ladder is a good model with very little flex and the way the other ladder is used to support it, there was very little flex. I was repairing a popped drywall seam, and with the cutting, scraping, taping, sanding, it was steady. The safety officer found something to work on outside so she didn't have to watch, lol.
    – JPhi1618
    Oct 27, 2021 at 15:30
  • Good to know! Mine usually stands by with 911 dialed and ready to hit "Send". :)
    – FreeMan
    Oct 27, 2021 at 15:32
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I do this to support the front of our little boat when taking it off the trailer. I tie the top of the ladders together and then, after opening out the ladders I place another flat strap a couple of metres down, creating a triangle at the top.

The strap stops the ladders spreading out. But they are not very stable 'for and aft'. Fortunately the boat rear sitting on a stand, in this case, 'anchors' the ladders movement in that plane.

It feels a little risky, so it probably is. I wouldn't want to do it with anything heavier than a couple of hundred kilos for sure.

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